K-State PROUD | The Battle for Second Place
Bramlage Coliseum — Manhattan, Kan.
Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010 — 7:05 PM CST
ESPNU | ESPN360
Nothing good happened the last time these two met. We temporarily lost our first Top 10 ranking in an eternity, Frank Martin got so mad he popped his own player and Laurence Bowers finished the game with an emphatic dunk that I'm guessing the Wildcats haven't forgotten in the two months since.
Since then, Missouri's only lost four games — three of those on the road — and thoroughly is enmeshed in the hunt for a No. 2 seed in Kansas City. If any of you doubt how high the stakes for this game are, check out my comment on TB's recent two-week breakdown.
But the loss of Justin Safford leaves Mizzou even thinner in the post than it already was. Now Bowers and Keith Ramsey will have to shoulder most of the load, with Steve Moore (a less physical version of Luis Colon) assisting.
Frankly, if we don't dominate in the paint today, I'll be highly disappointed. In the previous game, Curtis Kelly and Jamar Samuels were saddled with fouls most of the game, and the Cats were out-rebounded by an opponent that out-rebounds hardly anybody. That can't happen again.
Let's just beat these guys down and move on to more meaningful goals. If recent history is any indication, the Striped Cats don't tend to play too well once the Octagon crowd gets raucous. I'd like to keep that going.
For K-State's game notes, follow the jump.
From the K-State Sports Information Department:
Kansas State (23-4, 10-3 Big 12) returns home to the friendly confines of Bramlage Coliseum on Saturday night, when the Wildcats play host to Missouri (21-7, 9-4 Big 12) at 7 p.m.
The contest will begin the stretch run of the conference's regular season, in which the Wildcats play at No. 1 Kansas (27-0, 13-0 Big 12) on Wednesday before returning home for Senior Night on Saturday, March 6, against Iowa State (14-14, 3-10 Big 12).
Seeding for the upcoming Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship will be online Saturday, and the Wildcats are just a game ahead of the Tigers and will be looking for a bye to the conference quarterfinals for the fourth consecutive season.
This will be the 231st all-time meeting between K-State and Missouri in a series that dates back to 1907.
Each squad has won 115 games in the series, with the Wildcats holding a 59-44 mark at home, including a 12-8 record at Bramlage Coliseum.
The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPNU, with Justin Kutcher (play-by-play) and Dickey Simpkins (analyst) on the call.
K-State moved up further in the Top 10 on Monday, ranking sixth in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches' polls.
It marked the fourth time this season that the Wildcats have been ranked in the Top 10 in both polls, including the third straight week.
It is the highest AP ranking since also placing sixth on March 13, 1962, while it is the highest ranking in the coaches' poll since USA Today took over ownership of the poll in 1991-92.
It marks the first time that the program has ranked among the AP Top 15 for eight consecutive weeks since the 1961-62 squad was ranked among the AP Top 10 for 15 weeks, while the team's current 11-week stay in the AP Top 25 is the longest since the 1972-73 squad was ranked for 16 straight weeks.
The Wildcats are off to their best start in nearly 50 years with their current 23-4 record.
The mark ties for the third-best start in school history and the best since the 1958-59 squad finished the year at 25-2.
The team posted its 23rd 20-win season Feb. 13, becoming the first Wildcat squad to tally 20 or more wins in four consecutive seasons.
In addition, Frank Martin became the first head coach in school history to post three 20-win seasons to start a career, while the win over Oklahoma on Feb. 20 gave him the most wins by a head coach in his first three seasons.
K-State ran its winning streak to six games on Tuesday with an 83-64 victory over Texas Tech at the United Spirit Arena.
The win was the Wildcats' sixth straight on the road in league play and gave them their highest win total in conference road play since the 1975-76 season.
The squad shot 47.5 percent for the game, including 52 percent in the second half, to top 80 points for the 16th time this season.
Junior Jacob Pullen led four players in double figures with his 20th career 20-point game and a game-high 28 points.
Sophomore Jamar Samuels had his third double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.