K-State basketball close to neutral-court series with Gonzaga

As long as an unforeseen problem doesn’t come up at the last minute, Kansas State and Gonzaga will play a series of neutral-court games in the next two years.

Wildcats coach Bruce Weber said today the series will begin in Seattle next season with Gonzaga making a return trip to Kansas City or Wichita during the 2013-14 season.

ESPN first reported that K-State was set to play Gonzaga in Seattle this morning.

“It hasn’t been finalized, but it is something we pursued,” Weber said. “We felt we needed to add something on to our nonconference schedule, that’s why we kind of scrambled and got the opportunity with Gonzaga. They will return to Kansas City or Wichita the next year.”

So which one will it be? The Sprint Center or Intrust Bank Arena? Weber isn’t sure.

The Wildcats have been playing nuetral-court games in Kansas City for years and will play Florida there next season. They also made a trip to Wichita last season for a game with West Virginia. Big crowds have filled both stadiums. K-State wants to appeal to fans in both areas. It’s a tough decision. A tough decision that Weber might not be able to make on his own.

“That’s more up to the administration,” Weber said. “We would like to play a game in Kansas City as many years as possible; if not every year, most years. But I know at the same time that Kansas State had a real good crowd when they played West Virginia in Wichita. We have good fans in that part of the state. We would like to keep Wichita in mind, too.”

Wherever the game ends up, Weber is glad he will get to test his team next season with a quality game away from home. Other tests at George Washington, against Florida and the preseason NIT were already on the schedule, but Weber thought the Wildcats needed another challenge. So he passed on a guaranteed game against a low-major school at Bramlage Coliseum to start this series.

“When we looked at the schedule, we wanted to make sure we had enough quality opponents and maybe work toward getting a game in Kansas City or Wichita the next year,” Weber said. “I have done the Battle in Seattle before and enjoyed it. Hopefully it works out again.”