Eight games at Bramlage Coliseum, a much-anticipated trip to the EA Sports Maui Invitational and a return to the Sprint Center for the Wildcat Classic highlight the 2014-15 Kansas State men's basketball non-conference schedule released on Monday.
The 14-game non-conference slate could include as many as 11 teams that participated in the postseason a year ago, including seven from the 2014 NCAA Tournament. Competition could come from as many as 13 different conferences, including the Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Mountain West, Missouri Valley, Pac-12 and SEC.
The 112th season of K-State men's basketball begins Sunday, November 9 when the Wildcats host Division II foe Washburn led by alumnus Bob Chipman in their lone exhibition game. The season officially gets underway less than a week later on Friday, November 9 when the squad hosts Southern Utah for the first time since 1992.
"We're excited about the team we have coming back, so we felt comfortable taking a step up with our non-conference schedule," said Weber. "Obviously, the West Coast trip is the focal point with a big road test at Long Beach State and a stellar Maui Invitational field that includes six teams that made the postseason. We will learn quickly about our team."
K-State previously announced several components of its non-conference schedule, including the Maui Invitational on Monday-Wednesday, November 24-26, the SEC-Big 12 Challenge contest at Tennessee on Saturday, December 6, the Wildcat Classic contest with Texas A&M at the Sprint Center in Kansas City on Saturday, December 20 and the home game with Georgia on Wednesday, December 31.
"However, our schedule is much more than this early portion," said Weber. "The SEC-Big 12 Challenge game at Tennessee will be yet another test for our young guys against a squad that went to the Sweet 16 a year ago in a terrific environment. We're also excited to be back at the Sprint Center to play a former Big 12 foe in Texas A&M. We know that our fan base will again pack the place with purple. Just like George Washington was last year, the Georgia contest on New Year's Eve will be an important one as we start Big 12 play the next week."
In all, the Wildcats will play 17 games at home in 2014-15, including the nine-game Big 12 slate with visits from NCAA Tournament teams Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas and NIT participant West Virginia. The complete Big 12 schedule, along with game times and television information, will be released at a later date.
"This type of schedule should be attractive to our fan base with eight games at Bramlage Coliseum and the Wildcat Classic contest in Kansas City and we will need their support as we face such a challenging slate of games," said Weber.
The exhibition with Washburn will be the first of three straight home games for the Wildcats, which also includes the opener with Southern Utah and a contest against UMKC on Monday, November 17.
K-State will open the season on Friday, November 9 against a Southern Utah team, which is rebuilding after a 2-27 campaign a season ago. The Wildcats are 16-1 all-time against UMKC and will face the 'Roos for the first time since 2012 and first time under second-year head coach Kareem Richardson. UMKC returns two starters, including WAC Freshman of the Year Martez Harrison (17.2 ppg.).
K-State will play its first road game of the season on Friday, November 21 with a trip to Long Beach State prior to leaving for Hawaii and the EA Sports Maui Invitational. The contest will conclude a home-and-home series started in 2013. The Wildcats defeated the 49ers twice in 2013-14, first at home, 71-58, on November 17 and then 52-38 in the consolation of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off on November 24. It will be the school's third visit to Long Beach, Calif., and first since 1998. The 49ers, who are coming off just the second losing season in head coach Dan Monson's seven-year tenure, return four starters, including two-time First Team All-Big West selection Mike Caffey (16.2 ppg.).
Kansas State will face arguably the best field of any preseason tournament in Maui, as the eight schools combined to go 190-87 (.686) in 2013-14 with seven advancing to either the NCAA Tournament or NIT. The field includes two conference champions in Arizona (Pac-12) and San Diego State (Mountain West), NCAA Tournament teams BYU and Pittsburgh, NIT participant Missouri, Big Ten foe Purdue and Division II host Chaminade. A complete schedule for the tournament, including times and television information, will be released in mid-July.
The Wildcats have met six of the seven teams in the Maui field, including series leads with Arizona (8-5), BYU (4-3), Chaminade (1-0), Missouri (119-116) and Purdue (6-2). The team has never faced Pittsburgh and has a 2-2 all-time record against San Diego State. The school could face Missouri for the first time since ending its conference affiliation in 2012.
K-State will be making its third trip to Maui and fifth overall in-season trip to Hawaii, which includes participation in the 1985 and 1998 Maui Invitationals, a 1993 trip to the University of Hawaii and the 2011 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic. The team is 6-3 all-time on the island, including a 2-3 mark in the Maui Invitational.
Following its trip to Hawaii, the school opens the month of December with a home game against Nebraska-Omaha on Tuesday, December 2. It will be the first of five games at Bramlage Coliseum in the month. The Mavericks return three starters, including honorable mention All-Summit League selection C.J. Carter (13.5 ppg.), from a squad that posted a 17-15 overall record and advanced to the second round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT).
The Wildcats play their second true road game of the non-conference schedule on Saturday, December 6 with a trip to Knoxville, Tenn., to face the Volunteers in the second annual SEC-Big 12 Challenge. Led by first-year head coach Donnie Tyndall, Tennessee is coming off a 24-win campaign and its fourth Sweet 16 appearance in the last eight seasons in 2013-14. It will mark the first meeting between the schools on the hardwood.
The team returns to Manhattan for back-to-back home games against Bradley on Tuesday, December 9 and Savannah State on Sunday, December 14 before journeying to Kansas City for the Wildcat Classic on Saturday, December 20. It will be the first meeting with Bradley since 1996 and first in Manhattan since 1995, while Savannah State will be returning to Bramlage Coliseum for the fourth time since 2004. The Braves return three starters from a squad that went 12-20 in 2013-14, while the Tigers return two starters from a team that went 13-19.
K-State and Texas A&M will meet for the 24th time in their respective histories, including the fifth time in Kansas City, at the Sprint Center on December 20. It will mark the first meeting between the schools since playing at least once a year as Big 12 foes from 1997 to 2012. The Aggies return three of their top 4 scorers from a team that went 18-16 overall and advanced to the postseason for the eighth time in 10 seasons in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) Tournament.
After the holiday break, the Wildcats wrap up non-conference play with home games against Texas Southern on Sunday, December 28 and Georgia on Wednesday, December 31. Both teams won at least 19 games and advanced to the postseason in 2013-14. The reigning Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament champion Tigers, who posted a 19-13 overall record and advanced to the NCAA First Four, will be making their third trip to Bramlage Coliseum since 2010.
The New Year's Eve contest will start a home-and-home agreement with Georgia and serve as a homecoming for sixth-year Bulldog head coach Mark Fox, who is a native of Garden City, Kan., and a former assistant coach at K-State from 1994-2000. It will mark just the second meeting between the two schools and the first since the 1987 NCAA Tournament. The Bulldogs are set to return their Top 5 scorers, including All-SEC Second Team selection Charles Mann (13.9 ppg.), from a team that posted a 20-14 record and advanced to the second round of the NIT.
Season tickets for the 2014-15 season go on sale Monday, June 23 with a variety of ticket packages available. Season-ticket holders will have until Friday, August 1 to arrange payment and retain their seats for the upcoming season. New full season-ticket requests will be handled utilizing the K-State Priority Points system, which rewards fans for their history of season ticket purchases and contributions to the Ahearn Fund.
K-State continues to possess one of the top home atmospheres in the country as the Wildcats have played in front of an average of more than 12,000 fans for four consecutive seasons at Bramlage Coliseum. The school has won more than 75 percent of its games in Bramlage Coliseum's 26-year history, including a 115-19 (.858) record over the past eight seasons at home and a 64-3 (.955) mark in non-conference play.
The Wildcats are coming off yet another successful campaign in 2013-14, as the team advanced to the NCAA Tournament for a school-record fifth consecutive season and posted its eighth straight 20-win season. The squad posted a 15-2 record at home this past season, including a Bramlage Coliseum record 15-game winning streak from Nov. 13 to March 1. The team is 32-3 at home under Weber.
The program returns nine lettermen, including five players with starting experience, in 2014-15 to go along with Division I transfers Justin Edwards and Brandon Bolden. The group is headlined by All-Big 12 Second Team selection Marcus Foster (15.5 ppg., 3.2 rpg.) and honorable mention pick Thomas Gipson (11.7 ppg., 6.5 rpg.). Overall, the team returns more than 70 percent of its scoring and 65 percent of its rebounding.
Fans can purchase season tickets in a variety of ways, including toll free at (800) 221.CATS (2287), online at www.kstatesports.com/tickets and in-person at the Athletics Ticket Office located in Bramlage Coliseum.
2014-15 Kansas State Men's Basketball Non-Conference Schedule
Day Date Opponent
Sunday Nov. 9 WASHBURN (Exh.)
Friday Nov. 14 SOUTHERN UTAH
Monday Nov. 17 UMKC
Friday Nov. 21 at Long Beach State
EA Sports Maui Invitational (Lahaina Civic Center, Maui, Hawai'i)
Monday Nov. 24 vs. TBA
Tuesday Nov. 25 vs. TBA
Wednesday Nov. 26 vs. TBA
Tuesday Dec. 2 NEBRASKA-OMAHA
SEC-Big 12 Challenge (Thompson-Boling Arena, Knoxville, Tenn.)
Saturday Dec. 6 at Tennessee
Tuesday Dec. 9 BRADLEY
Sunday Dec. 14 SAVANNAH STATE
Wildcat Classic (Sprint Center, Kansas City, Mo.)
Saturday Dec. 20 vs. Texas A&M
Sunday Dec. 28 TEXAS SOUTHERN
Wednesday Dec. 31 GEORGIA