Well last time out certainly was ugly. Much less a basketball game than a commentary on the state of officiating in college basketball, but regardless, it was a game that Kansas State (14-5, 4-2) played sloppy, made stupid mistakes, and lost. The road is a tough place, especially in the Big 12.
Now it’s time to move on. K-State get’s to stay on the road today, and while the environment won’t be nearly so hostile, the opponent is better overall. The TangCats are in Houston today, facing off against the No. 4/4 Cougars (17-2, 4-2). This will be the third ever meeting between the two programs, but the first since 1974 when Chuckie Williams led the Cats to a 91-90 victory in Houston.
Houston is very good. Despite a stumble to start Big 12 play, the Cougars have won three straight over teams ranked or receiving votes, and are coming off a 75-68 win over the other Cougars in Provo earlier this week. K-State has shown the ability to play up to good opponents, but if they come out flat like they did against Iowa State they will have a much harder time catching back up.
Could K-State win this game? Certainly, it’s the Big 12 and the TangCats have shown they have what it takes to win big games. Will K-State win this game? Well...the odds are not in their favor.
This morning’s matchup is scheduled for a 11:01am CT tip at the Fertitta Center in Houston and will be aired on ESPN (WatchESPN) with Jon Sciambi (play-by-play) and Fran Fraschilla (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 382 with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play) and Stan Weber (analyst) calling the action over there.
After coming off an incredible road win over No. 13 Baylor, giving the Bears their first loss in their new building, the Wildcats return to the friendly confines of Bramlage to face Big 21 newcomer BYU.
K-State is 19-1 and 8-0 in the Big 12, continuing their program-best start to a season, and already matching last season’s final win total. The MittieCats are also ranked in the top 5 of both polls for the first time since the 2002-03 season, a year the Cats finished a program best 29-5 and 14-2 in the Big 12.
Going back to the takedown of Baylor, the Wildcats did that without the services of Ayoka Lee, who will be out for a few weeks after needing surgery on her ankle to repair damage taken during the OU game (when she apparently got kicked). K-State has been led by their strong guard play in the last two wins, but the biggest surprise has been the meteoric rise of sophomore Eliza Maupin. The young forward put in 8 points and grabbed 5 rebounds against KU, then nearly doubled both with an incredible 16 points and 9 rebounds against the Bears. Oh, and she’s 9-9 combined from the floor in her last two games, including her first career 3pt make that came in Waco. Despite losing Lee, the future is showing it’s incredibly bright in Manhattan.
BYU comes to Bramlage at 12-8, 2-5 in Big 12 play. They are just 1-6 away from Provo, and have gotten beaten handily on the road in Big 12 play so far. This is a game the Wildcats should win, and get some rest for the starters late in the game, plain and simple. Expect the Wildcats defensive pressure to fluster the Cougars continually, and lots of the Gap Goat.
This afternoon’s tipoff is at 4:00pm CT from Bramlage Coliseum, and will be streamed on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ with Brian Smoller (play-by-play) and Kristin Waller (analyst) on the call. You can also listen to Matt Walters (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 200 and the SiriusXM app.