OPEN GAME THREAD: Colorado

KansasStateColorado

#12 Kansas State Wildcats (14-2 | 1-1) AT Colorado Buffaloes (10-6 | 1-1)

Coors Events Center — Boulder, Colo.
Saturday, Jan. 16, 2010 — 2:01 PM MST

Big 12 Network

 

For where we want to go, today virtually is a must-win game. We have to keep pace with Missouri so that the Tigers' visit to Bramlage Coliseum serves as a tiebreaker, at the minimum.

But don't kid yourself — a win today will be difficult. Colorado is a much improved team. Don't believe me? Check the latest BIG 12 OUTLOOK.

For my previous analysis of the Buffaloes, click here. To see K-State's game notes, follow the jump.

From the K-State Sports Information Department:

Kansas State (14-2, 1-1 Big 12) begins a difficult stretch on Saturday, when the Wildcats hit the road for a big test versus surging Colorado (10-6, 1-1 Big 12) at the Coors Events Center, at 3 p.m.

The Buffaloes, who knocked off No. 22/23 Baylor 78-71 on Tuesday night at home, are a perfect 9-0 at home this season, including wins over San Francisco, Cal State Northridge and Miami University.

The game again will match two very physical teams in the Big 12, as the squads rank among the top five in the conference in personal fouls drawn (25.8 to 21.1), free throws made (22.6 to 19.6) and free throws attempted (30.9 to 25.4), while Colorado leads the league in free-throw percentage (77.1).

The Wildcats, who rebounded from their first loss in seven weeks with an 88-65 win over Texas A&M, have won 11 of their last 12 games, while the Buffaloes have won four of their last six outings.

The win against the Aggies moved the team to 14-2 overall this season, which ties for the fifth-best start in school history and the best since the 1981-82 squad also posted a 14-2 mark.

This will be the 140th all-time meeting between the two schools, including the 64th in Boulder, with the Wildcats holding a 92-44 advantage in the series, including a slight 32-31 edge on the road.

K-State has won seven consecutive games against Colorado, including three in a row at the Coors Events Center.

Last season, the Wildcats rallied for a 77-75 win in overtime over the Buffaloes on the road.

The contest will be televised regionally on the Big 12 Network, as well as nationally on the ESPN Full Court package, with Chad McKee (play-by-play) and Rich Zvosec (analyst) on the call.

The Wildcats saw their first Top-10 ranking in more than 35 years last just one week with Saturday's loss, and the squad tumbled two spots to No. 12 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll on Monday.

The Top-10 ranking was the highest for K-State in the coaches' poll since USA Today took over ownership of the poll in 1991-92 and marked just the 12th time that a Wildcat team reached the Top 10, at any point in a season, in school history.

The team dropped two spots in the AP poll to No. 13, which still is just the ninth Top-15 ranking in the last 35 seasons.

The squad, whose 16 opponents boast a .649 winning percentage through Jan. 15, has a consensus Top-10 RPI (in all five major RPI polls) and a strength of schedule ranked 17th or better nationally.

K-State rebounded nicely from its second loss of the season with a solid victory over Texas A&M.

The Wildcats led the entire way, including a lead as high as 24 points, in moving to a perfect 9-0 at home all-time against the Aggies.

Senior Denis Clemente led four players in double figures, scoring 20 of his season-high 24 points in the first half.

He finished the game 9 of 22 from the field, including 5 of 12 from 3-point range.

Backcourt mate Jacob Pullen tossed in 15 points, marking the 12th time the duo combined for 30 or more points this season.

Sophomore Jamar Samuels had 19 points off the bench, while junior Dominique Sutton added his second double-double in the last three games with 12 points and a career-high 12 rebounds.

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