Somewhat lost in the shadow of K-State’s appearance in the Sugar Bowl, your Kansas State Wildcats men’s basketball team is also in action today, as the are set to open Big 12 play against West Virginia this evening from Bramlage Coliseum.
The Wildcats have had about a week and a half off, with their last action coming in a 73-65 win over Radford on Dec. 21st. It wasn’t really a close game, but with as much as the Wildcats slept-walked through it, the final score was closer than it really should have been.
As we head into Big 12 play, Keyontae Johnson leads the Cats in scoring at 17.7ppg, and in rebounding at 6.8rpg. He’s gotten a lot of help from Markquis Nowell, who is averaging nearly 14ppg and over 8 assists per game, as well as the surprise appearance of Nae’Qwan Tomlin, whose thunderous dunks have livened up Bramlage, averaging 11.7ppg and a surprising 1.2 blocks per game.
Of course, some of that is the competition, as K-State is 11-1, but has yet to play a team that is currently ranked in Quad 1 of the NET Rankings (and are just 3-1 in Quad 2). That competition takes a big step up starting today, with #24 West Virginia in the house today, as well as the rest of Big 12 play looming in the new year.
The Mountaineers are 10-2, but are ranked 11th in the NET, behind KU at 5 and Texas at 9 for the Big 12. They are led by three seniors, none of whom were at West Virginia last season. Erik Stevenson leads the ‘Eers with 14.5ppg after transferring from South Carolina, and Texas transfer Tre Mitchell is right behind at 12.8ppg. Jimmy Bell, Jr. leads the team in rebounding at 6.1rpg, with Mitchell behind at 4.7rpg.
This isn’t quite Press Virginia of old, but Bob Higgins crew is still good and with be a very tough test for Jerome Tang’s first Big 12 game as head coach.
This evening’s Big 12 opener is set for a 6:01pm CST start, and will be streamed on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ with Ted Emrich (play-by-play) and Bryndon Manzer (analyst) on the call. You’ll also be able to hear the game online at K-StateSports.com, plus parts of the K-State Sports Radio Network and on SiriusXM 381 with Brian Smoller (play-by-play) and Kamau Stokes (analyst) calling the action over there.