K-State Plays Michigan for NIT Season Tip-Off Title

Will Spradling had an all-around peformance vs. Delaware Wednesday with 12 points, seven assists, six rebounds and two steals in 33 minutes.

Nov. 23, 2012

Game NotesLive Stats  |  Live Audio  |  WatchESPN

Game 6
Kansas State (5-0, 0-0 Big 12) vs. 4/4 Michigan (4-0, 0-0 Big Ten)
NIT Season Tip-Off Championship
Friday, November 23, 2012 * 3:30 p.m. CT
New York City, N.Y. * Madison Square Garden (18,200)

Television: ESPN
Mark Kestecher (play-by-play); Dan Dakich (analyst); Doris Burke (analyst)
Internet: WatchESPN.com
Available on Time Warner, Comcast, Verizon and Brighthouse

National Radio: Dial Global Radio Network
Dave Sims (play-by-play); Kelly Tripucka (analyst)
Satellite Radio: Sirius 91/XM 91

Radio: K-State Sports Network
Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play); Stan Weber (analyst)

Live Stats: http://www.ncaa.com/scoreboards/basketball-men/d1/2012/11/23
Live Audio: www.k-statesports.com/allaccess (free)
Twitter Updates: twitter.com/kstate_gameday

K-State vs. Michigan: Michigan 2-1 (2-1 neutral)
vs. Big Ten: 166-148 (27-13 neutral)
Bruce Weber vs. Michigan: 10-7 (2-1 neutral)

rv/rv Kansas State (5-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Head coach: Bruce Weber (Wisconsin-Milwaukee ‘78)
School Record: 5-0 (1st season)  * Career Record: 318-155 (15th season)  * vs. Michigan: 10-7 

4/4 Michigan (4-0, 0-0 Big Ten)
Head coach: John Beilein (Wheeling Jesuit ‘75)
School Record: 101-77 (6th season)  * Career Record: 646-395 (35th season)  * vs. K-State: 0-0

The Game
Kansas State (5-0) will look to capture in-season tournament titles in back-to-back seasons for the first time in 16 years, as the third-seeded Wildcats play top-seed and No. 4/4 Michigan (4-0) for the NIT Season Tip-Off Championship at 3:30 p.m. CT on Friday at Madison Square Garden.  The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN with Mark Kestecher (play-by-play), Doris Burke (analyst) and Dan Dakich (analyst) on the call.  K-State, which is off to a 5-0 start for the second consecutive season, earned its trip to the championship game with a 66-63 win over Delaware in the semifinals on Wednesday, which came after victories over Lamar (79-55) and Alabama-Huntsville (87-26) last week to capture the NIT Season Tip-Off Midwest Regional title.  The win over the Blue Hens was the first in five tries at Madison Square Garden and came despite shooting 38.5 percent from the field, including 33.3 percent from 3-point range. 

Despite the off-night against Delaware, K-State has been still been stellar on both ends of the floor this year, averaging 78.2 percent on 43 percent shooting from the field, while holding its foes to a Big 12-best 50.2 points on 33.9 percent shooting through five games.  The Wildcats came into the week leading the Big 12 in seven categories, including scoring margin, rebounding, turnover margin and assist-to-turnover ratio.  Nine players are averaging at least five points per game, including two in double figures, and nine are also posting at least three rebounds per contest.  The team is averaging 36.6 points from the bench, 32.8 points in the paint, 20 points off turnovers and 16 second-chance points.  This week’s games have been a homecoming for three local New York area players - senior Jordan Henriquez (Port Chester) and juniors Omari Lawrence (Bronx) and Shane Southwell (Harlem) - with all three having played at Madison Square Garden. 

Last Time Out: K-State 66, Delaware 63 (semifinals)
Will Spradling knocked down four free throws in the waning seconds of the game, as Kansas State held off a late charge from Delaware for a 66-63 win on Wednesday night.  The Wildcats seemed to be pulling away down the stretch, building as much as an 11-point lead with under eight minutes to play.  However, the Blue Hens slowly chipped away at the deficit, closing to within 60-58 on junior Devon Saddler’s second 3-pointer with 1:23 to play.  The Blue Hens would close to within a basket on two more occasions, but each time the Wildcats were able to get the ball to their best free throw shooter, Spradling.  He knocked down a pair to give the squad a 64-60 lead with 22 seconds then made it 66-62 on another pair with less than 10 seconds left.  Three Wildcats scored in double figures with Spradling, Angel Rodriguez and Thomas Gipson all chipping in 12 points each.   

Tournament History
The NIT Season Tip-Off is the 42nd in-season tournament that the Wildcats have participated in since 1935, including just the second at Madison Square Garden following the 2007 Jimmy V Classic.  Overall, the school is 124-72 (.631) in-season tournaments, which includes seven Big Six/Seven/Eight Holiday Tournaments [1947, 1950, 1952, 1958, 1960, 1961 and 1963] and eight other titles (1959 Kansas Tournament, 1987 Sun Met Classic, 1990 BMA Holiday Classic, 1993 Hawai’i Nike Festival, 1994 Capital City Classic, 1995 Otis Spunkmeyer Classic, 2007 Las Vegas Holiday Classic and 2011 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic ). 

History in Madison Square Garden
Friday’s championship game will mark just the seventh time that K-State has played in Madison Square Garden with the Wildcats posting a 1-5 mark in those previous visits.  The 66-63 win over Delaware on Wednesday marked the first in program history at the world’s most famous arena.  The first visit came at the original Madison Square Garden, as the squad lost to Holy Cross, 60-54, in the 1948 Final Four on March 23.  The next three games came in the current building (opened in 1968) -- all in the Postseason NIT -- with K-State losing to Kentucky, 81-78, on March 16, 1976 and to Vanderbilt, 82-76, on March 28 and Siena, 92-79, on March 30, 1994.  The last visit came in the 2007 Jimmy V Classic with K-State falling 68-59 to Notre Dame.

The Opponent
Michigan (4-0) will serve as the biggest test to date for K-State, as the fourth-ranked Wolverines return 10 lettermen, including three starters, from a squad that posted a 24-10 overall record and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.  The team earned its way to the championship with a 67-62 win over Pittsburgh in the semifinals on Wednesday, which followed its NIT Season Tip-Off North Regional title with victories over IUPUI (91-54) and Cleveland State (77-47).  The Wolverines have been stellar on both ends of the floor, averaging 83.8 points on 53.9 percent shooting, including 45.7 percent from 3-point range, while holding its opponents to just 56.2 points on 36.7 percent shooting, including just 31.8 percent from beyond the arc.  Five players are averaging in double figures led by All-American candiate Trey Burke, who is averaging 18 points on 46.6 percent shooting to go with a team-best 7.5 assists per game.  Tim Hardaway, Jr., is averaging 17 points on 60 percent shooting and a team-high 6.8 rebounds per game, while Glen Robinson III (13.3 ppg.) and Nik Stauskas (12.0) also average in double figures.  Head coach John Beilein, who has 646 wins in 35 seasons, is 101-77 in his sixth season at Michigan.  This will be the fourth meeting between the two schools with the Wolverines holding a 2-1 record, including an 82-71 Wildcat win at the 2002 Paradise Jam in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.  Head coach Bruce Weber is 10-7 all-time vs. Michigan, including a 2-1 record at neutral sites.

K-State vs. Top 5 Foes
Kansas State will be facing its first ranked opponent of season in No. 4/4 Michigan.  The Wildcats are 92-213 all-time against ranked foes, including 20-65 against teams ranked in the Top 5.  The squad is 2-14 against the AP's No. 4 team, including 13 consecutive defeats.  The only two wins against the nation's No. 4 team came when K-State was ranked in Top 10, as the No. 7 Wildcats defeated No. 4 Long Island, 85-65, on Jan. 31, 1951 and the No. 3 Wildcats knocked off No. 4 N.C. State, 69-67, on Dec. 19, 1958.