After a contest that became a bit closer than it should have, your Kansas State Wildcats returned to Kansas 2-0 after defeating Cal 63-54 last Friday night.
Sure, the competition hasn’t exactly been fierce, but the Cats are playing a fun brand of basketball that has significantly improved fan support and morale. Plus, they are doing so many things we’ve been missing for years now, like rebounding and attempting (and making!) second-chance baskets.
And the competition doesn’t really get any better today. The Roos of Kansas City (UMKC) are 1-3 on the season, with their lone win coming against NCCAA (yes, National Christian College Athletic Association) D2 program Calvary University (a team that’s actually in a conference with Manhattan’s other college) back on Monday in KC. They did end up hanging with LSU a week ago in Baton Rouge for a somewhat respectable 74-63 loss, but lost 86-48 to a Top 25 Illinois squad in Champaign on Friday. That should give us a decent barometer for where this K-State team is at just two weeks into the season.
Last time these two teams played was in 2020, when the Wildcats squeaked out a 62-58 win — their lone win among the first five games. Hopefully this game will be closer to the 38-point blowout administered by Illinois than the 11 point win by LSU (or the 4-point win of the 2020 squad).
This evening’s matchup between the Cats and Roos, scheduled for a 5:31pm CT tip at Bramlage Colisuem, will be streamed on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ with Ben Boyle (play-by-play), Stan Weber (analyst), and Lina Sattarin (sideline reporter) on the call. You’ll also be able to hear the game online at K-StateSports.com, plus parts of the K-State Sports Radio Network and on SiriusXM 384 with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play) and Matt Walters (analyst) calling the action over there.
The MittieCats are also back home after securing a big road victory over Wisconsin at the technically neutral-site Brew City Battle in Milwaukee on Friday. The 77-63 victory was #1,000 for the program, and makes K-State just the 19th NCAA D1 school to reach that mark.
Tonight, the Cats are back in Manhattan to face another Big 10 foe, this time #4/6 Iowa. The game with the Hawkeyes was one of a couple added to the schedule this year specifically because of having Ayoka Lee — a big time player should help you win big time games. Of course, by the time her need for surgery surfaced, it was too late to get out of this game.
The last time these two teams played was way back in early December of 2011, when Brttany Chambers and Jalana Childs combined for 43 points in a 81-78 overtime victory in Bramlage. That 2011-12 team ended up being former head coach Deb Patterson’s last tournament team at K-State, and was fired two years later to be replaced by Jeff Mittie.
The Hawkeyes, led by preseason Big 10 Player of the Year and unanimous Preseason First Team All-Big 10 and All-American honoree Caitlin Clark, are coming off a Big 10 championship season in 2022, and were picked to repeat as champions. With Ayoka Lee, this should have been a competitive game. Without her, it’s going to be tough to keep up with the Hawkeyes. But with the way the Cats are playing right now, it’s possible that they can still pull off this upset in front of the home crowd.
You can watch the action, scheduled to start at 8pm CT (or 30 minutes after the men’s game concludes), streaming on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ with Brian Smoller (play-by-play), Missy Heidrick (analyst), and Jazsmin Halliburton (sideline reporter) on the call. You can also listen to Matt Walters (play-by-play) and Kristin Waller (analyst) call the action online at K-StateSports.com and over-the-air in the Manhattan area on Sunny 102.5 FM.