Put the Wildcats in a primetime "Big Monday" time slot, and K-State is money.
First, the Wildcats knocked off Baylor, 69-61, and then Kansas, 84-68, heading into Monday's game with first-place 12-2, 24-5 Texas, which had been ranked No. 5 in the nation prior to Saturday's 91-89 loss to Colorado.
"They're the most physical team that we will play against. They guard you … defend you, and they come down on offense and throw it at the rim on every single play," said KSU coach Frank Martin.
"You better be strong with your perimeter defense to keep the ball out of the passing areas, and then you're post defense better be rock solid. It's going to be a physical game."
Entering play tonight in Big 12 games only, Texas is…
• 1st in team defense allowing just 58.2 points
• 1st in field goal defense at .381
• 1st in 3-point percentage at .413
• 1st in 3-point defense percentage at .385
• 2nd in field goal percentage at .475
• 2nd in rebound margin at plus-5.8
• 2nd in blocked shots at 4.85 per game
K-State will counter those numbers with a four-game winning streak, and being winners in six of its last seven games upping their mark to 8-6 in the league and 20-9 overall.
"We dug ourselves a hole, but are climbing our way out of it," said senior guard Jacob Pullen, who has averaged 29 points per game in his last four outings. "It's another opportunity to build our resume for postseason and to get a better seed for the Big 12 tournament. You get a ring for that, too."
The Wildcats are coming off a "team" victory over Missouri where Pullen led in scoring with 24 points, but the stars of the game came off the bench with Pullen in foul trouble.
"That's why you call it a team and not players. You have a team," said Martin of the play of his bench that had a scoring stretch of 16-2 late in the game. "That's what this game is all about. I was proud of those kids for getting the job done without Jacob in there."
"It was big," said Pullen, who was plagued by foul trouble plus being "a little under the weather" health wise. "Martavious (Irving) made some big plays, Nick came in, Will made shots … they played without fear."
Jacob Pullen's career point count climbs to 2,017 making him only the second career 2,000-point man along with 2,115 from Mike Evans, and one of six all-time Big 12 2,000-point scorers.
It marked the 100th double-figure game for Pullen tying him with Rolando Blackman first all-time games of 10 point or more. It was also Pullen's 39th game of at least 20 points. Pullen is now only 98 points shy of Evans' career record.
Entering the week, Pullen's career point total ranked 12th among all Division I players currently playing.
PLAYING THE BEST:
Tonight will mark K-State's ninth game of the year against an Associated Press ranked team, which is only one game shy of the single-season record for competition against Top 25 teams in school history.
The 2000-01 Wildcat team went 2-8 against ranked teams and the 2009-10 club went 6-4. This year's team is 4-4 entering play tonight. The wins have been over No. 22 Virginia Tech, No. 18 Gonzaga, No. 1 Kansas and No. 20 Missouri.
The record for wins against ranked teams in a single year is six, which came last year, while the 1950-51 Final Four team went 5-1 against teams all ranked in the Top 20.