Kansas State has signed a two-game, home-and-home scheduling agreement in men’s basketball with SEC foe Georgia, the athletics department announced today.
The two schools, which will be meeting for the first time since the 1987 NCAA Tournament, will open the series in Manhattan on Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014 at Bramlage Coliseum before finishing in Athens, Ga., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015 at Stegeman Coliseum. It marks the first time the schools have played a home-and-home series.
“We’re excited about the challenge of playing an opponent like Georgia the next two seasons,” said head coach Bruce Weber. “We really needed a quality home game against a high-major conference opponent for this coming season and we thought they would be a great lead-up game before the start of Big 12 play. They return a majority of their team from one that nearly made the NCAA Tournament, so we will have our work cut out against a quality opponent.”
The 2014 contest will serve as a homecoming for sixth-year Georgia head coach Mark Fox, who is a native of Garden City, Kan., and a former assistant coach at K-State from 1994-2000. During his six-year stint on the coaching staff of head coach Tom Asbury, Fox helped the Wildcats post an 85-88 overall record with three postseason appearances, including a trip to the 1996 NCAA Tournament. Fox’s wife, Cindy, also spent time in the K-State Athletics Department, serving five years as Assistant Athletics Director for Marketing and Senior Woman Administrator.
The series will be just the second and third meetings between the two schools and the first since K-State defeated Georgia, 82-79, in overtime in the NCAA West Regional First Round in Salt Lake City, Utah on March 12, 1987. The Wildcats have met at least one SEC opponent in each of the last six seasons with yet another contest scheduled against the league in 2014-15 as part of the second annual Big 12/SEC Challenge.
Overall, K-State is 158-145 all-time against teams from the SEC, including a 61-58 win over Ole Miss at home on Dec. 5 and a 56-49 loss to Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament on March 21 this past season.
Both teams are coming off 20-win seasons and postseason appearances in 2013-14. K-State advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the school-record fifth consecutive season with a 20-13 overall record – the school’s eighth straight 20-win season – and finished in fifth place in the ultra-competitive Big 12 with a 10-8 mark. Georgia (20-14) collected a 20-win season for the second time in the last four years under Fox and advanced to the second round of the NIT. The Bulldogs finished in a tie for second place in the SEC standings with national runner-up Kentucky with a 12-6 mark.
The Wildcats are expected to return nine lettermen, including five players with starting experience, in 2014-15 to go along with Division I transfers Justin Edwards and Brandon Bolden. The group is headlined by All-Big 12 Second Team selection Marcus Foster (15.5 ppg., 3.2 rpg.) and honorable mention pick Thomas Gipson (11.7 ppg., 6.5 rpg.). Overall, the team returns more than 70 percent of its scoring and 65 percent of its rebounding.
The Bulldogs are set to return their top 5 scorers, including All-SEC Second Team selection Charles Mann (13.9 ppg., 4.2 rpg.). Mann paced the squad in scoring, assists and steals and was third in rebounding, while rising senior Marcus Thornton (8.3 ppg., 6.1 rpg.) led the way in rebounding and blocked shots (1.3 bpg.).
The remaining non-conference schedule will be released in the coming months.
K-State continues to possess one of the top home atmospheres in the country as the Wildcats played in front of an average of more than 12,000 fans for five consecutive seasons at Bramlage Coliseum. The school has won more than 75 percent of its games in Bramlage Coliseum’s 26-year history, including a 115-19 (.858) record over the past eight seasons at home and a 64-3 (.955) mark in non-conference play.
Season ticket for the 2014-15 season go on sale on Monday, June 23 online at www.kstatesports.com or by calling the K-State Athletics Ticket Office at (800) 221.CATS.