K-State announces men's hoops slate

MANHATTAN, Kan. A school-record 12 nationally-televised games, including five contests on ESPN for the first time in school history, highlight the 31-game 2007-08 Kansas State men’s basketball schedule released by athletic department officials on Wednesday.

“We think that we have put together a schedule that is as challenging as any Kansas State team has faced in some time,” said head coach Frank Martin.  “We are going to face at least five teams in the non-conference schedule that advanced to the NCAA Tournament last season plus the always-grueling Big 12 Conference slate.  It’s an exciting time to play teams like this because they are going to be a great experience for our young team and help prepare us for all the challenges that await in conference play.”  

The 12 national games surpass the previous school-record of 10 appearances set last season.  Each of the contests will come on the ESPN family of networks, including five on ESPN, five on ESPN2 and two on ESPNU.  In the past two seasons, the Wildcats have made 22 national appearances on ABC Sports, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU or Fox Sports Net compared to just five the previous six years combined.

The first of five appearances on ESPN will come against Notre Dame in the Jimmy V Classic at historic Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 6 p.m.  The Wildcats will play four Big 12 games on the network, beginning with Texas A&M on Saturday, Jan. 19 at 3 p.m.  The appearances continue with Oklahoma State on Saturday, Feb. 9 at 5 p.m., Texas in a “Big Monday” affair on Feb. 25 at 8 p.m. and Kansas on Saturday, March 1 at 8 p.m.   The team will be making an appearance on “Big Monday” for the second consecutive season and for the 10th overall time dating back to the 1992 season.  

K-State will make the first of up-to five regular-season appearances on ESPN2 on Thanksgiving Day against George Mason at the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla., at 8 p.m.  The Wildcats’ game against either UCF or Villanova will be broadcast on either ESPN2 or ESPNU on Friday, Nov. 23.  The team will then play Oregon on ESPN2 on Thursday, Nov. 29 in the inaugural Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series at 8 p.m.  ESPN2 will also broadcast Big 12 road games against Texas Tech on Wednesday, Feb. 13 at 8 p.m. and Nebraska on Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 8 p.m.   

The team will also make at least two appearances on ESPNU with its match-ups against Xavier at U.S. Bank Arena on Monday, Dec. 31 at 6 p.m. and at Colorado on Wednesday, Jan. 23 at 8 p.m.  

In addition to the national telecasts, Kansas State will have six regular season games broadcast on ESPN Plus as a part of the Big 12 Conference Television network package, beginning with the league opener at Oklahoma on Jan. 12 at 5 p.m.  The network will also televise home games against Kansas on Jan. 30 (7 p.m.), Missouri on Feb. 16 (5 p.m.) and Colorado on March 4 (7 p.m.) as well as road tilts at Missouri on Feb. 2 (12:30 p.m.) and Iowa State on March 8 (3 p.m.)

Kansas State could face up to 14 teams from 10 different conferences and the independent ranks during the non-conference portion of its 2007-08 schedule, including members of the Atlantic 10, Big East, Big Sky, Colonial, Conference USA, Northeast, Pacific-10 and Summit Leagues.  There are four first-time opponents, including George Mason, Sacramento State, Wagner and Winston-Salem State.  

The non-conference slate will provide numerous challenges for Martin’s first squad with appearances in the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla., and Jimmy V Classic in New York City, N.Y., as well as a home game against NCAA Elite Eight participant Oregon in the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series.  In addition, the Wildcats will return to Cincinnati, Ohio, to face reigning Atlantic 10 champion Xavier at U.S. Bank Arena.  Eight of the potential opponents won 16 or more contests during the 2006-07 campaign, while five Florida A&M, Notre Dame, Oregon, Villanova and Xavier advanced to the NCAA Tournament. 

Kansas State opens its 105th season of basketball, including the first under Martin, when the Wildcats host Fort Hays State in an exhibition game on Saturday, Nov. 3.  The season officially gets underway on Friday, Nov. 9 when the squad hosts Sacramento State, which is the first of 16 home games.  The team follows with its first-ever regular season match-up against Pittsburg State on Sunday, Nov. 11 before meeting Western Illinois for the first time since 1982 on Saturday, Nov. 17.  

Kansas State takes its first road trip Thanksgiving Week when the Wildcats travel to Orlando, Fla., to compete in the Old Spice Classic at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex.  The squad opens the tournament against George Mason on Thursday, Nov. 22 at 8 p.m. on ESPN2.  The winner will play the winner of the contest between Villanova and UCF on Friday, Nov. 23 at 4 p.m. on ESPN2.  The losing squads will play at 6:30 p.m. on Friday on ESPNU.  Other teams in the field include N.C. State, Penn State, Rider and South Carolina.  The two teams that remain undefeated throughout the tournament will face off in a championship tilt at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 25, on ESPN2.  There will also be three consolation games beginning at 10 a.m.

K-State completes the month with a home game with Oregon on Thursday, Nov. 29 in the inaugural Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series.  The Ducks, who made a magical run to the Midwest Regional Finals before falling to eventual national champion Florida, return four starters from a squad that posted a 29-8 overall record and won the Pac-10 Tournament title.  It will be the first meeting between the teams since the Wildcats swept a home-and-home series in the 1965-66 and 1966-67 seasons.   

Kansas State will start off December with a highly-anticipated trip to New York City to face Notre Dame in the Jimmy V Classic on Tuesday, Dec. 4 at Madison Square Garden.  It will mark the Wildcats’ first visit to the arena since advancing to the 1994 NIT Final Four and first-ever regular season visit.  The match-up with the Fighting Irish will be the first between the two schools since 1992.              

The Wildcats return home for a string of three consecutive home games beginning with the completion of a home-and-home series with California on Sunday, Dec. 9.  The Bears, who posted their first series win last season in Berkeley, will be making their first visit to Manhattan in school history. 

After taking a break for semester exams, the team will play NCAA Tournament participant Florida A&M on Monday, Dec. 17 at a site to be determined.  University officials are in discussions about moving the home game to the new Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., however, details are yet to be finalized.  The Rattlers, who posted a 21-14 overall record, won the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2006-07.  

Kansas State then returns to Manhattan for home games against first-time opponents Winston-Salem State on Saturday, Dec. 22 and Wagner on Saturday, Dec. 29.

Kansas State concludes 2007 by making its second consecutive trip to Cincinnati in a match-up against Xavier at U.S. Bank Arena on Dec. 31.  The reigning Atlantic 10 champions posted a 25-9 overall record last season and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to eventual national runner-up Ohio State.  The two schools signed a three-year contract in April 2006 to play games at U.S. Bank Arena in 2006-07 and 2007-08 before playing in Manhattan during the 2008-09 campaign. 

The school concludes non-conference play on Monday, Jan. 7 against Savannah State before beginning the Big 12 slate against Oklahoma on Saturday, Jan. 12 at 5 p.m.  The Wildcats, who will be opening league play on the road for the fifth consecutive season, will be looking for their first win at Oklahoma since 1996.  The game marks the first league opener in Norman since the 1973-74 season.    

The Wildcats begin the home portion of their conference slate against NCAA Sweet 16 participant Texas A&M on Saturday, Jan. 19 at 3 p.m. on ESPN.  The Aggies will be the first of six games against five league foes that advanced to either the NCAA Tournament or NIT in 2006-07.      

Following the home opener, Kansas State hits the road in conference play on Wednesday, Jan. 23 with a nationally-televised game against Colorado at 8 p.m. on ESPNU.  The team then returns to Manhattan to finish off the month with back-to-back home games against Iowa State on Saturday, Jan. 26 and archrival Kansas on Wednesday, Jan. 30 at Bramlage Coliseum.

The Wildcats begin the all-important month of February with a road game against Missouri on Saturday, Feb. 2.  The squad has won two of the last three meetings with the Tigers in Columbia, including an 85-81 victory last season.  The team then follows with consecutive home games against Nebraska on Wednesday, Feb. 6 and Oklahoma State on Saturday, Feb. 9.   

A stretch of three road tilts in four games begins on Wednesday, Feb. 13 against NCAA Tournament participant Texas Tech at 8 p.m. on ESPN2.  After a home game against Missouri on Saturday, Feb. 16, the Wildcats face road tests at Nebraska on Wednesday, Feb. 20 and Baylor on Saturday, Feb. 23. 

K-State returns home on Monday, Feb. 25 with a match-up against NCAA Tournament participant Texas as a part of a “Big Monday” affair on ESPN.  It marks the third straight season that the clash between the Wildcats and Longhorns has been broadcast on national television with each team taking a one-point win on the other’s home court the past two seasons.  Last year, K-State earned a 73-72 win over Texas on ABC Sports to earn its first win over a ranked league foe on the road since 1996.

The team starts the month of March with a road contest at Kansas on Saturday, March 1 in a game broadcast nationally on ESPN at 8 p.m.  The Wildcats conclude the home schedule with a Senior Night affair against Colorado on Tuesday, March 4 at 7 p.m. before finishing the regular season at Iowa State on Saturday, March 8 at 3 p.m.  Last season, K-State earned its first win in Ames since 1998-99 season with a 69-60 victory at Hilton Coliseum.           

The 12th annual Phillips 66 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship runs from Thursday, March 13 to Sunday, March 16 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas State returns a pair of starters and seven lettermen from the 2006-07 season, which produced a 23-12 overall record and a fourth-place finish in the Big 12 with a 10-6 mark.  It marked the school’s first 20-win season since the 1998-99 season and most overall wins since the Wildcats collected 25 en route to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament in 1987-88.  The squad also received an invitation to the postseason for the first time in seven seasons, as the Wildcats advanced to the second round of the Mastercard NIT before falling to DePaul. 

In addition to the returning lettermen, the school will also be armed with one of the nation’s top recruiting classes (No. 2 by Rivals.com and No. 5 by ESPN and Scout.com) and includes consensus No. 1 high school recruit Michael Beasley (Notre Dame (Mass.) Prep/Washington, D.C.), who recently led the USA Basketball U19 team to a silver medal at the FIBA World Championships in Novi Sad, Serbia.

K-State will release details of the Florida A&M game, the times for the remaining home games and the FSN Midwest television schedule at a later date.  FSN is contracted to televise at least 10 contests. 

After setting school records for season ticket sales (13,000) last season, sales have continued to be steady with over 11,500 public and student tickets already on order.  The Wildcats finished just out of the top-25 in home attendance in 2006-07 with an average attendance of 12,301 for 17 home games. 

For ticket information, call the Athletic Ticket Office at (800) 221.CATS or go online to www.k-statesports.com.