A tilt with Elite Eight participant Florida in the Sprint Center and 10 games in the friendly confines of Bramlage Coliseum highlight Kansas State's 2012-13 men's basketball non-conference schedule announced Tuesday. Under first-year head coach Bruce Weber, the Wildcats could play as many as 15 non-conference games in 2012-13, including six consecutive at home to start the season.
The six-game home stand includes two in the NIT Season Tip-Off, which has not announced its complete field. K-State is one of four schools, along with Michigan, Pittsburgh and Virginia, to host regional opening rounds of the tournament with hopes of advancing to Madison Square Garden for the semifinals and finals on November 21-23. Unlike other tournaments, the team must win its two home games to advance to New York City.
K-State previously announced neutral site games with Gonzaga in Seattle and Florida in Kansas City. The Wildcats and Bulldogs will play in the 10th annual State Farm Battle in Seattle at 8 p.m., CT Saturday, December 15 at KeyArena. The squad will play Florida in the third annual Hy-Vee Wildcat Classic at the Sprint Center at 7 p.m., CT Saturday, December 22. Both games will air nationally on ESPN2.
"We are really excited about the challenges and the opportunities of this non-conference schedule," said Weber. "We will face some really big tests with an Elite Eight team like Florida in Kansas City and an always competitive Gonzaga squad in Seattle. Plus we have a difficult road game against an improving George Washington team and the field of the NIT Season Tip-Off is really strong. The schedule also has a good mix, where we are able to have enough home games to be able to test our veteran team as they adjust to a new system and coaching staff."
Kansas State opens its 110th season of basketball when the Wildcats host Washburn in the first of two exhibition games on Tuesday, October 30. The second exhibition will be Sunday, November 4 against Emporia State. The season officially gets underway on Friday, November 9 when the squad hosts first-time opponent North Dakota.
The exhibition with Washburn will be the first of six straight home games for the Wildcats, which also includes two games of the NIT Season Tip-Off on Monday-Tuesday, November 12-13 and North Florida on Sunday, November 18.
Following possible games at Madison Square Garden the week of Thanksgiving, K-State returns home to play first-time opponent South Carolina Upstate on Sunday, December 2. The team then makes a trip to Washington, D.C., to take on Atlantic 10 foe George Washington on Saturday, December 8. Last season, the Wildcats knocked off the Colonials, 69-56, at Bramlage Coliseum in the first meeting since 1940.
K-State will begin a stretch of three games in an eight-day period with a trip to Seattle to play Gonzaga on December 15. After a home game with Texas Southern on Tuesday, December 18, the squad will head to Kansas City to play Florida in the Hy-Vee Wildcat Classic at the Sprint Center on December 22. The Gators won the only previous meeting, 57-44, in the 2010 MetroPCS Orange Bowl Classic.
The Wildcats conclude non-conference play with back-to-back home games with UMKC on Saturday, December 29 and South Dakota on Monday, December 31.
The complete Big 12 schedule, along with game times and the television schedule will be released at a later date. The league has already announced that K-State will make two appearances on ESPN's Big Monday in 2013 with a trip to Kansas for the Sunflower Showdown on Monday, February 11 at 8 p.m. CT and the return of former head coach Bob Huggins and his West Virginia team to Bramlage Coliseum on Monday, February 18 at 8 p.m. CT.
Men's basketball season-ticket holders will have until Wednesday, August 15 to arrange payment and retain their seats for the 2012-13 season. All fans interested in season tickets are encouraged to order or renew by the August 15 priority deadline. Season tickets can be purchased in a variety of ways, including toll free at (800) 221.CATS (2287), online at www.kstatesports.com and in-person at the ticket office. Season ticket prices remain the same for 2012-13.
Seat locations will be very limited following the deadline, as Bramlage Coliseum has been sold out each of the past two seasons. K-State ranks as one of just 14 schools nationally to draw more than 12,000 in paid attendance for every regular season home game over the last two seasons. The list also includes Kentucky, Syracuse, Louisville, North Carolina, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Kansas, Illinois, Michigan State, New Mexico, Vanderbilt and Creighton.
Weber's squad returns 12 lettermen, including seven players with starting experience, in 2012-13. The group is headlined by two-time All-Big 12 performer Rodney McGruder (15.8 ppg., 5.2 rpg.) and fellow Big 12 All-Defensive Team member Jordan Henriquez (7.6 ppg., 2.4 bpg.) as well as senior guard Martavious Irving (5.5 ppg., 1.5 apg.).
K-State made its fourth appearance in the NCAA Tournament in the last five seasons in 2011-12, as the Wildcats posted a 22-11 overall record and earned a tie for fifth place in the Big 12 standings with a 10-8 mark. It was the school's unprecedented sixth consecutive 20-win season and sixth straight trip to the postseason.
The Wildcats are currently in the midst of preparations for its 10-day trip to Brazil, which is set for August 8-17 in the cities of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The squad is hosting an open practice, presented by Manhattan Broadcasting, at 2 p.m., Saturday, which will include a scrimmage and autograph session. Fans are asked to enter the arena through the northwest and southwest doors.
2012-13 K-STATE MEN'S BASKETBALL NON-CONFERENCE SCHEDULE
Day, Date Opponent
Tuesday, Oct. 30 WASHBURN (Exh.)
Sunday, Nov. 4 EMPORIA STATE (Exh.)
Friday, Nov. 9 NORTH DAKOTA
NIT Season Tip-Off Manhattan Regional Opening Rounds
Monday, Nov. 12 TBA
Tuesday, Nov. 13 TBA
Sunday, Nov. 18 NORTH FLORIDA
NIT Season Tip-Off (Madison Square Garden, New York, N.Y.)
Wednesday, Nov. 21 vs. TBA
Friday, Nov. 23 vs. TBA
Sunday, Dec. 2 SOUTH CAROLINA UPSTATE
Saturday, Dec. 8 at George Washington
State Farm Battle in Seattle (KeyArena, Seattle, Wash.)
Saturday, Dec. 15 vs. Gonzaga
Tuesday, Dec. 18 TEXAS SOUTHERN
Hy-Vee Wildcat Classic (Sprint Center, Kansas City, Mo.)
Saturday, Dec. 22 vs. Florida
Saturday, Dec. 29 UMKC
Monday, Dec. 31 SOUTH DAKOTA