Following back-to-back losses to ranked teams by the same exact score at the Hall of Fame Classic this week, a return home is in order for Kansas State, who will play host to North Dakota on Sunday.
Kansas State (2-2) lost by the identical 72-64 score to both No. 13 Arkansas and No. 14 Illinois in the event at Kansas City, Mo., at least showing they are within single digits of matching some of the top teams in the nation.
Perhaps the most positive sign for the Wildcats, coming off a 9-20 season a year ago, is the fact that they are not satisfied with being in near proximity on the scoreboard to a couple of quality squads.
"I'm not happy," Kansas State head coach Bruce Weber said. "We lost. I think we showed that we can do it, but now can we shore up those little things to take a step? We're not that far off. It's just disappointing. I expected better and I still expect more. Hopefully, we can rise to my level of expectation. I hope they have that desire. Now they have to do that."
The Wildats have been led by a variety of players. Four different players have led Kansas State, or shared the lead, in scoring in four games. Nijel Pack, who leads the team with 15.5 points per game, has tied for the scoring lead in two games while also leading by himself in the team's season opener. Transfers Markquis Nowell (11.5 points), Ismael Masoud (8.3) and Mark Smith (7.8) have helped to contribute to the bulk of the offense.
North Dakota (2-4) has lost three straight games entering Sunday's game. In the most recent loss, 65-56 at Florida International on Wednesday, the Fighting Hawks led the entire game until less than 6:41 minutes remained. A pair of scoring droughts allowed the game to get away.
Paul Bruns led the Fighting Hawks with 18 points, and he's third on the team with 9.7 points per game. Caleb Nero (13.3) and Mitchell Sueker (11.3) are the team's top scorers.
Kansas State is 2-0 all-time against North Dakota, with the most recent victory coming in 2015.
--Field Level Media