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Kansas State Collegian

The independent student news publication at Kansas State University

Kansas State Collegian

Know Your Opponent: Big 12 tourney starts with final Texas showdown

Wildcats play crucial first tournament matchup in possible Quad 1 win
Guard+Tylor+Perry+dribbles+up+the+court+against+West+Virginia+on+Feb.+26+in+Bramlage+Coliseum.+Perry+will+play+a+crucial+role+in+the+Big+12+tournament%2C+starting+with+Texas+on+Wednesday.
Sarah Anliker
Guard Tylor Perry dribbles up the court against West Virginia on Feb. 26 in Bramlage Coliseum. Perry will play a crucial role in the Big 12 tournament, starting with Texas on Wednesday.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas State Wildcats are in the midst of a fight to make the NCAA tournament, and the Texas Longhorns stand in their way. Currently sitting as the top team in Joe Lunardi’s ‘Next’ category, at least one win is necessary to dance in March. Meanwhile, the Longhorns stand around the middle of the pack as a No. 8, looking to move up the ladder.


In the one matchup between, neither team played well at any level. Texas managed a 62-56 home victory as each team shot under 40% from the field. Neither team can play at par with that level Wednesday evening if they expect to move on to the Big 12 quarterfinals.

K-State 18-13 (8-10)

The Wildcats’ 65-58 home win over Iowa State saved the season, allowing hope for a chance at the tournament. Landing as the No. 10 seed in the Big 12 tournament, the Wildcats have defeated or nearly defeated every Big 12 opponent outside of No. 1 seed Houston. The trio of guards Tylor Perry and Cam Carter and forward Arthur Kaluma weigh heavily on K-State’s performance on a game-by-game basis. If at least two of the three show up, the Wildcats are in any game they play.

Texas 20-11 (9-9)

The Longhorns ended the season on a nice run after a very inconsistent regular season, similar to the Wildcats. Texas won three out of its last four, and had Baylor down 13 in the second half before blowing the lead. Led by guard Max Abmas, Texas holds four double digit scorers, three of whom have hit 30 point games on the season. The talent on the roster has not always come together with a lack of depth, but Texas is capable of taking down anyone at any time when they bring it all together.

Matchup to Watch: Perry vs. Abmas

Both Perry and Abmas possess the ability to take over a game at any point. Abmas has delivered on a somewhat consistent basis this season while Perry struggled throughout much of the season until February.

The pair each have similar roles on their team, both leading in points and assists for their respective teams. Each also has the proclivity to chuck up a plethora of shots, exceeding double digit 3-point attempts when they feel like it. With their strengths and weaknesses, both shorter lead guards hold the fate of their teams in their hands through their explosive shooting but inconsistent moments.

Perry and Abmas’ similarities make them so crucial to the outcome of the game. Perry likely must outplay Abmas as the Longhorns have more firepower outside of their lead guard. Meanwhile, Abmas may just need to match Perry’s performance to grab a quarterfinal appearance.

So the question is: Who will prevail? The famous March Madness hero of years ago, or the flamethrower who has yet to grace the court in the NCAA tournament.

Key Players

K-State

Forward Arthur Kaluma

Forward David N’Guessan

Texas

Forward Dylan Disu

Forward Dillon Mitchell

Prediction: Texas 71-70

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About the Contributor
Luke Lazarczyk, sports writer
Sports editor for 2023-24. Previously sports editor for 2022-23 and writer for 2021-22.
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