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No. 21 BYU Takes On Upset-Minded Kansas State In Big 12 After Dark

Feb 9, 2024, 3:55 PM | Updated: 4:08 pm

BYU/Kansas State, Game Preview, Big 12...

No. 21 BYU hosts the Kansas State Wildcats who defeated Kansas earlier this week. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)

(Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)

PROVO, Utah – BYU basketball welcomes the Kansas State Wildcats for the first Big 12 meeting between the two programs.

Kansas State is making its first trip to Provo since 1971. BYU enters this game looking to get back in the win column after suffering their biggest margin of defeat this season against Oklahoma.

The matchup will be in a “Big 12 After Dark” special. Tip-off for the game is 8 p.m. (MT) and 9 p.m. (CT) for folks in Kansas.

The game was picked by ESPN for an ESPN2 slot. It earned that network over USC/Stanford, which will air on ESPNU.

BYU vs. Kansas State: How To Watch, Listen

Location: Marriott Center

City: Provo, Utah

Tip-Off: 8 p.m. (MT)/9 p.m. (CT)

TV: ESPN2

Radio: KSL NewsRadio (102.7 FM, 1160 AM – Pregame begins at 7 p.m.)

What you need to know about No. 21 BYU basketball

Since the start of Big 12 conference play, BYU has been reeling off streaks of two. Two losses, then two wins, another two losses, and two wins. They hope to break that trend after the loss at Oklahoma on Tuesday as they get set to host Kansas State.

BYU has battled a flu bug that has spread throughout the team over the past few weeks. Center Aly Khalifa missed the past two games due to the illness. BYU coach Mark Pope is “hopeful” Khalifa can play on Saturday night.

Since Khalifa has been out, BYU junior forward Fousseyni Traore has been excellent. Traore scored 45 points in the past two games.

BYU point guard Dallin Hall has also been playing at a high level in recent games. Hall is fourth in the Big 12 Conference during league action in assist rate at 32.5%.

An area to monitor for BYU against K-State will be its three-point shooting. Against Oklahoma, BYU attempted 26 and only knocked down eight. Typically, this year’s BYU team has attempted at least 30 threes and often reached double-figures in made attempts.

A good barometer for how a game will play out for BYU is tied to leading scorer Jaxson Robinson. In the second half of BYU’s five Big 12 losses, Robinson is 0-for-17 from three-point range.

Robinson is averaging 13.5 points per game this season.

Getting to know the Kansas State Wildcats

Kansas State is riding high after an upset win over in-state Kansas on Big Monday. The Jayhawks won that game 75-70 in overtime.

Kansas State’s star guard Tylor Perry delivered in that game, scoring 26 points and playing all 45 minutes. Perry, a 5-foot-11 transfer from North Texas, is third in percentage of minutes played in Big 12 action at 89%.

K-State’s leading scorer is junior Cam Carter, scoring 16 points per game. Carter is second in three-pointers made for K-State this season with 47. Against Kansas, Carter had 19 points and 11 rebounds in the upset win.

It’s been an up-and-down year in the second season under head coach Jerome Tang. Last year, Tang earned Big 12 Coach of the Year honors, guiding the Wildcats to an Elite Eight run.

Before the win over Kansas, Tang’s Wildcats were on a four-game losing streak that ended with a surprising loss at Oklahoma State. After that game, Tang referenced the movie “Die Hard” to rally his team and respond to the adversity. It worked against Kansas. Now, he will try to pull off an upset at BYU.

“They are a good team with a ton of energy,” said BYU coach Mark Pope on Kansas State. “Their backcourt is really explosive at the one, two, and three; really explosive scorers. Three guys that can go get their own basket at all three levels. …You know exactly what they’re trying to get accomplished. They really complement each other well.”

BYU is familiar with Kansas State starting forward Arthur Kaluma. The Cougars faced the 6-foot-7 big man when he was at Creighton last season. Kaluma scored a career-high 27 points in a game that BYU won thanks to a game-winner by Dallin Hall.

“They’re tenacious on the glass with their bigs. Their bigs are great screeners and rollers that can hurt you around the rim and they run the floor really hard,” said Pope. “So they’re a well put together, well thought out team that is coming off an Elite Eight year. It’s another great team.”

BYU/Kansas State Fast Facts

BYU

Overall record: 16-6

Big 12 record: 4-5

NET: 8

KenPom: 11

AP ranking: No. 21

Coaches Poll: No. 19

Kansas State

Overall record: 15-8

Big 12 record: 5-5

NET: 76

KenPom: 72

AP ranking: Not ranked

Coaches Poll: Not ranked

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and hosts the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s’ coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on X: @Mitch_Harper.

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No. 21 BYU Takes On Upset-Minded Kansas State In Big 12 After Dark