Let’s start with the teams in action this past weekend.
We didn’t have a recap for you for Kansas State’s 98-50 win over Incarnate Word on Sunday (sorry about that!), but it really wasn’t necessary. The Wildcats didn’t exactly come out of the gate on fire, but once they finally woke up they turned on the jets and cruised past the Cardinals. The Cats led by as many as 52, but two missed shots from walk-on Nate Awbrey in the closing seconds (where he got zero help getting a good shot) prevented the Cats from hitting triple-digits for the game for the first time since 2010 — but the 48-point margin of victory was still the 10th-largest in school history. Overall, seven Cats scored in double figures, led by Keyontae Johnson’s 18, but nobody lodged a double-double as Nae’Qwan Tomlin was a rebound shy, and Markquis Nowell was two assists shy of hitting the other double mark. With the win, K-State improved to 9-1 on the season which is the best mark through 10 games since 2011-12, and is the best 10-game start by a first-year head coach in K-State history.
The TangCats return to action on Saturday (12/17) in Kansas City, where they will face Nebraska at the T-Mobile Center at 6pm CST. That game will be shown on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.
The women didn’t exactly have a great time on their trip to KC this past weekend, and fell to a very tough South Dakota State squad 82-78. The MittieCats actually trailed throughout, and only won the fourth quarter by 4 points, which wasn’t enough to erase the 8-point deficit they had entering the final period. Gabby Gregory led all scorers with 31 points, but it was a volume night for her and the Wildcats, as they shot a frigid 36% from the floor as a team, and just 21% from behind the arc. Gregory alone went 10-27 and 2-12 from deep. The lone spot the Wildcats did well in was at the charity stripe, where the Cats dropped in all but one of their 19 attempts. The loss dropped K-State to 9-2 on the season, and precipitated their fall out of the Top 25 this week.
The MittieCats return to action on Sunday (12/18), with a game against the Bears of Northern Colorado in Bramlage Coliseum at 1pm CST. You can watch the action on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.
Tis the time of the year for postseason honors to start rolling in, and the Wildcats have of course seen players on even All-Big 12 and All-American list after their run to the Big 12 Championship.
Five Wildcats saw their name on the AP All-Big 12 list, with Felix Anudike-Uzomah, who was also AP Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, Cooper Beebe, and Deuce Vaughn on the First Team. Vaughn’s First Team nod was for All-Purpose Player, and the junior standout also appeared on the Second Team as a running back, and was joined by Julius Brents and Ty Zentner.
Nationally, Felix Anudike-Uzomah was the lone Wildcat named to both the FWAA and Walter Camp All-American teams, where he earned Second Team honors in both lists. He was joined by Deuce Vaughn and Cooper Beebe as selections to the AP All American teams, as Vaughn was First Team all-purpose player, Beebe was Second Team guard, and Felix was Third Team edge. Vaughn and Beebe were First Team selections by Sporting News, while King Felix was curiously left off.
Deuce has also been named a finalist for the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award, his second-consecutive season as a finalist for the award. Vaughn is one of four finalists for the award, joining TCU quarterback Max Duggan, UTSA quarterback Frank Harris, and Texas running back Bijan Robinson.
If you want a close-up view of the Big 12 Championship Trophy, you’ll get a chance over the next couple weeks as it will be headed out across the state of Kansas. There are 19 stops on the “Championship Trophy Tour” (clearly a missed opportunity to find four more places to stop....), which begins today Wednesday, Dec. 14th and runs through Tuesday, Dec. 20th.
We’re also a week away from the start of the early signing period for college football, and K-State’s Top 30 class, headlined by 4-star QB Avery Johnson, is already basically complete, with 22 young men already verbally committed and just a few more expected to announce for K-State. The Cats aren’t going to need to go as heavy in the transfer portal as they did the last couple years, but they have already secured the commitment of WR Keagan Johnson, a former HS 4-star recruit who spent his first two years (one was a redshirt season) at Iowa.