K-State to host Ole Miss next season

By The Mercury

The Kansas State men’s basketball team missed out on the opportunity to play Ole Miss this past season in the NCAA tournament.

K-State will get that chance now, as the Wildcats will host Ole Miss next season at Bramlage Coliseum on Dec. 5 — part of the newly announced Big 12/SEC Challenge.

The game will be one of 10 contested between the two leagues with ESPN providing coverage of all games on its family of networks.

The majority of the contests are scheduled for Dec. 2-6 with three taking place outside the four-day series window due to scheduling issues, beginning with the Alabama-Texas Tech game on Nov. 14. Start times and complete TV information will be announced at a later date.

“I’m excited about this new partnership between the Big 12 and SEC,” K-State head coach Bruce Weber said in a release. “Scheduling is one of the more difficult parts of my job and to get a home game against an outstanding opponent as Ole Miss, is a real coup for our program.

“They had a tremendous year in 2012-13 and return one of the best scorers in college basketball in Marshall Henderson, so this will be another great test for our team.”

Ole Miss is coming off one of its best seasons in school history, as the Rebels posted a school-record tying 27 wins en route to the SEC tournament championship and their first trip to the NCAA tournament since 2002. Led by SEC scoring champion and league Newcomer of the Year in Henderson (20.1 ppg.), the squad led the SEC in scoring for the first time in school history at 77.2 points per game. The all-time winningest coach in Ole Miss history, head coach Andy Kennedy has posted 20-plus wins in six of his first seven seasons.

This will be the fourth meeting between K-State and Ole Miss and the first since 2009. The Rebels are 3-0 against the Wildcats, including sweeping a home-and-home series in 2000 and 2001.

Ole Miss won the last meeting, 86-74, in the semifinals of the 2009 Puerto Rico Tip-Off in San Juan, P.R. Ole Miss tallied a 57-46 win over Wisconsin in the NCAA West Regional at Kansas City’s Sprint Center before K-State lost to La Salle, 63-61, in the second round this past March. La Salle then knocked off the Rebels, 76-74, to advance to the Sweet 16.

Led by 2013 Big 12 Coach of the Year Bruce Weber, K-State enjoyed one of its best seasons in 2012-13, posting a 27-8 overall record and 14-4 mark in league play en route to its first-ever Big 12 regular season championship and a fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament.

The Wildcats will return eight lettermen next season — including two starters — highlighted by All-Big 12 honorable mention forward Shane Southwell.

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