Kansas State: Bruce Weber (Wis.-Milwaukee ’78)
Overall: 415-223/20th season
At K-State: 102-68/6th season
- UC Irvine: 0-0
UC Irvine: Russell Turner (Hampden-Sydney ‘92)
Overall: 141-106/8th season
At UC Irvine: Same
- Kansas State: 0-0
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP
Kansas State (2-0)
G: #3 Kamau Stokes
G: #5 Barry Brown, Jr.
G: #20 Xavier Sneed
F: #32 Dean Wade
F: #1 Mawdo Sallah
UC Irvine (2-1)
G: #2 Max Hazzard
G: #14 Evan Leonard
F: #11 John Edgar, Jr.
F: #42 Tommy Rutherford
F: #5 Jonathan Galloway
Overall: First meeting
In Manhattan: First meeting
Last Meeting: n/a
Weber vs. Turner: First meeting
- Kansas State (2-0) begins play in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational with a game against reigning Big West champion and preseason favorite UC Irvine (2-1) on Friday at Bramlage Coliseum. It will be the first of two home games for the Wildcats in the tournament, which includes Northern Arizona (0-2) on Monday, before they travel to Las Vegas for the main draw against the likes of Arizona State (2-0), George Washington (1-1) and No. 15/17 Xavier (2-0), Nov. 23-24, at the Orleans Arena.
- Friday’s game continues a busy stretch for the Wildcats, who are in the midst of playing six games in a 15-day stretch to start the season. Following Monday’s game, K-State will travel to Las Vegas to play Pac-12 foe Arizona State on Thanksgiving Day before a matchup with either George Washington or Xavier on Friday. It marks the school’s second appearances in the Las Vegas Invitational and the first since 2008.
- The Wildcats will face their biggest test to date against the Anteaters, who are among just 22 Division I teams to win at least 21 games each of the last five seasons. Led by two-time Big West Coach of the Year Russell Turner who has won 116 games since 2012-13, UC Irvine has won or shared the Big West regular-season title in three of the last four seasons with five consecutive postseason appearances. This will be the first meeting between the schools on the hardwood, while K-State is 15-4 (.789) all-time against the Big West, including 9-2 (.818) at home.
- K-State is attempting to start 3-0 for 13th time in the last 15 seasons, including the third consecutive season. The Wildcats have started 3-0 or better 12 times in the last 14 seasons with the exception being the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons when the squad started 2-1. K-State has started 3-0 at home 13 times in last 14 seasons, including three straight years. Last season, the team started the season 5-0 (with an 11-2 non-conference mark) before suffering their first loss to No. 23 Maryland.
- The Wildcats have won 18 consecutive games against non-conference opponents in home venues (17 at Bramlage Coliseum). Overall, the school has a 91-5 (.948) record at home venues in non-conference play since 2006-07, including 84-5 (.944) at Bramlage Coliseum, and has won 78 of their last 81 non-conference home games.
- K-State moved to 2-0 on the season for the 14th time in the last 15 seasons with a 72-51 win over UMKC on Tuesday. The Wildcats used a strong defensive effort to hold the Kangaroos to 26.0 percent shooting (13-of-50), including 28.6 percent (8-of-28) from 3-point range, to earn their 18th win in 19 tries vs. UMKC. K-State also dominated the paint, using a 46-28 advantage on the boards to post a 32-4 edge in points in the paint. Juniors Dean Wade (11 points/8 rebounds) and Mawdo Sallah (11 points/9 rebounds) narrowly missed double-doubles. Junior Barry Brown led the way with 14 points as four Wildcats registered double figures.
- The Wildcats are allowing just 48.0 points per game through the first two games on 28.3 percent shooting (30-of-106), including 27.1 percent (16-of-59) from 3-point range. The 96 total points allowed are the fewest through the first two games since the 1981-82 season (94 points).
NOTES ON UC IRVINE
- UC Irvine enters Friday’s game with a 2-1 record after posting a 91-52 victory over Chapman in its home opener on Tuesday. The Anteaters connected on 49.3 percent from the field, including 50 percent in the second half, as starter Jonathan Galloway and reserve Brad Greene each registered a double-double. The team, which ranked sixth nationally in field goal percentage defense in 2016-17 at 38.3 percent, held Chapman to 28.8 percent (15-52) shooting and posted a 52-29 advantage on the boards. Sophomore Tommy Rutherford scored a game-high 19 points.
- UC Irvine opened the season with a 65-54 loss at South Dakota State on Nov. 10 before rebounding to earn an 83-69 victory at Denver. The squad, which has won or shared the Big West regular-season title three of the last four years, was picked to finish first in the Big West Preseason Poll with 14 of 26 first-place votes.
- The Anteaters are averaging 76.0 points per game on 44.5 percent shooting, including 31.7 percent from 3-point range, with 47.7 rebounds, 13.7 assists, 7.3 steals and 7.3 blocks per game, while allowing opponents to average 62 points on 30.8 percent shooting, including 35.6 percent from long range. The team has 22 blocks through three games, which ranks third nationally.
- Rutherford paces three players in double figures at 12.7 points per game on 80 percent shooting (16-of-20) to go with averages of 7.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks. He is joined in double figures by sophomores Evan Leonard (11.7 ppg.) and John Edgar, Jr. (10.3 ppg.), while big men Elston Jones and Galloway are averaging a team-best 9.0 rebounds per game. Sophomore guard Eyassu Worku is averaging 5.0 assists to go with a 9.3 points per game average. In all, eight players are averaging 5.0 or more points per game.
- A two-time Big West Coach of the Year, Russell Turner enters his eighth season at UC Irvine with a 141-106 (.571) overall record, including a 116-67 (.634) mark over the last six seasons which has included five postseason appearances (2013 CIT, 2014 NIT, 2015 NCAA, 2016 CIT and 2017 NIT). The Anteaters are one of just 22 Division I teams to win at least 21 games each of the last five seasons. He has led the squad to five consecutive 20-win seasons, including a 21-15 mark in 2016-17. His teams have won a conference-best 60 Big West games over the last five seasons (60-22/.732) and they have won or shared three of the last four Big West regular-season titles, including the last two years.
- This will be the first meeting between K-State and UC Irvine on the hardwood.
- K-State is 15-4 all-time against teams from the Big West Conference, including a 9-2 mark at home. The Wildcats have played UC Davis (1-0), UC Santa Barbara (1-1), Cal State Fullerton (3-0), Cal State Northridge (2-0), Hawai’i (2-0) and Long Beach State (6-3). The most recent Big West foe was Long Beach State, in which, as the squad posted a 3-1 record against the 49ers in meetings in 2011, 2013 (twice) and 2014.