Despite being the second-closest Division 1 team to either school, it’s been nearly 18 years since the last time the Kansas State Wildcats and the Wichita State Shockers men’s basketball teams have met on the hardwood.
Of course, there’s been much call by he two fanbases for a renewal of the rivalry over the intervening years, but there was little interest from the two schools until recently, and finally the two schools were able to work out an agreement to renew a series that has been played 31 times prior to today. Today’s game is part of a three-game series that includes a “neutral site” game in Wichita at Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita, as well as home-and-home games at Koch Arena on the campus of Wichita State (“The Roundhouse”) and Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan.
To many that don’t have an idea of the history of these two programs, that the series is 20-11 in favor of the Wildcats might come as a surprise. Of course, up until the early 1990’s, K-State was among the sports’ power-house programs. Wichita State wasn’t far behind, though, and the game between the Wildcats and Shockers was usually a good one. The last meeting between the schools came on December 10th, 2003, when Jim Wooldridge’s bunch, led by Jeremiah Massey, overcame the Mark Turgeon-coached Shockers 53-50 in Manhattan.
In the next few years the Shockers rose and made a Sweet 16 appearance before pushing even higher after Turgeon departed for Maryland and Gregg Marshall took over in Wichita, culminating with a Final Four appearance in 2013 following a 31-0 regular season, ending that season at 35-1 in the national semi-final.
The 2021-22 Shockers might not be as elite as the teams under Gregg Marshall, but they are a solid program nonetheless in Isaac Brown’s second season at the helm. The Shockers are 6-1 with their sole loss in overtime to Arizona at the Roman Main Event tournament in Las Vegas earlier in November. The last time out, the Shockers knocked off Oklahoma State in Stillwater 60-51.
This is going to be a tough game, and will be another big early-season challenge for the Wildcats. Expect a close game, but one the Wildcats can win if they bring their “A” game.
This evening’s game from the Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita tips at 5:05pm CT and can be seen on ESPNU with Mike Corey (play-by-play) and Jon Crispin (analyst) on the call. The game should also be available streaming via WatchESPN, if you already have the correct TV subscription.
If you don’t get ESPNU, or can’t access the stream, you can listen to Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play) and Stan Weber (analyst) call the game on much of the K-State Sports Radio Network, and also available on XM channel 375 and online on the The Varsity Network app and at K-StateSports.com.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP
Kansas State Wildcats (4-2)
G: #00 Mike McGuirl
G: #13 Mark Smith
G: #21 Nijel Pack
F: #25 Ismael [Ish] Massoud
F: #20 Kaosi Ezeagu
Wichita State Shockers (6-1)
G: #3 Craig Porter, Jr.
G: #1 Tyson Etienne
G: #0 Dexter Dennis
F: #32 Joe Pleasant
F: #24 Morris Udeze