A lot has changed since the last time these two teams met.
Back at the beginning of January, K-State was struggling extra hard to open their Big 12 schedule, having to play the game in Morgantown with just 8 scholarship players available (up from an expected 7 headed into the game) and one full-time assistant coach that was acting head coach for the game. And yet the Wildcats still very nearly won that game, falling 71-68 to the Mountaineers way back on January 8th.
At the time, it seemed like a decent omen for the Cats. WVU was 11-2 headed into that game, and were looking to be decently positioned in the upper-half of the conference. Since beating K-State over a month ago, the Mountaineers have won just two more times, and are sitting at 14-10, and just 3-8 in conference play. A team that once felt like a tournament lock is on the verge of missing postseason play entirely. The Cats have struggled plenty, but have put enough together to give themselves hope at the postseason.
Last time out, the ‘Eers got rocked by an “ok” Oklahoma State team in Stillwater, and their best victory is now...K-State? It feels like the time of the season where the Mountaineers start to crumble, but they are still led by Bob Huggins, and anything is possible.
A win tonight keeps the Wildcats tournament hopes alive. A loss doesn’t end them, but makes things incredibly more difficult. Be wary, the Huggybears are wounded and dangerous. But just maybe the Wildcats are ready for the strike.
Will it be a happy Valentine’s Day for Bruce and the boys? We shall see.
Tonight’s game from Bramlage tips at 6:01pm CST and can be seen on ESPN2 with Mark Neely (play-by-play) and Chris Spatola (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 ESPN2, 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 84 and online on the The Varsity Network app and at K-StateSports.com.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP
Kansas State Wildcats (13-11, 5-7 Big 12)
G: #00 Mike McGuirl
G: #1 Markquis Nowell
G: #13 Mark Smith
G: #24 Nijel Pack
C: #25 Davion Bradford
West Virginia Mountaineers (14-10, 3-8 Big 12)
G: #2 Kobe Johnson
G: #12 Taz Sherman
G: #22 Sean McNeil
F: #1 Pauly Paulicap
F: #11 Jalen Bridges