MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State will renew one of its oldest rivalries in the coming years, as the Wildcats have inked a three-game men’s basketball series with former conference foe Nebraska, starting Saturday, December 19, 2020 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, the schools announced Tuesday (March 31).
The three-game agreement calls for a road game at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska on Saturday, December 18, 2021 and a home game at Bramlage Coliseum on Saturday December 17, 2022.
“This is a nice three-game series for us and a real win-win for both schools,” said head coach Bruce Weber. “(Director of Operations) Drew (Speraw) was looking for a neutral site game at the same time as Nebraska and it just worked out for both parties. We started with the game in Kansas City then added the home-and-home series later. With the shared conference history, the closeness of both campuses and our relationship with Coach (Fred) Hoiberg and his staff, a series like this just makes too much sense.”
The two schools, which played 219 games through five conferences (Missouri Valley, Big Six, Big Seven, Big Eight and Big 12), will reignite a rivalry that started more than 100 years ago with a 50-14 victory by Nebraska on February 19, 1906 and was last played at the Devaney Sports Center on February 23, 2011, a 61-57 Wildcat win.
K-State leads the all-time series, 126-93, including a 19-3 mark in games played in Kansas City. The 219 meetings represent the fourth-longest series in school history, following Kansas (293), Missouri (237) and Iowa State (231).
K-State will host Nebraska in the 11th Wildcat Classic at the Sprint Center in December, which will be the 23rd meeting between the schools in Kansas City and the first since a 62-58 win by K-State in the first round of the 2001 Big 12 Championship on March 8 at Kemper Arena (now Hy-Vee Arena). The Wildcats are 8-2 all-time in Wildcat Classic at the Sprint Center, including wins in 5 of the last 6 games.
This will be the first non-conference games between the schools since the 2001 Big 12 Championship. The teams played 7 times between the first meeting in 1906 and before Nebraska joined the Missouri Valley Conference in 1915. They also played 15 times in the Big Eight Holiday Tournament (1944-77) and 7 times in Big Eight/12 Championship (1979-2001), all in Kansas City.
The Wildcats have won 10 consecutive games against the Huskers in Kansas City, including a 7-0 mark in Big Eight/12 Championship play. The Sprint Center will be the third different Kansas City venue to host the matchup, following Municipal Auditorium (1944-73) and Kemper Arena (1974-2001).
Nebraska is led by a familiar face in former Iowa State player and head coach Fred Hoiberg, who is entering his second season in Lincoln. A two-time All-Big Eight selection for the Cyclones from 1991-95, he led Iowa State to 115 wins, four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and two Big 12 Championships (2014, 2015) from 2010-15 before leaving to become the Chicago Bulls head coach (2015-18).
The Huskers are coming off a transition year in 2019-20, in which, they posted a 7-25 overall record, including a 2-18 mark in Big Ten play with zero returning starters and 14 newcomers.
The Nebraska series is yet another exciting piece to the 2020-21 non-conference slate, which already includes home games with UNLV and in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. K-State has also committed to play in the Cayman Islands Classic, November 23-25, in a field that includes La Salle, Miami (Fla.), Nevada, Northern Iowa, Ole Miss, Oregon State and Western Kentucky.