MANHATTAN, Kan. (K-State Sports Information)–Kansas State’s men’s basketball team will play perennial power Gonzaga in the 10th annual State Farm Battle in Seattle on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012 at 17,072-seat KeyArena, Idol Sports and Entertainment and both universities announced Thursday.
The game will be the first of a two-year scheduling agreement between the schools with Gonzaga returning the contest in 2013-14.
Gonzaga has played in all nine Battle in Seattle events, posting a 5-4 record. The Bulldogs have previously played a team lead by new K-State head coach Bruce Weber, dropping a 73-61 decision to Illinois on Dec. 4, 2010.
“This is a great opportunity to test our team against one of the best in the country in a great venue,” said Weber. “Mark (Few) has built Gonzaga into an annual NCAA Tournament contender and he will again have another strong club in 2012-13. I think these types of games are a huge benefit to your team especially to a veteran club like we have coming back in the fall.”
Gonzaga has built itself into one of the top men’s basketball teams in the country, advancing to 14 consecutive NCAA Tournaments and winning 11 of the last 12 West Coast Conference regular-season championships. The Bulldogs’ 14 straight appearances in the NCAA Tournament are tied for the fourth-longest active streak (along with Wisconsin and Texas) in the nation behind Kansas (23), Duke (17) and Michigan State (15).
Both teams are coming off 20-win seasons and NCAA Tournament appearances in 2011-12. K-State tallied its sixth consecutive 20-win season and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in five seasons before losing to No. 2 Syracuse in the third round to conclude its season at 22-11 overall and 10-8 in Big 12 play. Gonzaga posted its 15th straight 20-win season this past season and lost to eventual Final Four participant Ohio State in third round of the tournament to finish 26-7 overall and 13-3 in West Coast Conference play.
This will be the third overall meeting between K-State and Gonzaga on the hardwood and second in the last three seasons. The Wildcats are 2-0 all-time against the Bulldogs, winning 66-64 at home in the Postseason NIT on March 22, 1994 and 81-64 in the semifinals of the CBE Classic at the Sprint Center on Nov. 22, 2010. This will be school’s 10th game in Seattle, but the first at KeyArena, the current home of the WNBA’s Seattle Storm and the former home of the NBA’s Seattle Supersonics. The other nine visits came against the University of Washington.
Weber has a long history of high-profile neutral site games in his coaching career, having played at least two in each of his nine seasons at Illinois. He also has history with Gonzaga, having played the Bulldogs four times in the last eight seasons with three neutral site games in 2004 (Indianapolis) and 2010 (Chicago and Seattle). Weber is 3-1 all-time versus Gonzaga, including 2-1 at neutral sites.
K-State returns 13 lettermen, including seven players with starting experience, in 2012-13. The group is headlined by two-time All-Big 12 performer Rodney McGruder and fellow Big 12 All-Defensive Team member Jordan Henriquez. Gonzaga returns nine players, including five with starting experience, highlighted by scoring leader Kevin Pangos (13.6 ppg.) and first team All-WCC selection Elias Harris.
The contest will be among several, potential high-profile neutral site games for K-State in 2012-13. The Wildcats will play Elite Eight participant Florida in the third annual Hy-Vee Wildcat Classic at the Sprint Center in Kansas City on Saturday, Dec. 22. The team will also play in the Preseason NIT with the potential to play two games in Madison Square Garden.
Both the Gonzaga and Florida games have been rated as two of the Top 50 best non-conference match-ups of 2012-13 by CBSSports.com.
The full schedule, which will include 19 games (including two exhibitions) at Bramlage Coliseum, will be released later in the summer.