K-State to match Martin versus Huggins

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State's 2011-12 basketball schedule will include games in Wichita and Kansas City against West Virginia and Alabama. The meeting with the Mountaineers will pair former K-State coach Bob Huggins against his former assistant Frank Martin in a matchup between two NCAA Tournament teams and 20-plus victory teams from this past year.

It will be the pupil versus the teacher when Frank Martin's Kansas State Wildcats and Bob Huggins' West Virginia Mountaineers collide during the 2011-12 basketball season.

Mark, circle and star your calendars for Dec. 8, 2011, as the two collegiate basketball powers will meet in the Wichita Wildcat Classic in the INTRUST Bank Arena.

K-State will also play in Kansas City's Sprint Center on Dec. 17, 2011, against NIT finalist Alabama.

The West Virginia game will mark the Wildcats' first regular-season neutral site game in Wichita since playing in the NCAA Tournament in March 1968, and will mark the fourth consecutive season that the Wildcats have played a regular season contest in the KC arena.

"As we strive to have the best fan experience in the Big 12, we want to continue to take K-State to K-State fans whether that's via the internet, via "Sports Extra" or taking our games where our fans can see us play," said KSU athletics director John Currie.

"We have unbelievable support in Manhattan and Bramlage Coliseum, and we're going to have nine Big 12 home games this year, but this is an opportunity to play in a really, really high-level marquee game in the beautiful INTRUST Bank Arena, which will be tremendous for our University."

Overall, it will be the school's 20th all-time contest in Wichita, which includes 15 games against Wichita State and four in the NCAA Tournament. The school's last regular season game in Wichita came in a 79-66 win over the Shockers at the Kansas Coliseum on Dec. 7, 2002.

"As long as we earn the support of our fans, we want to continue to do this in at least one of the two locations every single year," said Currie.

"It gives our fans of south-central and southwestern Kansas, or in the Kansas City area, the opportunity to cheer on coach Frank Martin and our student-athletes, who perhaps otherwise couldn't get to Bramlage Coliseum."

Currie indicated that the format is similar to that of Duke and North Carolina, which annually play games in Greensboro and Charlotte so their fans who cannot get tickets in those sold out arenas the opportunity to see their teams play.

"We want all the people in the state of Kansas to be able to be a part of Kansas State," said Currie. "With K-State's ‘2025 Program,' President (Kirk) Schulz talks about the importance of the leadership responsibility and service responsibility K-State has for the entire state, and we want athletics to be a part of that. To play 16 to 18 games in Manhattan at Bramlage Coliseum, plus one in Wichita and one in Kansas City … that's a pretty good coverage of the state and gives a lot of people the opportunity to be a part of K-State basketball."

In 2012-13 K-State will play Florida in either Kansas City or Wichita, but Currie said that was the only definite game for the future that will be played at a date yet to be determined.

"In all of our sports we want to have a tremendously strong impact in Manhattan … this is our home. But we also want to be visible in the alumni concentrations that are most important to K-State, and those are places like Wichita, Kansas City, Denver, Dallas, and others."

It will be the first meeting between Huggins and Martin, who served as an assistant to Huggins at Cincinnati (2004-05) and K-State for once season before being elevated to head coach on April 6, 2007.

In his only season at K-State in 2006-07, Huggins led the Wildcats to a 23-12 overall record, including a 10-6 mark in Big 12 play, and its first trip to the postseason (NIT) in eight years before returning to his alma mater.

Both teams are coming off 20-win seasons and NCAA Tournament appearances in 2010-11. K-State posted its fifth consecutive 20-win season before losing to Wisconsin in the third round of the NCAA Tournament to conclude its season at 23-11 overall.

West Virginia, just a year off a trip to the Final Four, posted a 21-12 overall record and an 11-7 mark in Big East play. The Mountaineers lost to Kentucky in the third round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament.

The return of the two-game series will be played at the Charleston Civic Center in Charleston, W.Va., in 2012-13 on a date to be determined.

Purple Pride Top Stories