This is easily the biggest home game of the year for your Kansas State Wildcats. #10 Texas is in town, and the #12 Wildcats would love to prove (again) why they are deserving of a spot in the Top 10 or higher.
The Longhorns (16-1, 3-1) aren’t the best team K-State (16-1, 4-0) has played this year — that distinction, of course, belongs to Iowa. But the Horns did pick up 12 of a possible 12 votes for preseason Big 12 #1, the clear favorite to repeat as the Big 12 champs, and hadn’t lost a game this season until their conference opener in Austin to Baylor — who were picked #2 by the leagues coaches. And K-State will be just their third-highest ranked opponent this season headed into the game.
But despite Texas returning nearly everyone important from their 2023 Big 12 title team, this is still a game K-State can, and should, win. The Wildcats are, of course, led by All-American center Ayoka Lee, but the trio of junior guards led by Serena Sundell have continued their improvement this season, and super-senior Gabby Gregory has finally re-found her shooting touch that was missing early on this season. But it’s not just the starters making waves. transfer sophomore guard Zyanna Walker is making a strong case for 6th-player of the year, as the Wichita native is fourth on the team in scoring and has the stats of a starter. But she is being chased by sophomore forward Gisela Sanchez, as the Spaniard is able to take pressure off of Lee with solid scoring of her own and good defense in the post. And true freshman Taryn Sides has continued to make a quick progression into college ball, and is 2nd on the team in assists this season behind Sundell.
This should be a great game, you won’t want to miss it. But good luck getting to Bramlage today (though it would be great if you can get there), with sub-zero wind chills and more snow blowing through the area this morning, getting out is not for the faint of heart.
This afternoon’s tipoff is at 1:00pm CT from Bramlage Coliseum, and can be seen on ESPNU (WatchESPN) with Brenda VanLengen (play-by-play), and Sheryl Swoopes (analyst) on the call. You can also listen to Brian Smoller (play-by-play) and Shaelyn Floyd (analyst) call the action online at K-StateSports.com and via the Varsity Network app, as well as over-the-air in the Manhattan area on Sunny 102.5 FM, and also available on SiriusXM Channels 139 or 202 and the SiriusXM app.
About the time the women’s game should be wrapping up, the Jerome Tang and his 12-3, 2-0 Wildcats will be stepping on the court in Lubbock to take on the surprising Red Raiders.
While K-State’s Big 12 schedule opened rather favorably with a home game against UCF (who was without their big man who caused KU problems) and a road game against last-place WVU, Texas Tech (13-2, 2-0) had to travel to Austin to face the Longhorns to open Big 12 play. But the Red Raiders pulled off a nice upset against the Longhorns, then came home and absolutely shellacked Oklahoma State earlier this week. Grant McCasland wasted no time getting the ship turned around in west Texas.
The Red Raiders are led by true sophomore Pop Isaacs, who earned Big 12 All-Freshman Team honors for Tech last season, popping in 16.7ppg, as well as West Virginia grad transfer Joe Toussaint who is putting in 14.3ppg. Down low, 7’ Arizona State transfer Warren Washington is averaging nearly 10ppg and 8rpg, and he’ll be a real problem for K-State’s post players to defend. But Tech, like K-State, is playing a short bench this season with the bulk of minutes played from just seven guys.
This is going to be a tough one for K-State. Tough road environment, good opponent, and good coaches. Oh, and McCasland knows all about K-State’s Tylor Perry, as Perry played for McCasland the past two seasons at North Texas. And, much like Wichita State earlier this year, Tang and McCasland were both on Scott Drew’s staff at Baylor at one point, and games against friends are never easy.
While this is certainly a game K-State is capable of winning, don’t be too surprised if this ends the Wildcats unbeaten time in Big 12 play.
This afternoon’s matchup is scheduled for a 3:05pm CT tip at United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock and will be
streamed on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ aired on ESPN2 (WatchESPN) with Pete Sousa (play-by-play) and King McClure (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 389 with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play) and Stan Weber (analyst) calling the action over there.