Take a quick look at K-State’s 2013 nonconference basketball schedule, and it looks a whole lot like 2012. And that’s not just because it’s light on traditional powers and includes more than one team capable of pulling an upset against most teams in the nation but do nothing to boost your RPI. Unfortunately, it features even fewer ranked squads. And at the end of the day, it leaves a bit to be desired.
One good thing for area fans is that the schedule features a lot of home games, giving them several chances to see the Wildcats in action. The first match comes November 8th against Northern Colorado in the first of three straight home games. Following the Puerto Rico Tip Off, K-State plays three more home games, faces Gonzaga in Wichita, and also plays George Washington on New Year’s Eve in Manhattan before Big 12 play begins.
If K-State’s only goal is making the NCAA tournament, this may be the ideal schedule – a relatively nonchallenging run that won’t leave the team with many losses. However, there was a lot of turnover from last season and the lack of tests won’t leave the fresh faces prepared for the battles that come in league play. However, the Puerto Rico event offers an intriguing opportunity to test Bruce Weber’s squad early. The first round features a game against Charlotte, who finished 21-12 in 2012-13 and had a signature victory over #11 Butler.
The winner of that match (let’s assume the Wildcats) will take on the winner of Northeastern-Georgetown. Georgetown finished second in the Big East tournament, going 25-7 on the season and earning a #2 seed in the NCAA tournament. On the other side of the bracket are Michigan, Florida State, Long Beach State, and VCU. While Michigan, Florida State, and VCU were among the top 25 teams of 2012-13, Long Beach State was no slouch, finishing with the best record in Big West Conference play at 14-4. No matter who the Wildcats draw, there will be talent on the other end of the court.
Returning to Bramlage, K-State’s best opponent comes from the Big 12/SEC challenge in Ole Miss. The Rebels finished 27-9 last season and were among the best in the SEC, although this is a rebuilding year down in Oxford as well. The only other game of intrigue is a “neutral site” meeting against Gonzaga at InTrust Bank Arena (kind of like how last year’s game was a neutral site game in Seattle). Gonzaga has been among the best teams in the nation the past several years, and went 31-2 in the regular season play (including an undefeated run in conference play) before falling to Final Four participant Wichita State. The Zags took last year’s game without much of a struggle, triumphing 68-52.
One more intriguing game is Tulane in Brooklyn. The Wildcats will be visiting the recently constructed Barclays Center on December 28. Here is the full slate of games, with Charlotte representing the first of the the Puerto Rico Tip Off games (the tournament will run November 21-24):
Fri, Nov 8Northern ColoradoWed, Nov 13Oral RobertsSun, Nov 17Long Beach StateThu, Nov 21CharlotteSun, Dec 1Central ArkansasThu, Dec 5Ole MissTue, Dec 10South DakotaSun, Dec 15TroySat, Dec 21GonzagaSat, Dec 28TulaneTue, Dec 31George Washington