MANHATTAN, Kan. Four nationally-televised games, including a pair of regular season contests on ABC Sports for the first time in school history, highlight the 30-game 2006-07 Kansas State men’s basketball schedule released by athletic department officials on Wednesday.
In addition, the Wildcats have been selected to appear twice on the ESPN ''Big Monday'' slate with games in Bramlage Coliseum against Texas Tech and Kansas.
“We are obviously excited about the exposure all these television opportunities give our program,” said head coach Bob Huggins. “I think every kid in America wants to see their team showcased on national television for their family and friends back home. Now that we have these opportunities, we need to continue to prepare ourselves for the challenges that we will face in the upcoming season.”
The four national games equal the 1982-83 team for the second-most televised appearances by a Kansas State squad. The 1989-90 squad was featured five times.
K-State will play its first game on ABC Sports in nearly 20 years on Saturday, Feb. 3 when the Wildcats face reigning Big 12 co-champion Texas in Austin at 2:30 p.m. The Wildcats' other appearance on the network will be at Saturday, March 3, as they entertain Oklahoma in Bramlage Coliseum at 2:30 p.m. K-State has played just one contest on ABC Sports in its history, losing the Big Eight Tournament final to Oklahoma on March 13, 1988.
Kansas State will be making its first appearance on ESPN’s “Big Monday” telecast since the 2001-02 season with its home games against Texas Tech on Jan. 8 and Kansas on Feb. 19. It will be the Wildcats’ eighth and ninth appearances on “Big Monday” dating back to the 1992 season and the first since losing to Kansas on Feb. 4, 2002. K-State’s last contest on ESPN came on March 6, 2004 when the Wildcats upset No. 10 Texas, 58-48, in Bramlage Coliseum.
In addition to the national telecasts, Kansas State will have nine regular season games broadcast on ESPN Plus as apart of the Big 12 Conference Television network package, beginning with the league opener at Texas A&M on Jan. 6. The network will also televise road games at Missouri on Jan. 13 (3 p.m.), Iowa State on Jan. 20 (12:30 p.m.), Kansas on Feb. 7 (8 p.m.), Colorado on Feb. 24 (3 p.m.) and Oklahoma State on Feb. 27 (8 p.m.) as well as home games against Missouri on Jan. 31 (8 p.m.), Colorado on Feb. 10 (5 p.m.) and Iowa State on Feb. 17 (5 p.m.).
“I think this will be a challenging schedule for our players,” Huggins said. “I think playing the four road games plus the games in the Las Vegas Holiday Classic and the contest with Xavier in Cincinnati will give our team the opportunity to prove themselves against some quality competition. These non-conference games will also prove to be vital in helping prepare us for an always-tough Big 12 schedule.”
Kansas State will face up to 14 teams from eight different conferences and the independent ranks during the non-conference portion of its 2006-07 schedule, including members of the Atlantic 10, Missouri Valley, Mountain West and Pacific-10 Conferences. There are five first time opponents, including Chicago State, Cleveland State, Kennesaw (Ga.) State, Maryland-Eastern Shore and William & Mary.
The non-conference slate will provide numerous tests for Huggins' first squad with seven games to be played away from Bramlage Coliseum, the most by the Wildcats since playing eight during the 1989-90 season. The road schedule is highlighted by a pair of games at the Las Vegas Holiday Classic and a neutral-site contest against Xavier at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati. Eight of the potential opponents won 16 or more contests during the 2005-06 campaign, while three California, Wichita State and Xavier advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
Kansas State opens its 104th season of basketball, including the first under Huggins, when the Wildcats host William & Mary on Saturday, Nov. 11. The team follows with Tennessee Tech on Saturday, Nov. 18 before making its first road trip to New Mexico on Tuesday, Nov. 21. It will be the Wildcats’ first visit to Albuquerque since 1960, as the squad returns a game they won in Manhattan last season, 68-56.
K-State completes the month with a home game against Coppin State on Saturday, Nov. 25 before heading to California on Wednesday, Nov. 29. The Wildcats are 5-0 all-time against the Bears, including 2-0 on the road in the series, but it will be the team’s first visit to the Berkeley campus since 1958.
Kansas State will start off December with two of its first three games on the road, beginning Saturday, Dec. 2 at Colorado State. The Wildcats are winless in four meetings with the Rams in Fort Collins, but this will be their first visit to CSU campus since 1945. After a home game against Cleveland State on Tuesday, Dec. 5, the squad will make their first-ever visit to the state of North Dakota where they will meet North Dakota State in Fargo on Saturday, Dec. 9.
The program will make one of its most highly-anticipated trips in mid-December, as the Wildcats will play in the Las Vegas Holiday Classic from Dec. 17-23. It will be just the third trip to Las Vegas in school history and the first for a tournament since playing in the Running Rebel Classic in December 1984.
The first two contests of the tournament will be at home against Kennesaw (Ga.) State on Sunday, Dec. 17 and Maryland-Eastern Shore on Tuesday, Dec. 19 before traveling to Las Vegas for two additional games. The Wildcats will play USC, coached by former Iowa State coach Tim Floyd, on Friday, Dec. 22 before playing either a rematch with New Mexico or state rival Wichita State on Saturday, Dec. 23. K-State and WSU have not met since 2003 and a match-up would yield the first meeting outside the state of Kansas.
Kansas State begins the new year by making its first trip to Cincinnati since the 1996-97 season in a match-up against Xavier at U.S. Bank Arena on Jan. 3. The reigning Atlantic 10 Tournament champions return four of its top five scorers and will add former Oklahoma guard Drew Lavender to its lineup. The two schools signed a three-year contract in April to play two games at U.S. Bank Arena in the next two seasons before playing in Manhattan during the 2008-09 campaign.
The always-difficult Big 12 schedule begins for Kansas State on Saturday, Jan. 6, as the Wildcats open conference play on the road for the fourth consecutive season against NCAA Tournament participant Texas A&M at 7 p.m. The game marks the first league opener for K-State in College Station since the 2000-01 season. The contest is the first of seven games against six league foes that advanced to either the NCAA Tournament or NIT in 2005-06.
The Wildcats begin the home portion of their conference slate with their first “Big Monday” telecast in five years against Texas Tech on Monday, Jan. 8 at 9 p.m. before traveling to Missouri on Saturday, Jan. 13. The team then finishes off the month of January with four of their next five games at home beginning with Baylor on Wednesday, Jan. 17. A trip to Iowa State on Saturday, Jan. 20 precedes three straight home contests against non-conference foe Chicago State on Monday, Jan. 22, Nebraska on Saturday, Jan. 27 and Missouri on Wednesday, Jan. 31.
Kansas State begins the all-important month of February with back-to-back road trips to reigning Big 12 co-champions Texas and Kansas. The game against the Longhorns on Saturday, Feb. 3 will be the Wildcats’ first-ever regular season appearance on ABC Sports. Following the game with the Jayhawks in Lawrence on Wednesday, Feb. 7, the Wildcats return home to host Colorado on Saturday, Feb. 10.
The team hits the road for a game at Nebraska on Tuesday, Feb. 13 before back-to-back home games against Iowa State on Saturday, Feb. 17 and a “Big Monday” affair with Kansas on Monday, Feb. 19. It will mark the sixth time the Jayhawks and Wildcats have matched up on a “Big Monday” telecast, including a memorable upset of No. 1 Kansas on Jan. 17, 1994.
After back-to-back road games at Colorado on Saturday, Feb. 24 and Oklahoma State on Tuesday, Feb. 27, K-State concludes the regular season at home against NCAA Tournament participant Oklahoma on Saturday, March 3. The game will mark the second appearance for the Wildcats on ABC Sports.
The 11th annual Phillips 66 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship runs from Thursday, March 8 to Sunday, March 11 at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City, Okla.
Kansas State could return up to four starters and nine lettermen, including its top four scorers, from the 2005-06 season, which produced a 15-13 overall record and a 6-10 mark in Big 12 play. However, the Wildcats were close in many contests, ranking third nationally with nine losses by five points or less.
K-State still has one non-conference game to add to its schedule and wiill announce that contest and its exhibition slate at a later date. Also, times for the remaining games and the FSN Midwest television schedule will be distributed at a later date. FSN Midwest is contracted to televise at least 10 contests.
Season ticket sales have skyrockered since the hiring of Huggins with nearly 10,000 public and student tickets already on order. For ticket information, call the K-State Athletic Ticket Office at (800) 221.CATS or go online to www.k-statesports.com.