Kansas State University

Wildcats break into top 25

MANHATTAN — The national polls have taken notice of Kansas State basketball.

Following an impressive 95-80 victory over UNLV in Las Vegas, K-State (9-1) broke into the Top 25 for the first time since the 2007-08 season on Monday.

The Wildcats debuted at No 17 in the Associated Press poll and No. 22 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll. It is their highest ranking since the 1987-88 season, when they climbed to No. 14 in the AP poll.

"These kids have accomplished something at this point in the season," K-State coach Frank Martin said.

The Wildcats have been receiving votes in both polls since the preseason, but it took double-digit wins over Xavier and then-No. 18 UNLV in the same week to move into the Top 25. Coupled with a win over Dayton, a team ranked 18th at the time, K-State has beaten two ranked nonconference opponents for the first time since the 1958-59 season.

Junior guard Jacob Pullen, who was named Big 12 player of the week on Monday for scoring 28 points against UNLV and 16 against Xavier, has said once K-State earned a spot in the Top 25, his motivation was to maintain that ranking the rest of the season.

Martin likes that attitude.

"We're excited about where we're at," Martin said. "But we're humble enough to understand that the Big 12 is a bear of a league. We understand we can't sit on our laurels, because they're not going to give us a parade in December."