The Kansas State basketball team will face a more challenging schedule than usual before conference play begins next season.
K-State’s nonconference slate of games includes matchups against UNLV, Marquette, Mississippi State, Saint Louis, Tulsa and a trip to the Fort Myers Tipoff with Northwestern and Pittsburgh.
The Wildcats will also play a to-be-determined opponent from the SEC on the road in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Jan. 25.
That lineup, at least on paper, appears to be an upgrade from some of the nonconference schedules K-State coach Bruce Weber has arranged in the past.
“We feel this is a challenging non-conference schedule especially for such a new, young team,” Weber said. “We have veterans who have been in big games, but now have to change roles, to go with some new guys who have to step up to a new level. At the end of the day, the schedule has a good balance of home games to go with some road and neutral site opportunities to help in their development.”
The schedule includes four teams that reached the NCAA Tournament last season.
K-State will play seven (plus two exhibition games) of them at home, four at neutral sites and two on the road.
K-State will open the 2019-20 basketball season on Nov. 5 against North Dakota State and then play a true road game four days later at UNLV. Then it will return home for games against Monmouth and Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
The Wildcats will head to Florida on Nov. 25 for the Fort Myers Tipoff, which also includes Pittsburgh, Bradley and Northwestern. The championship and third-place games at the event will be played on Nov. 27.
When December arrives, K-State will host Florida A&M, Marquette and Alabama State. The home game against Marquette should be one of the most anticipated nonconference games at Bramlage Coliseum in quite some time.
The Golden Eagles won 24 games last season and return a team that could finish near the top of the Big East standings.
K-State will finish off its nonconference schedule with a neutral-site game against Mississippi State on Dec. 14 at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. Then it will play Saint Louis a week later at Sprint Center.
The Wildcats will then host Tulsa on Dec. 29.
“With the build of our team, we wanted a road game early to show the young guys a glimpse of what they are going to face in the Big 12,” Weber said. “The Fort Myers field is really solid with teams from the ACC, Big Ten and Missouri Valley. Obviously, it will be exciting to get a really strong opponent at home in Marquette, which is returning one of the best players in the country – Markus Howard – in the inaugural Big 12/BIG EAST series.”
“Then to wrap up against one of the top teams in the SEC in Mississippi State at a neutral site, another NCAA Tournament caliber team in Saint Louis for our annual Sprint Center game and to host a quality team like Tulsa – which has beaten us the last two years – should provide valuable experience for our guys.”
K-State’s nonconference basketball schedule for 2019-20
Oct. 25 -- Emporia State (Exh.)
Oct. 30 -- Washburn (Exh.)
Nov. 5 -- North Dakota State
Nov. 9 -- at UNLV
Nov. 13 -- Monmouth
Nov. 19 -- Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Nov. 25 -- Fort Myers Tipoff
Nov. 27 -- Fort Myers Tipoff
Dec. 2 -- Florida A&M
Dec. 7 -- Marquette
Dec. 11 -- Alabama State
Dec. 14 -- vs. Mississippi State (Newark, N.J.)
Dec. 21 -- vs. Saint Louis (Sprint Center)
Dec. 29 -- Tulsa
Jan. 25 -- Big 12/SEC Challenge
Times and TV will be announced at a later date