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Kansas State opens Big 12 play versus UCF

Can the Wildcats move forward from an ugly win and open conference play with a win against the newcomer Knights?

Jan 2, 2024; Manhattan, Kansas, USA; Kansas State Wildcats head coach Jerome Tang questions a call by the officials during the second half against the Chicago State Cougars at Bramlage Coliseum.
Can this team put it together now that conference play is here?
Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

It’s time for your Kansas State Wildcats to get back to action, and this time the stakes are much higher. It’s time for Big 12 play.

Like the Wildcats football squad, the TangCats (10-3) open conference action at home against Big 12 newcomer UCF (9-3) in Manhattan. It’s the first trip outside the state of Florida for the Knights, who have played just three games away from their home arena this season. So it will be a pretty rude awakening for the Knights, assuming Bramlage can be Doom-y without having students on campus (though hopefully they’ll still show up for a weekend game anyway). And they’ll be treated to a little snow on the ground in Manhattan.

UCF, as Drew notes in his preview, is kind of a jumbled mess on offense, but they have a generally aggressive, opportunistic defense much like K-State’s last opponent, Chicago State. The Wildcats are predicted to win, but they’ll need to play more like they did against Wichita State than they did Tuesday night. The Wildcats have yet to put a full 40 minutes of good basketball together, and they’re going to need a lot more than the 8-10 minutes of good basketball they played against Chicago State.

K-State is 2-0 all time versus the Knights, winning 71-59 exactly 21 years ago in Manhattan under Jim Woolridge, and 73-71 in overtime in late November of 2007 (Michael Beasley’s freshman year). Can the Cats keep their streaks alive today? Or will UCF start their Big 12 slate off with a bang?

This evening’s matchup is scheduled for a 5:01pm CT tip at Bramlage Coliseum and will be aired on ESPN2 (and available online) with Mark Neely (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 381 with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play) and Stan Weber (analyst) calling the action over there.

Go Cats!