Kansas State basketball coach Bruce Weber and athletic director Gene Taylor visited Goddard this week for a booster event and said the expected things near the hometown of the Shockers.
Sure, both said, Kansas State is open to playing Wichita State.
Wichita State will return the expected answer. It is also interested in a series. Those are the easy parts.
“I think Bruce is sincere in his words, but everything has to be right,” WSU athletic director Darron Boatright said. “We’ve made it clear we’ll play anyone that is in the best interests of our schedule. K-State would fit that. In saying that, it has to be right for both programs. We make determinations on our program. He has to make determinations on his.”
So that is where the matter gets more difficult — dates, timing, ebbs and flows of programs. Boatright said it is likely too late for 2017-18.
If nothing else, however, it appears there is mutual interest and WSU’s move to the American Athletic Conference helps, Weber said.
Boatright said WSU would consider playing its home game at Intrust Bank Arena, as long as it controls the tickets. The Shockers played schools such as Oklahoma State, Utah, Alabama and Tennessee there in recent seasons and sold out the 15,004-seat downtown arena the past three seasons.
“We’ve used the model with other power-six programs that if it was something to get the deal done, we would play at Intrust Bank Arena,” he said, using the American’s strategic “power-six” reference to place its ambitions alongside conferences such as the Big 12, the SEC and the ACC.
20-11 Kansas State’s series lead over Wichita State
94-86 Kansas State’s 1964 NCAA Tournament win over the Shockers
29-27Score of the 1932 game to open the series between the schools, won by the Shockers in Wichita
A game against the Wildcats at Kansas City’s Sprint Center as part of the series interests Boatright. He is also watching new Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin as he settles in. Martin coached at Missouri State and scheduled the Shockers when he coached Tennessee.
“I think it would be more successful if that aspect of it was in a doubleheader situation (in Kansas City),” he said. “Maybe we could get Missouri to play someone, or Kansas to play someone. Missouri is also someone that we would have a high interest in playing. Cuonzo had no hesitation in playing us when he was at Tennessee. When he gets his program stabilized, we hope it’s something where we can reach out.”
The Shockers are in a strong scheduling situation, one made stronger by its July 1 move to the American.
It is involved in series with Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. A series with Baylor starts on Dec. 2 and the Bears play at Koch Arena on Dec. 1, 2018. Add in WSU’s trip to the Maui Invitational and the Shocker schedule is plenty tough. WSU, Boatright said, needs one more game to complete its non-conference schedule, likely a home game associated with the Maui Invitational.
The addition of Kansas State seems appropriate.
“I don’t badger anybody about scheduling,” he said. “I think (coach Gregg Marshall) and (former Wildcats coach) Frank Martin got very close to getting it done one year. Then Frank was gone the next year. That was as close as its been in the last seven years, that I would have knowledge of.”
Kansas State and Wichita State last played in 2003 to end a four-games series with two games in both cities. The Wildcats lead the series 20-11.
Kansas State will play Tulsa in Intrust Bank Arena this season. It played Colorado State, Gonzaga and West Virginia in previous seasons.