It’s finally here, the long-awaited rematch with the Butler Bulldogs. The team that lucked into playing a tired Kansas State team in 2010, knocking one of K-State’s best teams out of the NCAA Tournament in the Elite Eight.
Of course the vestiges of both of those teams are long gone. Both programs have gone through a couple coaches since then, fortunes have changed, and now we are back together in 2022 for a rematch that has lost most of it’s fire. That said, not everything is gone, as Curtis Kelly, a starting forward for K-State in 2010, is on Jerome Tang’s staff as a grad assistant.
On paper, this should be an easy K-State victory. The Wildcats have started the season 6-0, and picked up very solid wins over Nevada and LSU on their way to winning the Cayman Islands Classic last week. Thad Matta’s Bulldogs are 4-3 on the season, with their best win coming over BYU in the Bahamas last week in the Battle 4 Atlantis, but have lost to Penn State, Tennessee, and North Carolina State.
That said, clearly the Bulldogs should not be taken lightly. Thad Matta may be in his first season trying to rebuild a program that’s had lots of success until the last few years, but Butler’s history suggests it won’t be down for long. Matta has also previously been at Butler, parlaying one really good season in 2000-01 when Butler was still in the Horizon League into the Xavier job, then went to two Final Fours while at Ohio State from 2004-2017. He had been inactive until re-taking the Butler job for this season.
TL;DR: It’s a game K-State should win, but it could be tougher than expected for the Wildcats. Let’s hope these Cats can win this one for Curtis Kelly.
This evening’s matchup is scheduled for a 5:31pm CST tip at historic Hinkle Fieldhouse and will be aired on FS1 with with Alex Faust (play-by-play) and Casey Jacobsen (analyst) on the call. You should also be able to catch the stream at FoxSports.com if you already have the correct cable package. If you don’t get FS1 or can’t access the stream, you’ll be able to hear the game online at K-StateSports.com (or on the Varsity Network app), plus parts of the K-State Sports Radio Network and on SiriusXM 385 with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play) and Stan Weber (analyst) calling the action over there.
Hey, are you on Discord? We are now, too! Feel free to join us! (Make sure you click the reaction button on the rules notice though, or you won’t see anything.) We’ll have a game thread there as well!