Here are projected starters with TV and radio information for the Kansas State Wildcats vs. the Texas Longhorns Big 12 basketball game on Tuesday at the Erwin Center in Austin.
When/where: 8 p.m., Tuesday, Erwin Center, Austin, Texas
TV/radio: ESPN2, KQAM (1480 AM) in Wichita, KCSP (610 AM) in Kansas City
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About Kansas State (18-5, 8-2 Big 12): The Wildcats have won eight straight conference games and are in the driver’s seat to claim a league championship, up 1 1/2 games on the field entering Monday. They can make it even more difficult for other teams to catch them with a win at Texas. It won’t be easy, but K-State will have revenge on its mind. The Longhorns walloped the Wildcats 67-47 earlier this season at Bramlage Coliseum when K-State was without Kamau Stokes and Dean Wade. Both players are healthy and motivated to lead their team in the rematch. Stokes is coming off a season-high 20 points against Baylor. It will be hard for them to play without Cartier Diarra, who didn’t travel to the game with an injured hand. Diarra has been on a hot streak, coming off the bench and reaching double figures in four consecutive games.
About Texas (14-10, 6-5 Big 12): The Longhorns are also on a hot streak. They have won three of their past four games and have been tough at home all season. Texas has won its last three games in Austin, downing Baylor, Kansas and Oklahoma. The Longhorns are coming off a road win at West Virginia. Shaka Smart’s team has some of the best size in the Big 12 with starting forwards Dylan Osetkowski and Jaxson Hayes creating mismatches against smaller opponents. Kerwin Roach is leading the team in scoring at 14.8 points per game. Bruce Weber recruited Barry Brown and Roach at the same time, but Roach broke off communications with K-State when Brown committed and he ended up at Texas.
Prediction: Texas couldn’t have asked for better timing against K-State. The Longhorns have already beaten the Wildcats by 20 on the road when Kamau Stokes and Dean Wade were out of the lineup with injuries, and they will avoid facing a red-hot Cartier Diarra in the rematch. With both teams at full strength, K-State seemed well positioned to pull off a road upset. But the odds are now tilted toward Texas. The Wildcats will rely on sophomore Mike McGuirl and freshman Shaun Neal-Williams to match Diarra’s recent production. They could really use a good game from McGuirl, who is capable of scoring 18 points. The Longhorns will once again create challenging matchups for the Wildcats inside. Shaka Smart’s team has been tough as nails at home lately, so this game would have been hard for K-State even if Diarra was active. The Wildcats couldn’t overcome injuries against the Longhorns earlier this season, and it will take a special effort for them to do so in the rematch. Texas 69, Kansas State 65.