This season has in many ways been a bigger disappointment than we originally thought. Sure, the Wildcats were picked to finish last in the Big 12 pre-season rankings, but we didn’t expect historic lows from a very young but talented group. The worst loss in program history, the longest in-season losing streak, the fewest points scored in Bramlage, etc, etc.
But the last few weeks of the season have brought a couple rays of sunshine that bring hope for next season. When Nijel Pack is healthy, when Mike McGuirl plays his role, when Davion Bradford shows his potential — well, these Wildcats can actually win a ballgame. They didn’t even need to be perfect against TCU or OU to earn tough victories, they just had to stop being bad. And that carried even into the loss against West Virginia on the road, where the WeberCats held tough even without Pack before finally succumbing to the more seasoned Mountaineers.
So things have been bad, historically bad, this season. But it’s not completely bad. Heck, the Wildcats won’t even finish in last place in the Big 12.
No, that honor is reserved for today’s opponent, the Iowa State Cyclones. Steve Prohm’s bunch shouldn’t be this bad, not 2-20 bad. Sure, they have a bunch of new players to the team, but they also have Solomon Young, who has been a regular starter since the Cyclones Big 12 Tournament Championship season of 2016-17, and many of the new players are high-major transfers, not first year freshman like at K-State. It’s a big part of the reason that Prohm’s seat is so much hotter than Bruce Weber’s. That, and one of K-State’s three victories came against the Cyclones in Ames, way back in December when K-State was still really bad.
So, presuming that Nijel Pack has recovered from the eye infection that kept him from the WVU game and is ready to play, the Wildcats should be in a position to finish the season with a win. However, the Cyclones wont go down without a fight, and despite coming off a 27-point loss in Lubbock to Tech, be prepared for Iowa State to keep things close with K-State. Heck, they almost beat Baylor and TCU just a couple weeks ago.
K-State should win. But it’s also likely that the Cyclones end their 16-game losing streak this afternoon if the Wildcats have a bad game.
Today’s game from Bramlage Coliseum tips at 4:01pm CT and can be seen on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ with Mark Neely (play-by-play) and Lance Blanks (analyst) on the call.
If you haven’t subscribed to ESPN+ (and you can do so right here) or just don’t want to, 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 online via the TuneIn App and at K-StateSports.com, and satellite radio on XM 375.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP
Kansas State Wildcats (7-19)
G: #21 Nijel Pack
G: #00 Mike McGuirl
G: #2 Selton Miguel
G: #3 DaJuan Gordon
F: #21 Davion Bradford
Iowa State Cyclones (2-20)
G: #1 Tyler Harris
G: #3 Tre Jackson
G: #5 Jalen Coleman-Lands
F: #13 Javan Johnson
F: #33 Solomon Young
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