Before the Kansas State basketball team began Big 12 play, Frank Martin was asked about the conference's new round-robin schedule and starting it off with games against three ranked opponents.
Depending on how many of the games the Wildcats win, it could be a big advantage or a huge burden.
Following a league-opening loss at Kansas on Wednesday, both possibilities remain with Friday's game against No. 7 Missouri and Tuesday's matchup with No. 4 Baylor up next. No. 23 K-State could end up anywhere from the top of the conference standings at 2-1 to the bottom at 0-3.
This could easily be classified as the Wildcats' most important stretch of the season. So what does Martin think about it? In some ways, it reminds him of the schedule K-State faced three seasons ago when it started 0-4 in conference play. He hopes what he learned from that experience will help this current group.
"You can't sit down and so, 'Oh man, we've got to start at Kansas.' If that's your approach, what are the chances you've got any chance to win that game?" Martin said. "The only thing that matters is the next game on the schedule.
"... If we were focused in on being 0-4, we might as well have quit the season. You're 0-4 in conference play, you're not paying any attention to that. We're paying attention to the next day. Let's go get better."
A win over the undefeated Tigers would certainly help the Wildcats get better. Missouri has exceeded expectations so far under new coach Frank Haith. But K-State has won the last seven games in the series at Bramlage Coliseum.
One of the streaks will come to an end.
The same way K-State didn't worry about the future three years ago, and rallied from an 0-4 hole to finish conference play with a winning record, it is trying to think solely about keeping its winning ways going against Missouri.
"We are just taking it one day at a time," said guard Will Spradling. "Frank really keeps us focused on the game right in front of us. We prepare the same exact way regardless of the opponent we are playing. So we are used to how we prepare and we aren't going to jump ahead of ourselves."
Martin doesn't want it any other way.
"It's about focusing in on the next game," Martin said. "It's about not getting wrapped up on what's going to take place a month from now or two games from now. As long as our focus is let's take advantage of today and prepare for tomorrow — that's it — I'm sure we will be OK."