With the first three games of the Big 12 slate out of the way, the Kansas State Wildcats are now out of the “easy” portion of the schedule. Yes, that three-game stretch was the easy part. K-State went 2-1 over that stretch, falling their last time out in a tight one to Texas Tech in Lubbock on Saturday afternoon.
But now it’s time to take a major step up. K-State (12-4, 2-1) is set to take on #9 Baylor (14-2, 3-0) this evening in Bramlage, and like Texas Tech, it will be the sole regular season matchup with the Bears this season. The TangCats haven’t played a ranked foe since playing in Miami in the Bahamas Championship game two months ago (though Tech is now ranked), a 91-83 loss that saw the Cats take a huge early hole before battling back.
K-State has shown it can compete with good teams, but as struggled to put together the kind of complete game that would allow them actually win a game against a Quad 1 team, and gone just 3-3 against Quad 2 — though Villanova is just outside the zone of a Quad 1 win for K-State. Baylor is by far and away the best team that K-State has played to date based on the metrics, and even despite this being a home game and Jerome Tang seeming to have an answer for his old boss last season, this will be a very tough game for the Wildcats.
About the best sign that Cats have is that Baylor has struggled a bit away from home this season, including needing to go to overtime to win in Stillwater a couple weeks ago, and two consecutive losses, the Bears only two losses, a month ago on the road at Michigan State and at Madison Square Garden against Duke.
So it’s possible that K-State has a shot today. But they’ll need to play a lot better than they did on Saturday if the want to pull off another upset of the Bears.
This evening’s matchup is scheduled for a 7:01pm CT tip at Bramlage Coliseum and will be streamed on Big 12 Now of ESPN+ with Mark Neely (play-by-play) and Chris Spatola (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 388 with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play) and Stan Weber (analyst) calling the action over there.