Kansas State University

K-State Q&A: Breaking down the good and the bad of next year's basketball schedule

K-State coach Bruce Weber looks ahead after loss in Elite Eight

K-State coach Bruce Weber looks ahead to next season after his Wildcats lose on March 24, 2018 to Loyola-Chicago in Elite Eight of NCAA Tournament
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K-State coach Bruce Weber looks ahead to next season after his Wildcats lose on March 24, 2018 to Loyola-Chicago in Elite Eight of NCAA Tournament

It's time for another K-State Q&A.

Let's dive right into your questions this week. Thanks, as always, for asking them.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" data-cards="hidden" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The overall non-con basketball slate is much better than last year, but the Bramlage games are underwhelming again. Will it be a ghost town until January again? Also, can we not convince anyone decent to come to Manhattan anymore?</p>&mdash; Brennan Mense (@BrennanMense) <a href="https://twitter.com/BrennanMense/status/1009822603014561793?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 21, 2018</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Here's guessing Bramlage Coliseum will have good enough attendance in November and December to rise above ghost-town status. The place won't be jampacked like it is for KU, but there will be enough of an environment to prevent fans from falling asleep during the first timeout of the second half.

I expect the early crowds to be significantly improved. There are two reasons for this:

1. There is a good deal of fan excitement surrounding this team, which should enter the season ranked in the top 15 with Barry Brown and Dean Wade leading the way.

2. The common fan has at least heard of these opponents.

Kennesaw State, Denver, Eastern Kentucky, Lehigh, Marquette, Tulsa, Georgia State, Southern Miss, George Mason and Texas A&M won't wow anyone, but those teams are a heck of a lot better than the dregs we saw last year — Northern Arizona, American, UC Irvine, Southeast Missouri, UMKC and South Carolina Upstate.

I wrote about K-State's nonconference schedule earlier this week, and I personally think it is a nice upgrade from last season. The Wildcats will likely go from playing several teams with RPIs above 300 to none. A tissue-paper soft nonconference schedule won't hold the Wildcats back next season in the eyes of the NCAA Tournament selection committee. So Bruce Weber accomplished his goal of upgrading the schedule.

But it's far from a perfect schedule. The biggest weakness: no great games at Bramlage. Heck, there are very few games at Bramlage (Kennesaw State, Denver, Lehigh, Georgia State, Southern Miss, George Mason). K-State hasn't played that few home games since the 2011-12 season, Frank Martin's last year as coach. That's less than ideal.

I totally understand why season-ticket holders and general fans want better. I completely agree it would be fun to see K-State play Marquette, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt or Tulsa at home rather than on the road or at neutral sites.

There are a few reasons for this, though. With a strong team returning, the Wildcats were willing to schedule an extra road game against Marquette and lock up the Golden Eagles for a game in Bramlage during the 2019-20 season. Wait a year and Bramlage will get some good games, including Marquette, Tulsa and a SEC foe.

What can be done to improve the home schedule further? That's a tricky one. K-State could eliminate games in KC and Wichita to create room for better games at Bramlage, but people like those games, too. And big-name teams are more willing to play K-State at those sites than they are Manhattan.

Scheduling is hard. Outside the blue bloods, you don't see a ton of great matchups. Home-and-home series are becoming rare. Good teams seem open to playing each other in early tournaments and on neutral courts. But not so much on home courts.

As I have written in this space before, Weber tried to get bigger names to play in Manhattan. Wichita State said no. Nebraska couldn't make it work. Nevada thought the flight schedule was too awkward. Arkansas, Creighton and most of the Big Ten declined. Scheduling isn't easy. There's a reason Weber is in favor of a scheduling alliance with the Big East — it would guarantee K-State a decent home game every other year.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" data-cards="hidden" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">“The End of the Line” is a great song and should be added to the Snyder football rotation, do you agree? What song should be added?</p>&mdash; KSU JEDI (@Bannor95) <a href="https://twitter.com/Bannor95/status/1009953293907431424?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 22, 2018</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

I'm not touching that one.

Even if Bill Snyder sent me a handwritten letter asking for help updating his pregame music choices I would decline. Snyder music is part of what makes him so unique. Hearing songs like "Right Now" and "Stand Up (For the Champions)" makes K-State fans everywhere think about football.

Might as well stick with the same playlist until he retires.

But I might have some suggestions for the next coach.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" data-cards="hidden" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">What do you think the fanbase is more excited for? <a href="https://twitter.com/KStateFB?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@KStateFB</a> or <a href="https://twitter.com/KStateMBB?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@KStateMBB</a>?</p>&mdash; Greg Houser (@BigHouse_Greg) <a href="https://twitter.com/BigHouse_Greg/status/1009825436627603456?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 21, 2018</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Right now, I'm saying basketball. K-State has its best returning team since the Jacob Pullen era, and everyone wants to see if the Wildcats can build on their Elite Eight run.

But, as September approaches, excitement will probably shift to football. Fans will be absolutely pumped for the Mississippi State game.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" data-cards="hidden" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Do you think Shooter got cheated against Gilmore? I mean, there has to be some sort of stroke penalty for Happy&#39;s actions on the course.</p>&mdash; Matt Hall (@Matthew_D_Hall) <a href="https://twitter.com/Matthew_D_Hall/status/1009822984931037184?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 21, 2018</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Happy Gilmore's bizarre scoring at the Tour Championship remains one of the greatest mysteries in the history of cinema.

He enters the back nine on Sunday at 2-under par, trailing Shooter McGavin by 3 strokes. Then he has an incredible meltdown near a water hazard. I just went back and re-watched the scene, and Happy takes four unsuccessful swings at the ball and then knocks it in a pond. That's 5 strokes, and he still needs to take a drop and finish out the hole. Even if he miraculously holes his next shot from the rough for an 8, he's walking away with (at best) a triple-bogey. More likely, he cards a 12.

Esteemed announcer Verne Lundquist was right to surmise "This looks like the end for Happy Gilmore."

Yet, when the camera pans to the leaderboard, Gilmore only drops one shot. He's still 1-under par for the tournament. Huh?

It's bad enough they made Shooter hit the ball off of "Frankenstein's fat foot" on the final hole. But he really should have been complaining about Happy's "bogey" from earlier in the round.

Then again, the scoring for the entire tournament was odd. If Happy Gilmore could drive greens and make putts, as the movie suggests, he should have lapped the field. But he never got lower than 5-under par. So maybe it evened out.

I, for one, am looking forward to the sequel on Netflix in which Shooter gets his shot at revenge on the senior tour.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" data-cards="hidden" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">You and Bob Barker in a fist fight at a Pro-Am. Who wins? If it matters, you are wearing a hockey jersey.</p>&mdash; W.H. Ranch (@buckingood) <a href="https://twitter.com/buckingood/status/1009950439419211776?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 22, 2018</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

It's been a while since Happy Gilmore came out. Bob Barker is now 94 years old. I don't see him getting in any more Pro-Am brawls.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" data-cards="hidden" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Best golfer on the football team?</p>&mdash; Steve Clem (@PvillePastor) <a href="https://twitter.com/PvillePastor/status/1009870054211670016?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 21, 2018</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Good question.

The best golfers from last year's team were Nick Walsh and Matthew McCrane. Not sure who to pick now that they are gone.

Maybe Dalton Schoen? He was a star at baseball, basketball and football in high school. Surely he can break 80, too.

Special email question: Please assign a Super SmashBros. character to each Big 12 football team based on the last 5 years of work — Brice.

Do you have any idea how long I have been waiting for someone to ask me that question?

Well, not that long actually. I can't say I thought about making these comparisons until now. But Super Smash Bros. is one my favorite video games of all time. I still have my old Nintendo 64 and drag it out every now and then to battle against Mario, Luigi, Kirby, Fox and Donkey Kong.

I never got rid of Goldeneye either, but that game isn't nearly as much fun to play today.

My friends and I spent more time than I care to admit playing Super Smash Bros. in high school and even had some epic 99-life games that lasted hours. So, anyway, that's my long way of saying I am prepared to do this.

Oklahoma = Donkey Kong. The only character in the game that can pick you up, carry you to the edge of the battle surface and throw you off. Kind of like what the Sooners have done to the rest of the Big 12 lately.

Oklahoma State = Captain Falcon. Mike Gundy might not recruit as well as his athletic director would like, but he delivers a strong punch when it comes to coaching.

Texas = Kirby. Many assume Kirby is the best, because his floating ability makes it very difficult to send off screen. But he can also be very easy to defeat if used by the wrong coach/player.

Kansas State = Link. A very resourceful character. Lacks some of the powers that the more popular players possess, but he gets by with his sword and unlimited supply of bombs.

West Virginia = Fox. Fast with a laser gun and a deflector shield, this is one of the game's best characters. He is very hard to beat on his home level. But you have to be the aggressor to win with Fox. And he isn't all that good on small levels.

TCU = Pikachu. No one looks forward to playing Pikachu, mostly because he is always saying his name in battle, but also because of his lightning bolts.

Texas Tech = Samus. Kliff Kingsbury's offense is a lot like this character's mega blast. It's fun to shoot and watch, but there's not a whole lot else there.

Iowa State = Yoshi. Fun to play with. You can throw eggs and swallow opponents, but he lacks a great finishing move. And his secondary jump is all over the place. No serious player chooses him.

Baylor = Luigi. It's all fun and games when you are throwing green fireballs at opponents. Not so much when you're trying to jump back on land or attempting any other move.

Kansas = Jigglypuff. It's not impossible to win with him (he can sing you to sleep and ping you off the screen) but it's very hard. Definitely the weakest character in the game.

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