The Cats rebounded from their season-opening loss to USC with a win over Bellarmine on Friday night, but there were still serious warning signs. K-State allowed the Knights to hit 48% from the floor until that number dipped a bit late in the game, and gave up 75 points.
These are not things you want to see from a mid-level mid-major on your home floor.
Now, there’s a solid mid-major coming to town, one armed with a pre-season conference player of the year and coming off six NCAA appearances and nine post-season invites overall over the last eleven years in which there has been a post-season.
Buckle up. The Dudes are going to have to prove themselves in this one.
The Kansas State Wildcats (1-1, 0-0 Big 12) host the South Dakota State Jackrabbits (1-1, 0-0 Summit).
This will be the fourth meeting all-time between the two schools, but the three previous meetings — all Wildcat victories — all came between 1959 and 1963, so it’s the first matchup in sixty years.
The Jackrabbits have a long and successful history. Of the fifty NCAA Division II (College Division before 1973-74) Tournaments played before South Dakota State made the move to Division I, they were in the field for 24 of them, winning it all in 1963, losing the title game in 1985, and reaching three Final Fours and eight Elite Eights. They were champions of the old North Central Conference 20 times, more than any other school.
It took the program a minute to start cooking once they completed their transition and joined the Summit League in 2007, but since 2012 they have, as mentioned, been a regular post-season fixture and have captured eight Summit League regular season titles along with their six tournament championships. Last year, in the wake of Oral Roberts going ham, the Jackrabbits finished second in the Summit, five games off the lead at 13-5, 19-13 overall, a record that was far better than a lot of schools invited to the CBI.
Junior guard Zeke Mayo was named preseason player of the year in the Summit, coming off a year in which he averaged 18 points a game. So far this season, he’s drained 28 in each of his two games, a win over NAIA Dakota Wesleyan and a loss to Akron.
Eric Henderson is the head coach of the Jackrabbits, having taken over from current Iowa State coach TJ Otzelberger when he left to take the UNLV job. Henderson is 87-35 overall, and ripped off a 30-win campaign in his third year at the helm in 2022.
Monday, November 13, 7:00pm CT at Bramlage Coliseum (11,010) in Manhattan, Kansas.
Tickets are still available from K-State, although availability is low. Prices range from $15.00-$35.00.
K-State is a 12 point favorite at DraftKings, with the over at 153.5. That’s an 83-71 win. There is no full-game moneyline posted.
No linear television broadcast.
K-State Sports Network with Wyatt Thompson and Matt Walters.
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