Wichita State’s move to the American Athletic Conference has made the Shockers an appealing basketball opponent for at least one in-state rival.
Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said he’s open to the idea of scheduling nonconference games against Wichita State.
“It’s a possibility,” Weber said Tuesday at a Catbackers event in Goddard. “We could do it.”
K-State hasn’t played Wichita State since 2003, owning a 20-11 lead in the series, but it has played neutral-court games against Colorado State, Gonzaga and West Virginia at Wichita’s Intrust Bank Arena. It will face Tulsa there next season.
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Maintaining a presence in Wichita is important to Weber, and he thinks it is time to consider future games against the Shockers now that they are in a new league.
“I don’t think there is any doubt it helps them,” Weber said. “But it’s not like being in the Missouri Valley hurt them. Obviously, they are a good program. They have done some spectacular things.”
Many have debated the topic of Wichita State playing regular nonconference games against Kansas and K-State in recent years, but the Jayhawks and Wildcats have shown little interest.
Weber seems open to change, though. He said he has discussed Wichita State options with K-State administrators.
“We have gone back and forth,” Weber said. “I sat down with Gene Taylor and went over scheduling and what we have done in the past. One of the things we had on there was Wichita in the future.”
Taylor, K-State’s athletic director, would support games against Wichita State.
“I don’t know if it’s something we want to do every year,” Taylor said, “but certainly occasionally.”
Weber said he talked to Wichita State coaches about playing a neutral-court game at Kansas City’s Sprint Center a few years ago, but the Shockers already had a game scheduled on the date the Wildcats had in mind.
It remains uncertain what form a new K-State-Wichita State basketball series would take, if it happens at all. A home-and-home series? One game at Sprint Center, one game at Intrust? A lot could depend on what Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall prefers, if a game against K-State suits his scheduling desires.
One thing is for sure: They won’t play next season.
Wichita State has a difficult nonconference slate lined up. It will play in the Maui Invitational and take on Baylor, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
K-State plans to announce its nonconference schedule next week. Weber said its featured games include a road trip to Vanderbilt, Tulsa at Intrust, Washington State (in Spokane), the Big 12/SEC Challenge (opponent to be announced) and the Las Vegas Invitational.
Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett