K-State to Host Ole Miss in Big 12/SEC Challenge

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Kansas State will host Ole Miss as part of the third annual Big 12/SEC Challenge Presented by Sonic on Saturday, January 30 at Bramlage Coliseum, the two conferences announced Thursday afternoon.

The match-up will mark the second time in the past three seasons that the Wildcats have hosted the Rebels in the event, as K-State won the inaugural game in the Challenge, 61-58, over Ole Miss at home on December 5, 2013.

The game will be one of 10 contested between the two leagues for the third consecutive season with ESPN providing coverage of all games on its family of networks. All the contests will occur on January 30 with start times and complete television information to be released at a later date.

The Big 12 has won the first two Challenge series, posting a cumulative 13-7 (.650) record. Overall, the league is 41-27 (.603) in its last three challenge series (vs. Pac-10 and SEC) dating back to 2007.

"The Challenge series provides great competition and exposure for both leagues," said head coach Bruce Weber. "High-quality, non-conference opponents are always hard to find, so to be able host a team like Ole Miss, which has been to the NCAA Tournament twice in the past three seasons, is not only a great opportunity for our team but also gives our fans another terrific home game."

Overall, K-State is 159-147 against teams from the SEC, which includes a 65-64 loss at Tennessee in the second edition of the Challenge last season at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville.

K-State has met at least one SEC opponent in each of the last seven seasons and will now play at least three in 2015-16 as the school will return games with Georgia and Texas A&M. There is a possibility of a fourth match-up, as the Wildcats could face former Big 12 foe Missouri in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic at the Sprint Center, November 23-24.

Ole Miss leads the all-time series, 3-1, including a 1-1 mark in its two previous meetings at Bramlage Coliseum. All four previous match-ups have come since 2000 with the Rebels sweeping a home-and-home series during the 2000-01 and 2001-02 seasons to go with an 86-74 win at the 2009 Puerto Rico Tipoff.

The Wildcats will return seven lettermen, including four players with starting experience, in 2015-16 to go with the influx of at least six newcomers, including Mr. Kansas Basketball Dean Wade (St. John, Kansas/St. John) and NJCAA First Team All-American Carlbe Ervin II (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma/Connors State College). Senior guard Justin Edwards (6.3 ppg., 3.3 rpg.) is the team's top returner in both scoring and steals (37), while junior forward Wesley Iwundu (5.8 ppg., 3.5 rpg.) is the leading returner in rebounding (108), assists (61), blocks (20) and minutes (780).

Ole Miss is set to return nine lettermen and three starters in 2015-16 from a team that posted a 21-13 overall record and advanced to the round of 64 in the NCAA Tournament, where the Rebels lost to Xavier. Among the team's returning starters are first team All-SEC selection Stefan Moody (16.6 ppg., 3.4 rpg.), junior forward Sebastian Saiz (7.6 ppg., 5.5 rpg.) and senior forward Martavious Newby (4.0 ppg., 5.4 rpg.).

The remaining non-conference schedule will be released in the coming weeks.