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Men's Hoops Preview - K-State at (7/6)Kansas Air-Soft Gun Shooters

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The Wildcats head eastward to take on the toupee'd mullet, a redshirt super-senior from their 1952 National Championship season, and assorted cast of miscreants and malcontents.

Have a game, Wes.
Have a game, Wes.
Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Pay heed, all who enter: Beware the chickenwing. But in all seriousness, The Kansas State Wildcats (13-8, 2-6 Big12, #41 kenpom, #53 RPI) travels to Lawrence for round one if the intrastate rivalry against the (7/6) Kansas Jayhawks in Allen Fieldhouse. Tipoff scheduled for 8:00p CST.

Frosh guard Kamau Stokes is still listed as "questionable", but I'm not sure who would start in his place, Carlbe or Microwave.

Know Your Opponent

Kansas (17-4, 5-3 Big12, #16 kenpom, #5 RPI)...well, it's Kansas. They're a good team, though they've shown some chinks in the armor recently on the road. KU is coming into the game off a home win against a (relatively) down Kentucky squad, but are 3-3 in their last 6, dropping each of their road games in that span (West Virginia, Oklahoma State, Iowa State).

If there's one thing the Jayhawks do, it's make buckets. Their eFG% is 25th in the country at 54.3%, bolstered by a #4 ranking beyond the arc at 42.5%. They also don't turn the ball over much, and will hit the offensive glass a decent amount.

They're also solid defensively, relying on heavy man-to-man pressure; opponents are shooting an average level of 34.8% behind the arc, but are allowing a solid 44.8% inside the three point line. Once the shot is up, they do a great job of closing out, allowing an offensive rebound rate of 25.4% (#31 in the country).

Kansas has been involved in some notable games this year; the game-of-the-year-nominee triple-overtime win over Oklahoma comes to mind, but the recent contest against Kentucky was actually a very good game to watch. Their absolute pasting of Baylor in the conference opener showed how good the Jayhawks could be, but their 19-point loss on the road to Oklahoma State exhibited what can happen on any given night.

When you play at Allen Fieldhouse, you know you're going to get strong effort and (usually) good basketball from the Jayhawks, a loud and raucous crowd, and if you're lucky, the opportunity to play 5-on-8, as well.

Keep a close watch on:

The team is led by 19th-year senior Perry Ellis. The Kansas native is coming into the game averaging 16.3ppg, 6.7rpg and 1.2apg. He's got the ability to step out and hit the three, as well as a wide assortment of post moves and a mid-range jumper. Defensively, he's not as much of a shot-swatter as he focuses on solid fundamental defense and boxing out on the glass.

Wayne Selden, Jr. could be a huge factor in this game for the Jayhawks. He's coming in off a career night against Kentucky, where he finished with a career high 33 points, and added 3 rebounds. The junior is shooting 47.3% from beyond the arc, and clearly plays better at home than on the road.

Junior Brannen Greene will come in off the bench for about 15 minutes, but expect him to shoot early and often from outside. He's hitting 53.8% of his threes on the season.

Offense/Defense Strategy:

For as good as KU is on offense, it all starts on the defensive side of the floor. Expect a good mixture of pressure man - both full-court and half-court sets - and a zone to confuse the Wildcats. They won't be gambling for steals, but they will be ratcheting up the pressure with the crowd noise behind them. K-State has to remain extremely disciplined on offense, expect the pressure and the noise, and not get rattled. A big ask for a young team. Some shots are going to need to fall to even have a chance.

On offense, KU runs a good motion set, and can attack anywhere on the floor from all five positions. The bench bigs are a little more suited to a traditional 2-in, 3-out offense, but can still hit the mid-range consistently. We've got to body up, play smart helpside defense, and for chrissakes, box out and limit second opportunities.

Probable Starters

Kansas State:

Wesley Iwundu, 6-7 210 Jr
Dean Wade, 6-10 225 Fr
Stephen Hurt, 6-11 265 Sr
Justin Edwards, 6-4 200 Sr
Kamau Stokes, 6-0 170 Fr

Kansas Jayhawks

F Perry Ellis, 6-8 225 Sr
F Landen Lucas, 6-10 240 Jr
G Wayne Selden, Jr., 6-5 230 Jr
G Frank Mason III, 5-11 185 Jr
G Devonte' Graham, 6-2 175 So

3 Keys To The Game

1. Survive the atmosphere.

AFH is a very difficult place to play, and can become overwhelming in a hurry. K-State needs to be able to disassociate from the "moment", and just go out and play basketball.

2. Rebound.

A huge key will be how effectively we can create second opportunities, and limit KU's chances at additional possessions. We're going to need to get lopsided in our possessions to keep it close.

3. Just. Play. Basketball.

It probably bears repeating - just. play. basketball.

Don't get worked up, don't get caught up in the hoopla, don't let the moment get bigger than you. Just go out and execute what you've been working on in practice. The only thing you can control is the effort you put out for those 40 minutes. Make it your best.

All stats by http://www.kenpom.com, or by the respective university's sports information.