Kansas State University

Kansas State focused on Buffaloes

BOULDER, Colo. —At Kansas State, most of the campus sports chatter is already centered on Monday, when ESPN cameras and the No. 1-ranked Texas Longhorns come to town.

A big basketball game, no doubt, and K-State players admit they get goose bumps thinking about the atmosphere.

But unlike the rest of the student body, the No. 13 Wildcats can't afford to spend their weekend day-dreaming about Big Monday. Not with today's game at Colorado.

"There's so much hype on this Big Monday game that freshmen and other people in our locker room can look past Colorado and think, well, it's Colorado, blah, blah, blah," junior guard Jacob Pullen said. "You can't do that. They're a good team."

That may read like standard player speak leading up to a game against an opponent that finished with one conference win a year ago, but Pullen insists he is impressed with Colorado.

If any of his teammates aren't, coach Frank Martin will have plenty of motivation to get their focus where it needs to be.

He says Cory Higgins and Alec Burks form one of the better backcourts in the Big 12 and that Colorado's starting five can be as explosive as any group. Coach Jeff Bzdelik's style of play is also different from anything the Wildcats have seen.

"It's like in football," Martin said. "You play spread, spread, spread and then all of a sudden you have to play against an option team. It's hard because it's different. Not too many people play the way they do."

Not many Big 12 teams are losing at home right now, either.

After Wednesday's games, the league is an unbelievable 114-4 at home. The Buffaloes are coming off an impressive victory over No. 22 Baylor.

"We're going to try to go against the grain and win at Colorado," sophomore forward Jamar Samuels said. "But it's going to be tough."

It was no easy task last year. K-State struggled with Colorado and needed overtime to win 77-75.

Senior Denis Clemente understands all of those factors.

"I don't want to talk about Texas right now," Clemente said. "I don't worry about that game yet. I worry about Saturday at Colorado."

Martin likes that approach.

"I'd rather go worry about Texas after a win than worry about Texas after a loss because we're not prepared," Martin said. "Texas is meaningless to us. Beating Texas before we play Colorado is not going to happen. So for us to worry about Texas before the Colorado game, you're wasting time and energy if you think along those lines."

Martin certainly isn't. As tempting as it may be for him to start looking at Texas film to get a head start for Big Monday, he is waiting until later this afternoon. All his focus is on Colorado.

"We don't prepare for them differently than we prepare for Texas, Kansas, Xavier or Washington State," Martin said. "It's the next game on the schedule. There is nothing more important to us than for us to go in there and play right. We don't say, 'Well, it's a little easier.' They're all hard. Every game on our schedule is difficult."