Will Spradling is still a question mark for tonight’s game against TCU. He played 30 minutes the last time these teams met, hitting two of three 3-pointers.
Kansas State will celebrate a storied senior class tonight when its men’s basketball team take the court against Texas Christian. Three players – Jordan Henriquez, Martavious Irving, and Rodney McGruder – have left their mark on the University by becoming the winningest senior class in school history. They have accrued 98 victoris, with the opportunity to reach triple digits if the Wildcats win out in the regular season. They will be honored before tip-off with a pregame ceremony recognizing their contributions to the program.
The contest itself may be a perfect trap game. K-State (24-5, 13-3) has moved into the #9 spot in the AP poll on the heels of a five game winning streak, and has a chance to grab a share of the regular season Big 12 title if they defeat #13 Oklahoma State on the road on Saturday. However, first the Wildcats must get by TCU (10-19, 1-15). It will be easy to overlook the Horned Frogs, whom K-State soundly defeated in Fort Worth, 67-54, earlier this year. And it’s somewhat understood if K-State’s players are caught looking ahead to their trip to Stillwater. However, the Horned Frogs’ lone win conference of the season came against #5 KU. Maybe the stars just aligned in some crazy combo that night, but this team has the talent to defeat one of the best in the nation.
Looking at the match up itself, TCU looks to be in for a long night. K-State has a good offense, but it has a truly great defense. Anyone should come into Bramlage expecting to have a difficult time scoring. This is particularly true of the Horned Frogs, who average only 54 points and shoot just 40 percent from the field. 54 is what TCU managed to score at home against the Wildcats, but even that total should be stretch considering the pressure K-State has been applying to its opponents recently.
On the Wildcat side, Martavious Irving may get his first start of the season tonight. Will Spradling has missed significant playing time since suffering a bruised sternum against Texas two weekends ago. Spradling was forced to miss part of that game before returning, sat out the game against Texas Tech, and had five ineffective minutes before sitting for the remainder of the game against Baylor. Martavious Irving filled in admirably that last game, connecting on three of four threes in the first half to help K-State keep pace with Baylor. With his family visiting Manhattan from Florida for the first time, Irving will likely get more than a symbolic start – he should be counted on to contribute significant minutes will allowing Spradling to rest in anticipation of Saturday’s contest. Irving netted eight points in his first game against TCU.
In addition to McGruder, Irving, and Henriquez, Angel Rodriguez and Shane Southwell will start the game tonight. Tipoff is scheduled for 7, and K-State’s line is 22 points. The game will be available on ESPN3.