Another piece of Kansas State men’s basketball’s 2021-22 schedule fell into place Wednesday, as the Big 12 and SEC announced the matchups in the annual series between the two leagues.
Next season, K-State will hit the road to square off against Ole Miss in Oxford, Miss., on Jan. 29, 2022.
It will be the sixth time the Wildcats will face the Rebels, with Ole Miss holding a 3-2 edge in the series. K-State lost its only previous road matchup versus Ole Miss, falling 60-46 in Oxford on Dec. 5, 2000.
“The Challenge series has been a great success for both leagues with competitive games year-in, year-out,” K-State head coach Bruce Weber said in a release.
“The winning conference always comes down to one of the last few games played and 2022 should be no exception.
“Ole Miss is a quality non-conference opponent for us, led by a veteran head coach in Kermit Davis.”
The SEC won the series, 5-4, last season, with one game canceled (Texas at Kentucky) because of coronavirus protocols. The Big 12, however, still owns a 44-35 (.557) advantage in the all-time series; it has won the challenge four times (2014, 2015, 2016, 2019).
All 10 games in next season’s event will air on either ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU. Tipoff times and broadcast information will be announced later.
The Wildcats will try to notch their third victory in a row against the Rebels to even the all-time series. Ole Miss won each of the first three meetings, which include a sweep of a home-and-home series spanning the 2000-01 and 2001-02 seasons. The Rebels then topped the Wildcats, 86-74, in the quarterfinals of the Puerto Rico Tipoff on Nov. 20, 2009.
Since then, K-State has posted back-to-back wins over Ole Miss, with both games part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge. The Wildcats won 61-58 at Bramlage Coliseum on Dec. 5, 2013, and followed that up with another victory (69-64) in Manhattan on Jan. 30, 2016.
Those mark two of the Wildcats’ three wins in the Big 12/SEC Challenge, as they are 3-5 in the event all time; K-State has never won on the road in the challenge series. The Wildcats have lost three consecutive outings against SEC foes, losing to Texas A&M in 2019 and 2021 and Alabama in 2020.
To end that skid, they will have to outwit Davis, who has more than 500 victories during a career that includes stops at Texas A&M, Idaho and Middle Tennessee State.
Ole Miss brings back seven lettermen from last season, including starters Jarkel Joiner (12.0 points per game) and Luis Rodriguez (7.6 ppg., 6.3 rebounds per game). The Rebels finished 16-12 (10-8 SEC) last season and earned a spot in the NIT.
Ole Miss welcomes seven newcomers in 2021-22, with four freshmen joining transfers Jaemyn Brakefield (Duke), Nysier Brooks (Miami, Fla.) and Tye Fagan (Georgia).
K-State returns four of its top-five scorers from last season, a group that includes super senior Mike McGuirl and rising sophomores Davion Bradford, Selton Miguel and Nijel Pack.
McGuirl, who started all 29 games in 2020-21, led the Wildcats in assists (3.6) and steals (1.0) per game while his 11.8 points per game ranked second. Pack was tops on the team in scoring (12.7 points per game), becoming the first true freshman to accomplish that feat since 2013-14. Five new faces join the fold: three transfers (Mark Smith from Missouri, Markquis Lowell from Arkansas-Little Rock and Ismael Massoud from Wake Forest) and a pair of freshmen (Maximus Edwards and Logan Landers).
Wednesday’s announcement of the Ole Miss contest is the latest part of K-State’s 2021-22 slate to be revealed. The Wildcats will host Marquette on Dec. 8 in a game that is part of the Big East/Big 12 Battle, while they also will be part of the field at the Hall of Fame Classic at the T-Mobile Center along with Arkansas, Cincinnati and Illinois. Next season’s schedule also includes road games against Nebraska and Wichita State.
“(Ole Miss) will be yet another road challenge that already includes Nebraska and Wichita State and the Hall of Fame Classic on a neutral court in Kansas City,” Weber said. “This is a great opportunity for our team.”
Big 12/SEC Challenge matchups
• Baylor at Alabama
• Missouri at Iowa State
• Kentucky at Kansas
• K-State at Ole Miss
• Oklahoma at Auburn
• Okla. State at Florida
• LSU at TCU
• Tennessee at Texas
• Miss. State at Texas Tech
• W. Virginia at Arkansas