Well that was a week to forget for Kansas State.
Despite having a pretty large lead over KU, the WeberCats managed to lose the lead late and succumb, yet again, to the visiting Jayhawks. And then there was the complete collapse in Waco in the mid-week game, that was still less bad than the utter trainwreck that occurred in Waco last year. Silver linings, I guess.
But time to move on, and move ahead. Today we’ve got the annoying break in the conference slate for the Big 12/SEC Challenge game (seriously, this would be great near the end of December, not the end of January). And it may be trite, but this is a must-win game for the Wildcats.
This season already has a razor-thin margin if the Cats want to keep some semblance of hope alive for the NCAA Tournament — hope buoyed in large part thanks to the overall strength of the Big 12 this year — and they absolutely cannot afford to lose to a team that’s sitting in the 120’s in both KenPom and NET. Right now the worst loss for K-State (57 KP, 67 NET) is TCU (61 KP, 56 NET), who is also looking like a Tournament team, and their best non-con win is Wichita State (85 KP, 80 NET). So a win doesn’t help the Wildcats, but a loss will hurt quite a bit.
Not only that, but the Wildcats need to stack some wins together for other obvious reasons. The Cats next three games, including today’s contest, might be, on paper, the easiest stretch on the schedule. The Cats are in a position where they need to go 3-0 over this stretch to keep their head above water.
There is still potential here, and it starts today, but the WeberCats absolutely have to take care of business in Oxford to make it a reality.
This afternoon’s game from Block Pavilion in Oxford, MS tips at 3:05pm CST and can be seen on ESPNU with Mike Morgan (play-by-play) and Joe Kleine (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 385 and online on the The Varsity Network app and at K-StateSports.com.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP
Kansas State Wildcats (10-9, 2-6 Big 12)
G: #00 Mike McGuirl
G: #1 Markquis Nowell
G: #13 Mark Smith
G: #24 Nijel Pack
F: #25 Ish Massoud
Ole Miss Rebels (10-10, 2-6 SEC)
G: #2 Daeshun Ruffin
G: #11 Matthew Murrell
G/F: #15 Luis Rodriguez
F: #4 Jaemyn Brakefield
C: #3 Nysier Brooks
The women are in Bramlage this evening facing off against TCU, so feel free to use this as a thread for them as well.
Tonight’s game from Bramlage tips at 6:30pm CST and can be seen on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ with Brain Smoller (play-by-play), Missy Heidrick (analyst), and Katherine Benhardt (sideline) on the call.
If you haven’t subscribed to ESPN+, or just don’t want to, you can listen to Matt Walters (play-by-play) and Andria Jones (analyst) call the game on some of the K-State Sports Radio Network, and also available online on the The Varsity Network app and at K-StateSports.com.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP
(25/RV) Kansas State Wildcats (15-5, 5-3 Big 12)
G: #3 Jaelyn Glenn
G: #4 Serena Sundell
G: #5 Brylee Glenn
F: #13 Laura Macke
C: #50 Ayoka Lee
TCU Horned Frogs (6-10, 2-5 Big 12)
G: #1 Aahliyah Moore
G/F: #4 Okako Adika
F: #5 Yummy Morris
G: #20 Lauren Heard
F: #23 Michelle Berry