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SLATE: Return to action (or not)

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The WeberCats come back from the holiday break to get back into action tonight.

NCAA Basketball: McNeese State at Kansas State Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Basketball

After a week off to break for the Christmas holiday weekend, your Kansas State Wildcats men’s basketball team returns to action tonight from Bramlage Coliseum. Originally, the Wildcats were supposed to face Morgan State tonight, but the Bears program is currently on pause due to COVID issues, but K-State was able to find an alternate, and so will face the North Florida Ospreys at 7pm.

UPDATE: Tonight’s game against North Florida has been cancelled due to COVID issues in the Ospreys program. Next game is Saturday’s Big 12 opening contest at Oklahoma, next home game is Tuesday’s matchup against Texas.

This is actually a bit of an upgrade on the schedule, as Morgan State is currently rated 316 by KenPom, while North Florida is 285, becoming the best non-multi-bid conference team on the schedule. They’ll be a slightly better stepping stone as the Wildcats get into very tough Big 12 conference play this weekend (starting with a road trip to OU on New Year’s Day), but a game at all is better than no game.

Football

Despite several cancellations around the country, and LSU being a prime candidate while dealing with roster issues headed into the bowl game, this “close-knit group” of Wildcats are geared up and ready for the opportunity to compete in the Texas Bowl next Tuesday night. There’s been just a handful of departures from the roster over the course of the season and after the end of the regular season, but that does include the two primary backups to Deuce Vaughn at running back. That means someone else will need to step up, and that appears to be western Kansas native Jordan Schippers, at least for the bowl game.

While D. Scott Fritchen has putting out a series of vignettes about former Wildcats and key performances in bowl games as part of the Sports Extra series (which really are great), we’d be remiss to not specifically point out the special feature on Joan Friederich, the former administrative assistance for K-State Football. Joan, who was part of the football program for over 40 years before her retirement in 2017, passed away last week, much to the grief of Wildcats everywhere, including Bill Snyder. Rest in peace, Miss Joan.

Also, this may be a K-State blog, but we, like everyone else who follows sports regularly, were shocked by the sudden passing of NFL legend John Madden, the former Super Bowl winning coach of the Raiders, longtime NFL commentator, and face of the EA sports video game football franchise that still bears his name. Madden was 85. Rest in peace, John.