K-State Announces 2016-17 Non-Conference Schedule

PDF of 2016-17 Non-Conference Schedule

– Nine games at Bramlage Coliseum, a potential matchup against Maryland in the Barclays Center Classic in Brooklyn, N.Y., and the return of the Wildcat Classic to Sprint Center highlight the 2016-17 Kansas State men’s basketball non-conference schedule released on Thursday.

The 114th season of K-State men’s basketball officially gets underway on Friday, Nov. 11 when the Wildcats host Western Illinois in the first of four consecutive regular-season home games at Bramlage Coliseum.

“We play in one of the most competitive leagues in the country, so we wanted to be deliberate in how we built the non-conference schedule with a mix of teams to challenge our players,” said head coach Bruce Weber. “We have a blend of both experience and youth coming back and we feel this schedule has good balance and will provide a great test for us.”

K-State previously announced several components of its non-conference schedule, including the Wildcat Classic contest with Washington State at the Sprint Center on Saturday, Dec. 10 and a trip to Tennessee in the fourth annual SEC-Big 12 Challenge presented by Sonic on Saturday, Jan. 28.

In all, the Wildcats will play 18 home games in 2016-17, including the nine-game Big 12 slate with visits from Final Four participant Oklahoma and other NCAA Tournament teams – Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Texas, Texas Tech and West Virginia. The Big 12 schedule, along with game times and television information, will be released at a later date.

The team will play two exhibitions prior to the start of the regular season in what will be the start of six straight home games for the Wildcats. Dates and opponents for those exhibitions will be released later in the summer.

K-State will open the season on Friday, Nov. 11 against Western Illinois, which returns All-Summit League Second Team selection Garret Covington (17.9 ppg., 4.1 rpg.) under second-year coach Billy Wright. The next week the Wildcats will get visits from a pair of postseason teams in Omaha and Hampton, as the Mavericks won 18 games and advanced to the College Basketball Invitational while the Pirates tallied 21 victories en route to their second straight Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament championship and a trip to the NCAA Tournament. First-time opponent Robert Morris finishes off the homestand. The Colonials are the first Northeast Conference opponent to visit Bramlage Coliseum since 2001.

The Wildcats are unbeaten all-time against Western Illinois (3-0), Omaha (1-0) and Hampton (1-0).

The squad will head to Brooklyn, N.Y., and the Barclays Center for second time to play in the Barclays Center Classic, alongside Boston College, Maryland and Richmond on Friday-Saturday, Nov. 25-26. The first and only visit to the Brooklyn Nets’ home arena came in a 72-41 win over Tulane on Dec. 28, 2013.

The Terrapins, led by Topeka, Kansas native and Kansas alum Mark Turgeon, won 27 games a year ago and advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16. Annually one of the top teams in the Atlantic 10, the Spiders won 16 games last season under longtime coach Chris Mooney and return All-Atlantic 10 Third Team member T.J. Cline (18.3 ppg., 5.2 rpg.), the son of women’s basketball legend and Naismith Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman. The Eagles continue to rebound under third-year coach Jim Christian, who led successful rebuilding efforts at Kent State, TCU and Ohio.

K-State will finish off the first month of the season at home against Green Bay, who won 23 games and advanced to the NCAA Tournament after upsetting Valparaiso and Wright State to win the Horizon League Tournament championship. Weber helped coach second-year Phoenix head coach Linc Darner while at Purdue, as Darner was a two-time captain for Boilermakers from 1990-94 playing alongside Glenn Robinson and current Purdue coach Matt Painter.

The month of December begins with the first true road trip of the season, as the Wildcats travel to St. Louis to face the hometown Billikens and first-year head coach Travis Ford in the final game of a home-and-home series on Friday, Dec. 3. The series, which dates to 1929, is one of the most competitive in school history with the teams splitting their 18 meetings. The Wildcats won the last such matchup, 75-47, at home on Dec. 29, 2015. 

The contest will be a homecoming for senior D.J. Johnson, who played locally at Parkway North High School. 

After a home game against Prairie View A&M on Tuesday, Dec. 6, the squad will begin a series with Pac-12 foe Washington State in the Wildcat Classic at the Sprint Center on Saturday, Dec. 10 before a visit to Denver, Colo., and the Pepsi Center for a matchup against Colorado State on Saturday, Dec. 17 to wrap up a two-game series.

The Cougars are set to return seven lettermen, including honorable mention All-Pac-12 selection Josh Hawkinson (15.4 ppg., 11.1 rpg.), while the Rams return honorable mention All-Mountain West selection Emmanuel Omogbo (10.9 ppg., 8.0 rpg.) from a squad that won 18 games a season ago under veteran coach Larry Eustachy.

K-State has played at least one game at the Sprint Center in 10 consecutive seasons, including seven matchups in the Wildcat Classic dating back to 2007. The Wildcats are 6-1 all-time in Wildcat Classic games. 

Following the trip to Denver, the team finishes off December with a visit from Gardner-Webb on Tuesday, Dec. 21. The Bulldogs won 17 games last year and return Tyrell Nelson (14.2 ppg., 7.6 rpg.), an All-Big South Second Team performer. 

The non-conference schedule will conclude on Saturday, Jan. 28 with a trip to Tennessee in the fourth annual SEC/Big 12 Challenge. It will be just second meeting between the schools, all since 2014. Led by former Texas coach Rick Barnes, the Volunteers won 12 of their 15 games at home last season, including Florida, Kentucky and South Carolina.

Season tickets for the 2016-17 season go on sale Wednesday, June 8, with a variety of pricing options available, including the new Faithful Season Ticket and the new Big Game and Pick 5 Mini-Plans. The priority deadline to arrange payment, retain seats, or participate in new seat selection using athletic department priority points, is Friday, July 15.   

The Wildcats will return a veteran roster in 2016-17 with nine returning lettermen and six players returning with starting experience, highlighted by All-Big 12 Third Team selection Wesley Iwundu and All-Newcomer honorees Barry Brown and Dean Wade. Overall, the squad returns five of their top six scorers from last season, along with nearly 70 percent of their rebounding, assist, steal and minute totals. Iwundu (11.9 ppg., 4.5 rpg.) is the team’s top returner in scoring, assists and steals, while rising senior D.J. Johnson (9.3 ppg., 5.2 rpg.) is the leader among three returning players (along with Iwundu and Wade) who averaged better than 4 rebounds per contest a season ago.

The squad will also be boosted by the return of a healthy Kamau Stokes, who started 20 of the first 21 games in 20-15-16 before a knee injury sidelined him for the rest of the year, as well as the continued development of redshirt freshmen Isaiah Maurice and Dante Williams, who measure at 6-foot-10 and 7-foot, respectively. 

Fans can purchase season tickets in a variety of ways on June 8, 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.

2016-17 Non-Conference Schedule
Nov. 15 OMAHA
Barclays Center Classic (Barclays Center, Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Participating teams: Boston College, Maryland and Richmond
Nov. 25 vs. TBA
Nov. 26 vs. TBA
Dec. 3 @Saint Louis
Wildcat Classic (Sprint Center, Kansas City, Mo.)
Dec. 17 vs. Colorado State [Pepsi Center, Denver, Colo.]
Big 12-SEC Challenge 
Jan. 28 @Tennessee

2016-17 Non-Conference Opponents At A Glance
Western Illinois (Nov. 11)
2015-16 Record: 10-17/3-13 Summit
Head coach: Billy Wright
School Record: 18-37/3rd season
Top Returning Players: 
Garret Covington (17.9 ppg., 4.1 rpg.) // All-Summit League Second Team

Omaha (Nov. 15)
2015-16 Record: 18-14/10-6 Summit
CBI First Round 
Head coach: Derrin Hansen
School Record: 179-152/12th season
Top Returning Players: 
Tra-Deon Hollins (12.4 ppg., 6.0 apg.) // All-Summit League First Team // 
Summit League Defensive Player of the Year

Hampton (Nov. 20)
2015-16 Record: 21-11/13-3 MEAC
NCAA Tournament First Round
Head coach: Edward Joyner, Jr.
School Record: 120-107/8th season
Top Returning Players: 
Lawrence Cooks (7.8 ppg., 3.7 rpg.) 

Robert Morris (Nov. 22)
2015-16 Record: 10-22/8-10 NEC
Head coach: Andrew Toole
School Record: 120-87/7th season
Top Returning Players: 
Isaiah Still (9.9 ppg., 3.8 rpg.) 

Boston College (Nov. 25-26)
2015-16 Record: 7-25/0-18 ACC
Head coach: Jim Christian
School Record: 20-44/3rd season
Top Returning Players: 
Jerome Robinson (11.7 ppg., 4.0 rpg.)

Maryland (Nov. 25-26)
2015-16 Record: 27-9/12-6 Big Ten
NCAA Tournament Sweet 16
Head coach: Mark Turgeon
School Record: 114-59/6th season
Top Returning Players: 
Melo Trimble (14.8 ppg., 4.9 apg.) // Honorable Mention All-American // Two-time All-Big Ten

Richmond (Nov. 25-26)
2015-16 Record: 16-16/7-11 Atlantic 10
Head coach: Chris Mooney
School Record: 203-162/12th season
Top Returning Players: 
T.J. Cline (18.3 ppg., 5.2 rpg.) // All-Atlantic 10 Third Team

Green Bay (Nov. 30)
2015-16 Record: 23-13/11-7 Horizon League
NCAA Tournament First Round
Head coach: Linc Darner
School Record: 23-13/2nd season
Top Returning Players: 
Charles Cooper (13.6 ppg., 5.5 rpg.)

Saint Louis (Dec. 3)
2015-16 Record: 11-21/5-13 Atlantic 10
Head coach: Travis Ford
School Record: 0-0/1st season
Top Returning Players: 
Jermaine Bishop (11.7 ppg., 3.2 apg.) // Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team

Prairie View A&M (Dec. 6)
2015-16 Record: 7-24/7-11 SWAC
Head coach: Byron Smith
School Record: 7-24/2nd season
Top Returning Players: 
Jayrn Johnson (12.4 ppg., 2.7 rpg.) 

Washington State (Dec. 10)
2015-16 Record: 9-22/1-17 Pac-12
Head coach: Ernie Kent
School Record: 22-40/3rd season
Top Returning Players: 
Josh Hawkinson (15.4 ppg., 11.1 rpg.) // Honorable mention All-Pac-12

Colorado State (Dec. 17)
2015-16 Record: 18-16/8-10 Mountain West
Head coach: Larry Eustachy
School Record: 87-48/5th season
Top Returning Player:
Emmanuel Omogbo (10.9 ppg., 8.0 rpg.) // Honorable mention All-Mountain West

Gardner-Webb (Dec. 21)
2015-16 Record: 17-16/10-8 Big South
Head coach: Tim Craft
School Record: 55-46/4th season
Top Returning Players: 
Tyrell Nelson (14.2 ppg., 7.6 rpg.) // All-Big South Second Team

Tennessee (Jan. 28)
2015-16 Record: 15-19/6-12 SEC
Head coach: Rick Barnes
School Record: 15-19/2nd season
Top Returning Player:
Robert Hubbs III (10.6 ppg., 3.9 rpg.)