Kansas St. Wildcats guard Will Spradling admitted that playing in Madison Square Garden affected the team's performance, but also pointed out the benefits of playing in a high-pressure game.
The Kansas St. Wildcats played a hard-fought game against the Delaware Blue Hens in the NIT Season Tipoff, edging out a 66-63 victory. After the game, the players admitted that playing in Madison Square Garden affected their nerves.
"We didn't shoot the ball well at all to start the game. We were missing layups. That is something we normally will make. You could tell that we were nervous. Once we settled down, we started playing. We really kind of put it on our defense tonight and we did a pretty good job of that."
Not only did the added pressure of playing in Madison Square Garden affect the Wildcats, but the Blue Hens gave Kansas St. their toughest test so far this season. The Wildcats men's basketball team has started the season 5-0, but the team rolled over their first four opponents of the season. Delaware offered the first challenge the Wildcats have faced this season. Spradling also spoke about handling the adversity, saying:
"We haven't had a real close game yet. We haven't been in a situation where we had to know who that five was that can finish a game, be in there at a close game, can handle the pressure. This was a good thing for us. We're going to be playing a tough team on Friday whoever wins. Most likely it's going to be a tight game."
Despite the nerves and the challenges, the team is excited to play in the NIT Season Tipoff, and is ready to face the Michigan Wolverines. Sophomore guard Angel Rodriguez also addressed the media, stating:
Definitely we're privileged to be playing in Madison Square Garden. We came here to prove a point, me and my teammates and our coaching staff. Like I said, we're just ready to play on Friday.
Kansas St. and Michigan tip off at 3:30 p.m CT on Friday. ESPN will televise the game.