Well this has certainly snuck up on us.
It’s November, which means it’s the start of basketball season and the return to the hardcourt for your Kansas State Wildcats. Of course, tonight is just an exhibition matchup with Emporia State, but it’s basketball season nonetheless.
The big storyline as we open the 2023-24 season is how will the Wildcats look without seniors Markquis Nowell and Keyontae Johnson, who are both on NBA rosters (at least floating between that and the G-League, which is still impressive) this season, as well a senior Desi Sills, who became a key player for the Cats down the stretch of the season.
Last year, we were wondering how new coach Jerome Tang would handle a roster with 11 players new to the program, and he turned that into a run to the Elite Eight. Now we’ll get to see how Tang handles a roster that returns five* players, including a couple starters, as well as the seven newcomers, including one of K-State’s best high school recruiting classes.
*It is technically six players, but returning senior Nae’Qwan Tomlin is currently indefinitely suspended after an arrest last weekend.
This should be a game that has all 12 available players see the court. But the Hornets from Emporia will be no push-overs, as they sport a #20 preseason ranking in NCAA Division 2 and were picked to finish 2nd in a tough MIAA. So don’t expect the Cats to just run away with this thing, expect until maybe late, and expect things to still look a bit dirty as Tang and his staff work through some things against live competition in front of a real crowd.
K-State should win this thing, but don’t be surprised at all if Emporia State makes a game of it.
Tonight’s matchup is scheduled for a 7:01pm CT tip at Bramlage Colisuem and will be streamed on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ with Ben Boyle (play-by-play), Stan Weber (analyst), and Sophie Smith (sideline reporter) on the call. You’ll also be able to hear the game online at K-StateSports.com (and via the Varsity Network app), plus parts of the K-State Sports Radio Network and on SiriusXM 380 with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play) and Matt Walters (analyst) calling the action over there.