Tonight in Wichita, Kansas fans of college basketball will get a future Big 12 preview when West Virginia takes on K-State in a for now non conference battle. The fact that the two teams will soon be in the same conference is obviously not the main draw though as it will pit West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins against his former assistant in Frank Martin.
The story is familiar to most everyone, Huggins getting a second chance at Kansas State and then promptly ditching Manhattan after one season. Huggins did go back home and supposedly he left for the one position he couldn't turn down but it still was a blow to Wildcat fans at the time.
Both K-State and West Virginia have experienced a good portion of success though since Huggins left and Martin took over the program. K-State has elevated its program into a consistent NCAA Tournament contender while West Virginia has reached the Final Four under Huggins.
As for the present time, tonight's game will feature two teams not ranked in the current Top 25 of college basketball.
West Virginia enters with a 4-2 record overall and the Mountaineers are coming off a loss to Mississippi State by double digits. Earlier in the year they suffered what could be considered an embarrassing loss at the hands of Kent State.
This is not to say that the Mountaineers do not have any talent as Kevin Jones has been a beast this as he averages in double figures in points at 19.8 per game and rebounds with 11.7 a game. After last season, Jones declared for the NBA Draft but decided to return to Morgantown for his senior season.
Starring alongside Jones is Darryl "Truck" Bryant who has scored in double figures in every contest. While he finds a way to get to the free line, Bryant is not a strong three point shooter so if he can find his touch against K-State this would greatly help the WVU cause.
K-State enters the game undefeated and should be feeling quite good about itself coming off a road victory at Virginia Tech. The Wildcats used a strong second half to overcome a halftime deficit to defeat the Hokies.
In that contest, Jamar Samuels proved to be the deciding factor in the game and if K-State hopes to have success tonight against West Virginia he will need to make his presence known.
A trend with the Wildcats this year is starting the game out slow but finishing with a strong second half effort. Against a West Virginia team that has been up and down it will be important for K-State to try and utilize the energy from the pro K-State crowd and build an early lead.
If K-State can make a few early buckets it is possible they could get ride the wave of emotion and put a hurting on West Virginia and particularly Bob Huggins. While most every rational Kansas State fan is aware that the resurgence of K-State basketball couldn't have started without Huggins in Manhattan they aren't above wanting to see him get beat bad by the program he left.
The game will be televised for a national audience on ESPN2 and everyone should expect the people in Wichita to show up in mass.