Kansas State Wildcats vs. Villanova Wildcats Pick & Prediction DECEMBER 5th 2023

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Kansas State, which has claimed back-to-back overtime wins against mid-major programs, will take a step up in competition on Tuesday against Villanova during the Big 12/Big East Battle in Manhattan, Kan.

Kansas State (6-2) has won three straight games, including an 88-78 victory over Oral Roberts last Tuesday and a 75-74 decision versus North Alabama on Saturday. The one-point triumph over the Lions was particularly disturbing for head coach Jerome Tang.

It took a 3-pointer by Tylor Perry with eight seconds left to send the game to overtime. Perry led five Kansas State players in double figures with 16 points, and he helped rally the club from a 65-60 deficit with 27 seconds left.

But it was not easy.

“I thought that for 39 minutes they were better than we were,” a frustrated Tang said after the game. “They played harder, and we didn’t deserve to win that game. But the guys figured out a way in the last minute of regulation and then in overtime. That’s a credit to our guy’s grit and toughness and togetherness. I’m just thankful that we figured out a way.”

Kansas State shot just 35.2 percent from the floor (19 of 54) and 18.7 percent from 3-point range (3 of 18) against North Alabama.

Villanova (6-3) is coming off back-to-back losses, both against fellow teams from Philadelphia. Villanova dropped a 78-65 decision to Saint Joseph’s on Wednesday and a 57-55 setback to Drexel on Saturday. The Dragons led the entire second half in the latter contest.

“Drexel made some really tough shots early,” Villanova head coach Kyle Neptune said after the game. “They made some timely shots late. They really executed their stuff down the stretch. A lot of credit goes to them.

“I thought they did a great job keeping us off balance (offensively). I thought we got some good looks. They got some confidence off the shots they made early. We just couldn’t get stops down the stretch.”

Neptune is not too concerned about the mini-slump after winning the Battle 4 Atlantis a week earlier.

“It’s a long year,” he said. “This is part of the growth process for this team. Every team is 100 percent different. We’ve got to continue to get better.”

Meanwhile, Tang wants a game against an opponent like Villanova to be just another game.

“I know what I’m supposed to say and what y’all expect me to say,” Tang said. “But I want to get to the point where every time we play it’s a big game, and it doesn’t matter who the opponent is, and that the people are lined up to get in here.

“That’s what everybody says that we want to run here, right? We want to have a big-time basketball program. We want to win championships, and all this kind of stuff, but it starts with us believing that we’re the best and we’re not coming to see who we’re playing against, but the fact that we’re playing.”

–Field Level Media

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