GAME PREVIEW // 15/13 K-State to Face Montana State in NCAA First Round Friday


15/13 [3-seed] KANSAS STATE (23-9, 11-7 Big 12) vs. [14-seed] MONTANA STATE (25-9, 15-3 Big Sky)

NCAA East Regional First Round

Friday, March 17, 2023 >> 8:40 p.m. CT >> Greensboro Coliseum (20,000) >> Greensboro, N.C.


CBS / March Madness App (link here)

  • Ian Eagle (play-by-play)
  • Jim Spanarkel (analyst)
  • Evan Washburn (sideline reporter)
  • Craig Silver (producer)


Westwood One [link here]

Satellite Radio: Sirius XM Ch. 134 or 202

  • Bill Rosinski (play-by-play)
  • Austin Croshere (analyst)


K-State Sports Network

Flagships: // KMAN 1350 & WIBW 580

Online: Varsity Network [free] / [free]

  • Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play)
  • Stan Weber (analyst)


March Madness



K-State: Jerome Tang [Charter Oak State College ‘07]

Record at K-State: 23-9/1st Year

Career Record: 25-9/1st Year+

  1. Montana State: 0-0 [0-0 at K-State]

Montana State: Danny Sprinkle [Montana State ‘00]

Record at Montana State: 81-42/4th Year

Career Record: 81-42/4th Year

  1. K-State: 0-0 [0-0 at Montana State]


NCAA Tournament [appearance/last]: 37-35 [32nd/2019]

East Regional [appearance/last]: 3-4 [5th/2012]

First Round [East Regional]: 11-6 [2-2]

In Greensboro, N.C./Greensboro Coliseum: 0-1/0-1

As No. 3 seed [appearance]: 0-0 [1st]

  1. No. 14 seed [appearance]: 0-0 [1st]



Overall: K-State leads 2-1

In NCAA Tournament: First meeting

In Greensboro, N.C.: First meeting

Last Meeting: W, 96-73 [11/30/1974]

Active Streak: K-State, 2

Tang vs. Montana State: 0-0 [0-0 at K-State]

Tang vs. Danny Sprinkle: 0-0 [0-0 at neutral site]

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP (Based off the last game)

15/13 Kansas State (23-9, 11-7 Big 12)

G: #1 Markquis Nowell

G: #5 Cam Carter

G: #13 Desi Sills

F: #11 Keyontae Johnson

F: #35 Nae’Qwan Tomlin

Montana State (25-9, 15-3 Big Sky)

G: #0 Caleb Fuller

G: #10 Darius Brown II

G: #11 Tyler Patterson

F: #13 Jubrile Belo

F: #21 RaeQuan Battle



No. 15/13 K-State (23-9, 11-7 Big 12) was rewarded for its outstanding season on Sunday night, as the Wildcats earned their 32nd overall bid to the NCAA Tournament with an at-large selection. The team was selected as the No. 3 seed in the East Regional and will play Big Sky Tournament champion and No. 14 seed Montana State (25-9, 15-3 Big Sky) in the first round at 8:40 p.m., CT on Friday, March 17 at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, N.C. The game will air on CBS with Ian Eagle (play-by-play), Jim Spanarkel (analyst) and Evan Washburn (reporter) on the call. The winner will advance to play either No. 6 Kentucky (21-11, 12-6 SEC) or No. 11 seed Providence (21-11, 13-7 BIG EAST) on Sunday, March 19 at a time to be announced.


  • K-State earned its 32nd NCAA Tournament appearance and first since 2019 after winning 23 games, including 11 in the nation’s top conference – the Big 12 – to finish in a tie for third place. The Wildcats combined for 13 Quad 1 and 2 wins, including 9 vs. Quad 1 competition. The team was one of 9 schools with at least 9 Quad 1 wins, while they tied a school-record with 7 wins against AP Top 25 opponents. This came after being selected 10th in the preseason Big 12 poll. The No. 3 seed is the second highest in school history after the No. 2 seed in 2010.
  • Big 12 Coach of the Year Jerome Tang is one of 7 first-year head coaches in the 2023 NCAA Tournament, including one of 3 first-time coaches, along with Duke’s Jon Scheyer and Fairleigh Dickinson’s Tobin Anderson. His 23 wins rank fifth among first-year coaches behind Scheyer (26-8), Xavier’s Sean Miller (25-9), Fordham’s Kyle Urgo (25-8) and Missouri’s Dennis Gates (24-9). He is the fourth coach to take K-State to the NCAA Tournament in his first year, joining Lon Kruger [20/1986-87], Frank Martin [21/2007-08] and Bruce Weber [27/2012-13].
  • Seniors Keyontae Johnson (17.7 ppg.) and Markquis Nowell (16.8 ppg.) are one of the most prolific tandems, as they combine to average 34.5 points per game to rank fourth among power conferences. They were both selected as Third Team All-Americans by The Associated Press on March 14, becoming the first duo in school history to earn the honor. In all, they are just the eighth and ninth players to earn recognition to the First, Second or Third All-American teams by the AP and the first since Jacob Pullen was named to the Third Team in 2011.
  • Johnson is the comeback story of the year in sports after arriving at K-State in August having not played basketball in nearly 2 seasons since his medical emergency while playing at Florida on Dec. 12, 2020. He has led the Wildcats in both scoring (17.7 ppg.) and rebounding (7.0 rpg.) while scoring in double figures in 31 of 32 games with 9 20-point games and 6 double-doubles. He is a finalist for Naismith and John R. Wooden Awards as well as the Julius Erving Award.
  • A finalist for the Bob Cousy Award, Nowell currently ranks third nationally in both assists per game (7.6 apg.) and total assists (243), while he is in the top-25 in 5 other categories (steals, steals/game, free throws, free throw percentage and minutes/game). He ranks first or second in the Big 12 in an astounding 10 categories, including first in 7 categories.


  • Montana State (25-9, 15-3 Big Sky) enters Friday night riding an 8-game winning streak, including a 3-game sweep in the Big Sky Conference Tournament for the second consecutive season. The Bobcats earned wins over Northern Colorado (84-73), Weber State (60-58) in double overtime and Northern Arizona (85-78) over 4 days to secure its fourth tournament title (1986, 1996, 2022, 2023).
  • Montana State is making its fifth trip (1951, 1986, 1996, 2022, 2023) to the NCAA Tournament, including its second straight after falling to Texas Tech, 97-62, in the first round last season.
  • Montana State is averaging 74.2 points on 46.9 percent shooting, including 33.8 percent from 3-point range, with 33.1 rebounds, 12.5 assists, 6.5 steals and 3.0 blocks per game, while allowing 66.6 points on 42.5 percent shooting, including 34.1 percent from 3-point range. The Bobcats are connecting on 75.9 percent from the free throw line.
  • Montana State ranks among the top-10 nationally in free throws made/game (17.8) and free throws attempted/game (23.4), while is among the best in field goal percentage (46.9). The Bobcats led the Big Sky in both scoring defense (66.6 ppg.) and scoring margin (+7.6), while they were second in 6 others, including field goal percentage defense, steals/game, turnover margin (+1.9) and turnovers forced/game (13.7).
  • Junior RaeQwan Battle paces three Bobcats in double figures at 17.4 points on 46.7 percent shooting, including 34.5 percent from 3-point range, and 83.8 percent from the free throw line. Battle was named First Team All-Big Sky and the Big Sky Tournament MVP after averaging 21 points over 3 games, including 25 in the title game. Senior Jubrile Belo averages 13.0 points on 58.3 percent shooting with team bests in both rebounding (6.1 rpg.) and blocks (1.0 bpg.), while sophomore Great Osobor averages 10 points on 61.7 percent shooting with 4.5 rebounds. Junior point guard Darius Brown II, who was named the Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year, paces the team in both assists (4.8 apg.) and steals (1.8 spg.).
  • Montana State is led by fourth-year head coach Danny Sprinkle, who has an 81-42 (.659) record with consecutive 25-win seasons. A Helena, Mont., native and 2000 graduate of Montana State, he is the Bobcats’ eighth all-time leading scorer, while he was the 1996 Big Sky Freshman of the Year and a 3-time All-Big Sky selection, including First Team in 1997.


  • K-State holds a narrow 2-1 lead in the all-time series with Montana State, winning home games on Dec. 28, 1946 (51-40) and Nov. 30, 1974 (96-73) after losing the first meeting in Bozeman, 45-38, on Dec. 23, 1941.
  • This will be the first meeting in the NCAA Tournament. Although the teams nearly crossed paths in the 1951 NCAA Tournament, as the Bobcats lost to Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State), 50-46, in the first round before the Wildcats knocked off the Cowboys, 68-44, in the semifinals to advance to NCAA Championship and lose to Kentucky.


Date                    Rank     Result   Score     Location

12/23/1941        —/—     L             38-45    Bozeman

12/28/1946        —/—     W          51-40    Manhattan

11/30/1974        —/—     W          96-73    Manhattan


  • No. 15/13 K-State (23-9) will be making its 32nd appearance in the NCAA Tournament and the first under head coach Jerome Tang when the 3-seed Wildcats face 14-seed Montana State (25-9, 15-3 Big Sky) on Friday in the first round of the East Regional at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, N.C.
  • K-State was the No. 11 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, including the third among the four No. 3 seeds (behind Baylor and Gonzaga). The No. 3 seed is the second highest by a Wildcat team since seeding began in 1979 and the highest since the 2010 team was selected as a No. 2 seed.
  • K-State is making its 39th postseason appearance, which includes 32 in the NCAA Tournament and 7 in the Postseason NIT. The program has now advanced to the postseason 12 times in the last 17 seasons (10 trips to NCAA Tournament and two to the NIT). The 32 overall bids rank 22nd nationally, including fourth among Big 12 schools (Kansas [51], Texas [37] and Oklahoma [33]).
  • The program has posted a 37-35 record in NCAA Tournament play, including 11-6 in the first round. The school will be making its fifth appearance (1975, 1989, 1996, 2012) in the East Regional and is 3-4 all-time in the region. This will be second visit to Greensboro, N.C., for the NCAA Tournament after dropping an 86-75 decision to Minnesota in the First Round of the 1989 NCAA Tournament.
  • In K-State’s NCAA Tournament history, the Wildcats have advanced to the Sweet 16 a total of 17 times. The program has also reached the Elite Eight 12 times, made 4 Final Four appearances and played in one National Championship.
  • Tang becomes the 10th coach to lead K-State to the NCAA Tournament dating back to 1948. Tang was part of 10 NCAA Tournament appearances during his stint as an assistant and associate head coach at Baylor, which included 5 trips to the Sweet 16 (2010, 2012, 2014, 2017, 2021), 3 in the Elite Eight (2010, 2012, 2021) and a Final Four and national championship in 2021.
  • Although no K-State players remain from 2019, five players – Jerrell Colbert, Abayomi Iyiola, Keyontae Johnson, David N’Guessan and Desi Sills – have been a part of teams that have advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Johnson (Florida), N’Guessan (Virginia Tech) and Sills (Arkansas) have all played in NCAA Tournament games, including Johnson in 2019, N’Guessan and Sills in 2021 and N’Guessan in 2022. Sills was part of an Arkansas team that advanced to the Elite Eight in 2021.



Below is a timeline on building K-State back from a 14-17 season in 2021-22 to its current 23-9 record and No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Only 2 players (Markquis Nowell and Ismael Massoud) stayed upon Jerome Tang hiring, while a high school signee (Taj Manning) decided to keep his commitment.

  • April 18, 2022 – LSU transfer Jerrell Colbert becomes the first Tang signee.
  • April 20, 2022 – Cam Carter transfers from Mississippi State.
  • May 2, 2022 – Dorian Finister becomes the first high school signee.
  • May 5, 2022 – JUCO All-American Nae’Qwan Tomlin joins the program.
  • June 2, 2022 – David N’Guessan transfers from Virginia Tech.
  • June 15, 2022 – Desi Sills transfers from Arkansas.
  • June 24, 2022 – Abayomi Iyiola transfers from Hofstra.
  • June 30, 2022 – Tykei Greene transfers from Stony Brook.
  • August 20, 2022 – Keyontae Johnson transfers from Florida.
  • August 21, 2022 – JUCO Anthony Thomas joins the program.
  • August 30, 2022 – Peyton Ackerman, Nate Awbrey added as walk-ons.