:gasp: What is this...a midweek slate?? You asked, and we figured it was the least we could do since we didn’t get a recap for you after last night’s victory in the Cayman Islands Classic. So let’s get caught up!
Your Kansas State Wildcats are now 4-0 on the young season, which is the best start since the 2019-20 team also started 4-0 before falling flat on their face in the Fort Myers Tipoff. Hopefully these Wildcats won’t suffer a similar fate.
The Tangs Cats moved to 4-0 with a 77-57 win over Rhode Island to open their run in the Cayman Islands Classic. The Cats used a 44-point first half to create a 17-point lead going into halftime, but sloppy play in the second half kept K-State from pulling away from the Rams — though the Cats did end up winning both halves.
The Cats were led by Nae’Qwan Tomlin, as the junior dropped in 15 points, grabbed 6 rebounds, and swatted away 5 shot attempts — the most blocks in a game since Jordan Henriquez-Roberts hit that mark in 2013. It was an incredible overall performance from the junior college transfer who didn’t play organized basketball in high school. He even had an impressive drive to the basket for a dunk in the first half, which is not something we’ve seen 6’10” guys do around here.
He was joined in double figures by Keyontae Johnson (14) and David N’Guessan (12), and Markquis Nowell was just one point shy of a double-double with 9 points at 12 assists. The 12 assists were one off his own career high of 13 set while still playing at Little Rock, and were the most in game for the Wildcats since Steve Henson dished out a dozen against Oklahoma State back in early 1989. The 12 assists also put him at 499 for his career.
The TangCats return to action tonight against Nevada, which will be their toughest game so far on the season. The Wolf Pack are 5-0 are are the first Top 100 KenPom team, and Top 40 Massey team that the Wildcats will play this season. That game is tonight at 6:30pm CT on FloHoops.
A win tonight puts the Cats in the championship game tomorrow (11/23) also at 6:30pm CT, likely against LSU, who is the only team above K-State in KenPom and Massey in the bracket. A loss puts the Cats in the 3rd place game at 4:00pm CT.
Over on the women’s side, the MittieCats are taking a bit of a break to open the week after finishing last week with three games in four days, including the incredible upset win over then No. 4/6 Iowa in Bramlage. Thanks largely to that win, and their 5-0 record to start the season, the Cats have entered the AP poll for the first time this season at #25.
— K-State Women's Basketball (@KStateWBB) November 21, 2022
No. 25 in @AP_Top25 #KStateWBB pic.twitter.com/ZxXJgDpEJg
They’ve also been named the ESPN Team of the Week for that win over Iowa (but apparently that wasn’t good enough to crack their 16-team power rankings that included a 4-1 Maryland team that got pasted by South Carolina last week....).
They get back to action on Thanksgiving Day versus Clemson on day one of the Paradise Jam in the US Virgin Islands. That game is slated for a 7pm CT tip and can be (actually) seen on ESPN+. Also, Friday they take on Northern Arizona at 4:45pm CT, then Saturday the play Arkansas at 7pm CT, but through no fault of theirs you probably won’t be watching.
Speaking of Saturday night, the Sunflower Showdown is the prime-time game on FOX, 7pm CT from Bill Snyder Family Stadium. This is easily the most anticipated game in the series since 2009, when KU’s “History Awaits” season came in still looking for bowl eligibility in Bill Snyder’s first season back on the sidelines — a game K-State won 17-10.
Sure the K-State team is doing well, and a win over the Jayhawks puts the Cats in the Big 12 title game, but individually the Cats are on fire as well. Junior defensive end Brendan Mott picked up the Big 12’s Defensive Player of the Week honor after his 8-tackle and 3-sack performance against WVU — it’s the 10th weekly honor this season marking the most in program history. Super-Senior punter Ty Zentner also received recognition being named as a semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award, given annually to the nation’s top punter.
As a special treat, since KU is actually relevant this year, we actually talk about them on this week’s edition of Bring on the PodCats, as we are joined by 247’s Kevin Flaherty. Be sure and watch for that to drop later this week.