MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State has signed a two-game, home-and-home scheduling agreement in men’s basketball with BIG EAST foe Marquette, the two athletics departments announced today (May 3).
The two schools will open the series in Milwaukee at the brand-new Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center on Saturday, December 1, 2018 before finishing at Bramlage Coliseum on a date to be determined in December 2019. It marks the first time the schools have played since a 78-57 Wildcat win at Kemper Arena in Kansas City on Jan. 3, 1988, while it is the first home-and-home series since the 1985-86 and 1986-87 seasons.
“We’re excited about playing this home-and-home series with a team of Marquette’s caliber the next two seasons,” said head coach Bruce Weber. “Obviously, it will be another challenging game for us, especially on the road, as they return nearly their entire team from one that almost made the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NIT. But it will great to bring them back home to Bramlage Coliseum in 2019.”
The schools have a long history with the 2018 meeting serving as the 11th meeting in a series that dates back to 1953. K-State owns a 7-3 advantage in the series, including four consecutive wins (1984, 1986, 1987 and 1988), while Marquette has won three of five all-time games played at home. This will be the first meeting in Milwaukee since an 85-84 win by the Wildcats at MECCA Arena on Jan. 7, 1987.
The schools also share unique parallels as K-State hired future Hall of Fame head coach Fred “Tex” Winter in 1953 after a two-year stint at Marquette (1951-53), including leading the then-Warriors to the 1952 National Catholic League Championship. The Golden Eagles defeated the Wildcats, 67-66, in the NCAA Midwest Regional semifinals en route to winning the 1977 NCAA Championship under famed head coach Al McGuire.
The game at the new 17,500-seat Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center in December will be a homecoming for seventh-year head coach Bruce Weber, who is a native of Milwaukee and is a 1978 graduate of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. This will be Weber’s first-ever meeting with Marquette as a head coach.
Both teams are coming off 20-win seasons and postseason appearances in 2017-18. K-State (25-12) earned its second consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament and eighth in 12 seasons where the Wildcats defeated Creighton, UMBC and Kentucky to advance to its 12th Elite Eight and cap a 25-win season. Marquette (21-14) collected a 20-win season for the second time in the last three seasons under head coach Steve Wojciechowski and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NIT, where the squad lost to eventual champion Penn State. The Golden Eagles finished in a sixth-place tie with Butler in the BIG EAST standings with a 9-9 mark.
K-State is expected to return 11 lettermen in 2018-19, including all six players who earned starts this past season, including All-Big 12 selections Dean Wade (16.2 ppg., 6.2 rpg.) and Barry Brown, Jr. (15.9 ppg., 3.1 rpg.). Wade and Brown were among the top scoring tandems in the country, ranking seventh and eighth, respectively, in scoring in the Big 12 and accounting for nearly 44 percent of the team’s scoring. Brown scored in double figures in a team-best 29 games, just one ahead of Wade’s 28, while the two combined for 22 20-point games.
The Wildcats also return rising juniors Xavier Sneed (11.1 ppg., 5.1 rpg.) and Makol Mawien (6.8 ppg., 3.4 rpg.) as well as point guards, senior Kamau Stokes (9.0 ppg., 3.4 apg.) and sophomore Cartier Diarra (7.1 ppg., 2.0 apg.). Sneed averaged 13.8 points and 7.0 rebounds in the Wildcats’ four-game run in the NCAA Tournament en route to earning NCAA South Regional All-Tournament honors with Brown.
The Golden Eagles are set to return 10 of 11 lettermen in 2018-19, including All-BIG EAST Second Team selection Markus Howard (20.4 ppg.), who was one of four BIG EAST players to average 20 or more points this past season, and fellow junior guard/forward Sam Hauser (14.1 ppg., 5.7 rpg.). Howard, who scored a school-record 52 points in a win over Providence in early January, posted 17 20-point games and five 30-point efforts as a sophomore. Hauser led the team in both rebounding and steals (1.0 spg.), was second in assists (2.9 apg.) and third in scoring.
The full non-conference slate, as well as 2018-19 season ticket plan details, will be released in the coming weeks.