K-State To Play Ole Miss in Big 12/SEC Challenge

Rising senior Will Spradling is one of eight returning lettermen for K-State in 2013-14.

May 14, 2013

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Big 12 champion Kansas State will host Ole Miss as part of the newly-announced Big 12/SEC Challenge on Thursday, Dec. 5 at Bramlage Coliseum.

The game will be one of 10 contested between the two leagues beginning in 2013-14 with ESPN providing coverage of all games on its family of networks. The majority of the contests are scheduled for Dec. 2-6 with three taking place outside the four-day series window due to scheduling issues, beginning with the Alabama-Texas Tech game on Nov. 14. Start times and complete television information will be announced at a later date.

“I’m excited about this new partnership between the Big 12 and SEC,” said head coach Bruce Weber. “Scheduling is one of the more difficult parts of my job and to get a home game against an outstanding opponent as Ole Miss, is a real coup for our program. They had a tremendous year in 2012-13 and return one of the best scorers in college basketball in Marshall Henderson, so this will be another great test for our team.”

Ole Miss is coming off one of its best seasons in school history, as the Rebels posted a school-record tying 27 wins en route to the SEC Tournament Championship and their first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2002. Led by SEC scoring champion and league Newcomer of the Year Marshall Henderson (20.1 ppg.), the squad led the SEC in scoring for the first time in school history at 77.2 points per game. The all-time winningest coach in Ole Miss history, head coach Andy Kennedy has posted 20-plus wins in six of his first seven seasons.

This will be the fourth all-time meeting between K-State and Ole Miss and the first since 2009. The Rebels are 3-0 all-time against the Wildcats, including sweeping a home-and-home series in 2000 and 2001. Ole Miss won the last meeting, 86-74, in the semifinals of the 2009 Puerto Rico Tip-Off on Nov. 20 in San Juan, P.R. The two teams nearly met in the NCAA Tournament in 2013 with both earning bids to the NCAA West Regional at Kansas City’s Sprint Center. Ole Miss tallied a 57-46 win over Wisconsin before K-State lost to La Salle, 63-61, in the second round on March 22. The Explorers then knocked off the Rebels, 76-74, to advance to the Sweet 16.

Led by 2013 Big 12 Coach of the Year Bruce Weber, Kansas State enjoyed one of its best men’s basketball seasons in 2012-13, posting a 27-8 overall record and 14-4 mark in league play en route to its first-ever Big 12 regular season championship and a fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament. The 27 wins were the second-most in school history, while the 14 in league play tied the school record held by the 1958-59 team. The league championship was the 18th in school history and the first since the 1976-77 season. 

The Wildcats will return eight lettermen in 2013-14, including two starters, highlighted by All-Big 12 honorable mention honoree Shane Southwell.