When these two teams met back in January, no one would have expected K-State to be leading KU at the break 50-34. But, as has happened far too often against the Jayhawks, the Wildcats succumbed in the second half, eventually giving up that huge lead before falling 78-75.
And to cap things off, it spoiled an otherwise transcendent night from Nijel Pack, who dropped a career-high 35 points on 12-18 (67%) shooting, including going 8-12 (67%) from behind the arc. He was nearly unstoppable, but unfortunately the same could not be said for most of the rest of the team, especially seniors Mark Smith and Mike McGuirl, who each had their worst performances of the season against the fake birds.
Tonight there is nothing to lose. This is a game the Wildcats are expected to lose, and lose big. Maybe that could be an advantage for these “road dawgs” (that just dropped a game on the road...), who are still in need of a signature win here late in the season to help impress the voters. But the last time the Wildcats won in Lawrence was 16 years ago, back when some other coach was also on the hot seat coaching for his life.
Maybe we see magic again tonight. But really, expect the same treatment we’re used to seening in Lawrence.
Tonight’s game from Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence tips at 8:05pm CST and can be seen on ESPN with Rich Hollenberg (play-by-play) and Fran Fraschilla (analyst) on the call. The game should also be available streaming via WatchESPN, if you already have the correct TV subscription.
If you don’t get ESPN, or can’t access the stream, you can listen to Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play) and Stan Weber (analyst) call the game on much of the K-State Sports Radio Network, and also available on XM channel 387 and online on the The Varsity Network app and at K-StateSports.com.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP
Kansas State Wildcats (14-12, 6-8 Big 12)
G: #00 Mike McGuirl
G: #1 Markquis Nowell
G: #13 Mark Smith
G: #24 Nijel Pack
C: #25 Davion Bradford
5/5 Kansas Jayhawks (22-4, 11-2, 5-8 Big 12)
G: #2 Christian Braun
G: #3 Dajuan Harris
G: #30 Ochai Agbaji
F: #10 Jalen Wilson
F: #32 David McCormack