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#1 Texas Longhorns (17-0 | 3-0) AT #9 Kansas State Wildcats (15-2 | 2-1)

Big Monday
Bramlage Coliseum — Manhattan, Kan.
Monday, Jan. 18, 2010 — 8:05 PM CST


What a huge opportunity lies before us tonight, my fellow Wildcats.

There is almost no cost to us, should we lose. No one will fault us for falling to the No. 1 team in the nation, even at home. Not in this meat grinder of a conference.

But should we dare to aspire to more, should we dare to dream of a Wildcat Victory tonight, look at what awaits us:

  • The cementing of our Top 10 status.
  • A victory over the No. 1 team in the country.
  • A head-to-head win over a rival for the conference crown.
  • Complete dominance of SportsCenter tonight and talk radio tomorrow, for ours is the only game of consequence tonight, featured on the most dominant sports network in the history of television.
  • And best of all, the envious jealousy of KU fans, who might go insane while we hog all the limelight and accolades for the next two weeks.

To hell with losing. That's the easy way out. It's time to take the next step as a basketball program.

If we win this thing, I think we will ascend in short order to the level of a Michigan State or a Tennessee. And it won't be many years before we start getting the respect accorded to a North Carolina or a Connecticut, both of which inexplicably still are in at least one of the polls.

Hell, we might even enter the CBE Classic next year while being viewed as a peer to Duke, if not the favorite.

Let's just go kick some Longhorn ass.

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

From the K-State Sports Information Department:

Kansas State (15-2, 2-1 Big 12) plays on its biggest stage to date Monday, when the Wildcats play host to No. 1 Texas (17-0, 3-0 Big 12) on ESPN's Big Monday before a sold-out crowd at Bramlage Coliseum, at 8 p.m. CT.

Brent Musburger (play-by-play), Bob Knight (analyst) and Holly Rowe (sideline reporter) will be on the call for the ESPN broadcast.

Monday's game will mark the 15th all-time meeting with a No. 1 team for K-State and its first since losing to top-ranked Kansas on the road on Feb. 27, 2002.

The team is 2-12 all-time against the top-ranked team, including a 1-5 mark in games played at home.

However, the two wins over No. 1 have come in the Sunflower State, including a 65-58 win over top-ranked Missouri at Bramlage Coliseum on Feb. 8, 1990 and a 68-64 triumph over top-ranked Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse on Jan. 17, 1994.

This will be just the third meeting with a No. 1 team when the Wildcats also are ranked and the first since top-ranked Missouri beat No. 14 K-State 59-58 at Ahearn Field House on Jan. 30, 1982.

With three teams ahead of them in the polls losing on Saturday, there is a chance that the No. 12/13 Wildcats could find themselves in the Top 10 for the second time this season and the first time since Jan. 4.

A top-10 ranking for K-State on Monday would pit two Top 10 teams in Bramlage Coliseum for the first time in the arena's 22-year history, and for the first time in school history since No. 9 K-State knocked off No. 7 Louisiana-Lafayette 66-63 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Houston, Texas, on March 15, 1973.

The school's No. 12 ranking in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches and No. 13 ranking in the Associated Press Top 25 polls represent just the ninth Top 15 rankings in the last 35 seasons.

The squad, whose 17 opponents boast a .634 winning percentage through Jan. 17, has a consensus Top 10 RPI (in all five major RPI polls) and a strength of schedule ranked 17 or better nationally.

The Wildcats, who rebounded nicely from their first loss in seven weeks with back-to-back wins over Texas A&M and Colorado, have won 12 of their last 13 games, and will be riding a Bramlage Coliseum-record 13-game homecourt winning streak into Monday's game.

It is the ninth-longest winning streak in school history and the longest at a home venue for K-State since the squad won 20 straight games at Ahearn Field House from Jan. 28, 1981 to Jan. 30, 1982.

The 87-81 win against the Buffaloes on Saturday moved the team to 15-2 overall this season, which ties for the fourth-best start in school history and the best since the 1961-62 squad also posted a 15-2 mark.

K-State used a near-record effort from the free-throw line to record its eighth consecutive win over Colorado on Saturday.

The Wildcats converted on 38 of 54 attempts from the charity stripe, the fourth-most makes and the third-most attempts in school history.

Junior Jacob Pullen led a balanced scoring attack of five players in double figures with 15 points, while backcourt mate Denis Clemente added 13, including an 11-of-13 effort from the free-throw line.