Washington State coach Ken Bone will have his Cougars tested early in the schedule this coming season.
WSU officially announced their matchup for the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series. The Cougs will travel to Manhattan, KS to take on the Kansas State Wildcats on Dec. 5.
The Hardwood Series is quickly becoming one of the premier non-conference matchups. This will be the third year the Big 12 and Pac-10 have played a series of games that is developing the flavor of a rivalry.
Both WSU and K-State played the same conference teams at home and away the past two years. The Cougars defeated Baylor on their home court two years ago, with Baylor returning the favor when they visited Pullman this past season. K-State didn't fare as well, dropping two games to the Oregon Ducks over the past couple of seasons.
The Cougs (17-16) and Wildcats (22-12) were on the same postseason path this past season. Each earned invitations to play in the NIT. While WSU was eliminated in the first round by St. Mary's, K-State won their opening round over Illinois State in overtime before falling to San Diego State.
Coach Frank Martin will have four of his top five scorers back this coming season, giving him plenty of offensive weapons.
WSU has played Kansas State just four times over the years with a series record of 2-2. The Wildcats have won the last two meetings between the schools.
Coach Bone's club will be tested by a veteran team in Kansas State. The Wildcats only had one senior on the roster last year. This coming season K-State will be loaded with experience, having five seniors slated to return.
The Hardwood Series has proved to be an excellent pairing in its first two years. Though the Pac-10 holds a winning edge, the margin is a narrow 13-11.
Fans have embraced this series with tremendous enthusiasm. Last year the 12 games averaged more than 10,000 in attendance. That's impressive considering we're talking about non-conference games in early December.
In drawing Kansas State, the Cougs will be competing with one of the top basketball programs in the Big 12—make that one of the top basketball programs in the country. Remember a young man named Michael Beasley? Though he was only in Manhattan for one season, Beasley wanted to be a part of Wildcat basketball.
It's too soon to announce the television schedule, but with the interest generated in the Hardwood Series, you can expect all the games will be available for viewing. Game times will be affected by television scheduling. Those details probably won't be available until late in the fall.
Here's the official schedule for the 2009 Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series.
Sunday, Nov. 29
Nebraska at USC
Thursday, Dec. 3
Washington at Texas Tech
USC at Texas
Baylor at Arizona State
Friday, Dec. 4
Colorado at Oregon State
Saturday, Dec. 5
Oregon at Missouri
Iowa State at California
Washington State at Kansas State
Sunday, Dec. 6
Kansas at UCLA
Arizona at Oklahoma
Wednesday, Dec. 16
Oklahoma State at Stanford
Tuesday, Dec. 22
Texas A&M at Washington
Originally published on Examiner.com