It’s here. The final game of the first regular season of the Jerome Tang era at Kansas State. It sure has been a special one.
And this regular season will end with the same team that started the Wildcats improbable run through the Big 12. Way back on December 31st, not long after the K-State football team wrapped up their season at the Sugar Bowl, the Wildcats were still unknown, despite concluding the non-conference slate with just one ugly loss at Butler. But that night in Manhattan, magic happened. The Wildcats started slow, falling behind 17-3 to open the game, but then used an improbable comeback to take a late lead before West Virginia forced overtime. But the Cats didn’t give up, and came away with an 82-76 victory to open Big 12 play.
The Cats would go on to win six of their first seven Big 12 games, including the stunning wins at Texas and Baylor the following week, and the win over Kansas in Bramlage later in the run that firmly announced that the Wildcats, and Jerome Tang, were a force to be reckoned with.
Now, a run of losses in the middle of the schedule eventually drop the Cats from the Big 12 regular season title race, K-State is still in position for their best finish since winning the title in 2019, and with a win today in Morgantown will claim the 2nd-seed in the Big 12 tournament next week. Of course, the Mountaineers won’t make it easy, as they would love to pick up one more marquee win to help their case for an at-large big to the NCAA tournament. But despite WVU being a smidge of a favorite on their home court, as all Big 12 teams have been this season, this is a game that shouldn’t slip away from the Wildcats. They know what they have to play for. The energy will be there. And it’s one more opportunity to keep building momentum for the upcoming tournaments.
No matter what happens, it’s been a great season for K-State. But it would be incredible to go out the way it started: with a win over West Virginia.
Today’s matchup is scheduled for a 1:01pm CT tip from WVU Coliseum in Morgantown and will be streamed on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ with James Westling (play-by-play) and Tim Welsh (analyst) 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 84 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!