K-State to Host Florida in SEC/Big 12 Challenge


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Courtesy of K-State Athletics

MANHATTAN, Kan. – An already strong home men’s basketball schedule got even better on Thursday morning (June 16), as Florida was announced as Kansas State’s opponent in the 10th annual SEC/Big 12 Challenge set for Saturday, January 28, 2023, at Bramlage Coliseum.

ESPN will provide coverage of all games on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU with start times and complete television information to be released later.

The Gators will be one of at least 17 home games for the Wildcats in 2022-23, which includes Wichita State on Saturday, December 3, and the usual grueling nine game Big 12 slate. The team will also play host to Nebraska in the return of the Wildcat Classic on Saturday, December 17 at the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City.

“We are excited about the opportunity that awaits by hosting a program like Florida in the Octagon of Doom,” said head coach Jerome Tang. “I know our team will be fired up to play and our fans will be ready to welcome the Gators to the best home court in college basketball.”

The January meeting will be just the third all-time – all coming since 2010 – between the schools and the first in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. It will also be the first time either team has hosted on their home court.

The series is tied 1-1, as Florida won the first matchup, 57-44, in the Orange Bowl Classic in Sunrise, Fla., on December 18, 2010, while K-State evened the series with a 67-61 victory in the Wildcat Classic at the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City on December 22, 2012.

K-State is 3-6 all-time in the Challenge series with all three wins coming at home (Ole Miss in 2013 and 2016 and Georgia in 2018). The Wildcats will be looking to snap a 4-game skid against SEC foes after dropping games to Texas A&M (2019 and 2021), Alabama (2020) and Ole Miss (2022).

SEC won the Challenge series, 6-4, for the second consecutive year and third time overall in 2022. The Big 12 still owns a 48-41 (.539) advantage in the all-time series with four wins (2014, 2015, 2016, 2019). The two leagues have tied twice with five wins each in 2017 and 2020.

Like K-State, Florida will be led by a first-year head coach as Todd Golden was announced as the Gators’ new coach on March 18 after leading San Francisco to its first NCAA Tournament bid since 1998.

The 36-year-old has quickly transformed a Florida program that already has a pair of NCAA Championships (2006, 2007) and won 20 games a year ago. The Gators added a quartet of transfers in Trey Bonham (VMI), Alex Fudge (LSU), Kyle Lofton (St. Bonaventure) and Will Richard (Belmont) to go with fifth-year All-SEC big man Colin Castleton (16.0 ppg., 9.0 rpg.) and five other scholarship returners including Myreon Jones (8.5 ppg.) and Kowacie Reeves (5.5 ppg.).

Florida posted a 20-14 overall record, including a 9-9 mark in SEC play, and advanced to the second round of the NIT in 2021-22 under former head coach Mike White.

K-State will be led by Tang, who was hired by the school on March 21 after a 19-year stint in helping build Baylor into a national powerhouse. The Wildcats are expected to return All-Big 12 honorable mention selection Markquis Nowell (12.4 ppg., 5.0 apg.) and junior Ish Massoud (6.8 ppg., 2.8 rpg.) in 2022-23.

In addition, the Wildcats have signed seven additional players for the upcoming season, including transfers Cam Carter (Mississippi State), Jerrell Colbert (LSU), David N’Guessan (Virginia Tech), Desi Sills (Arkansas State), Nae’Qwan Tomlin (Chipola College) and incoming freshmen Dorian Finister and Taj Manning.

Several aspects of the 2022-23 schedule have already been announced, including the Cayman Islands Classic, the home game with Wichita State, the return of the Wildcat Classic with Nebraska at the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City and a road game at Butler in the Big 12/BIG EAST Battle.

Season tickets for the 2022-23 home schedule are currently on sale through the K-State Athletics Ticket Office by calling (800) 221.CATS as well as online at kstatesports.com.

SEC/Big 12 Challenge
Florida at K-State
Alabama at Oklahoma
Arkansas at Baylor
Auburn at West Virginia
Iowa State at Missouri
Kansas at Kentucky
Ole Miss at Oklahoma State
TCU at Mississippi State
Texas at Tennessee
Texas Tech at LSU

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Derek Nester
Derek Nesterhttps://sunflowerstateradio.com
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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