A school-record 17 national television appearances, including the previously announced Big Monday tilt with Kansas, highlight the Big 12 portion of Kansas State's men's basketball schedule released on Thursday.
The Wildcats, who own the second-most Big 12 wins (55) in the last five seasons, will play 14 games against teams that advanced to the postseason a year ago, including seven in Bramlage Coliseum. In addition, five of the nine home league contests will also fall on a Saturday, including match-ups with NCAA Tournament participants Baylor, Oklahoma State, Texas, Oklahoma and Iowa State. The school is 51-16 (.761) at home in Big 12 play since the 2006-07 season.
"Obviously, the Big 12 will once again be one of the top, if not, the best league in the country," said third-year head coach Bruce Weber. "With eight teams advancing to the postseason a year ago and improved squads at both TCU and Texas Tech, this is league is going to be as tough as there is from top to bottom. There are always surprise teams, so we will once again have to prepare ourselves for a tremendous battle every night."
For the first time, 17 of K-State's 18 conference contests will be available on one of ESPN's family of networks, including nine on either ESPN or ESPN2. The nine appearances on ESPN or ESPN2 are the most in a league season for the Wildcats, eclipsing the eight played during the 2010-11 season. The squad will also play six times on ESPNU, which includes the opener at Oklahoma State at 11 a.m. CT on Saturday, Jan. 3, while there will be two first-time appearances on ESPNEWS. The lone contest not on the network - at TCU on Wednesday, Feb. 18 - will be carried by FOX Sports Southwest.
The league previously announced that the Wildcats' home game with Kansas (Feb. 23, 8 p.m.) would be featured on ESPN's signature Big Monday broadcast. In addition, K-State will play eight other contests on either ESPN or ESPN2, including home games with Oklahoma State (Jan. 24, 11 a.m.), West Virginia (Jan. 27, 6 p.m.), Texas (Feb. 7, 3 p.m.), Oklahoma (Feb. 14, 7 p.m.), Iowa State (Feb. 28, TBD) to go with road tilts at Iowa State (Jan. 20, 6 p.m.), Kansas (Jan. 31, 1 p.m.) and Texas (March 7, TBD).
After opening league play at Oklahoma State on Jan. 3, the Wildcats will play three of their next five games at home, including the home opener with TCU at 8 p.m. CT on Wednesday, Jan. 7 on ESPNEWS. Following a trip to Oklahoma on Jan. 10, the squad will play a stretch of four home games in a five-game span, including Texas Tech on Wednesday, Jan. 14 (8 p.m. ESPNEWS), Baylor on Saturday, Jan. 17 (TBD, ESPNU), Oklahoma State on Saturday, Jan. 24 (11 a.m., ESPN/2) and West Virginia on Tuesday, Jan. 27 (6 p.m., ESPN2). A trip to Hilton Coliseum to face Sweet 16 foe Iowa State is sandwiched between this home stretch on Tuesday, Jan. 20 (6 p.m., ESPN2).
After finishing the month with a trip to Kansas on Saturday, Jan. 31 (1 p.m., ESPN/2), K-State will open February with four road tilts in a six-game span, beginning at Texas Tech on Wednesday, Feb. 4 (8 p.m., ESPNU). Home games with Texas on Saturday, Feb. 7 (3 p.m., ESPN/2) and Oklahoma on Saturday, Feb. 14 (7 p.m., ESPN2) are separated by a trip to West Virginia on Wednesday, Feb. 11 (6 p.m., ESPNU). Back-to-back road games at TCU on Wednesday, Feb. 18 (TBD, FSSW) and Baylor on Saturday, Feb. 21 (TBD, ESPNU) follow and precede consecutive home contests against Kansas on Monday, Feb. 23 and Iowa State on Saturday, Feb. 28 (TBD, ESPN/2). After a bye, the Wildcats finish the regular season at Texas on Saturday, March 7 (TBD, ESPN/2).
The Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship will be held Wednesday through Saturday, March 11-14, at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.
The Wildcats will look to continue to build on their recent success, which includes a school-record eight consecutive postseason appearances, including five straight in the NCAA Tournament, and eight straight 20-win seasons. The squad returns nine lettermen, including five players with starting experience, in 2014-15 to go 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.).
The remaining game times as well as the FOX Sports Kansas City television slate will be released in the coming weeks.