After defeating No. 7 and 14-0 Missouri this past Saturday, K-State, now 12-2 and No. 18 in the national polls, will be trying to secure a first-ever two-game sweep of teams ranked in the Top 10 in the nation in consecutive games.
Coming off shelling the Tigers, KSU coach Frank Martin said, "We have had big wins earlier this year and we have responded well. We protected our home floor Saturday, and we have to go get ready and protect it again. You have to be tough as nails and disciplined as nails to win on the road in conference play."
The Bears have been that tough going 6-0 on the road this season, and having 41 wins on the road or neutral sites in the last five years. That comes after an 11-year period where Baylor won just 28 games outside of Waco.
K-State holds the all-time lead in the series, 13-10, which includes an 8-4 advantage in games played in Manhattan. However, the Bears have won on three of their last six trips to Bramlage.
The Bears are third in scoring (76.2) and second in team defense (58.4), plus they shot the ball at a 48 percent clip and allow the opposition a league-best 36 percent shooting. That figure also ranks fourth nationally as Baylor has not allowed a team to shoot 50 percent from the field this year.
To hang with the Bears, Martin said it will take playing K-State basketball.
"That should not fluctuate. If you have watched us play within the last five years, people who follow basketball say that K-State is the hardest team in the country. People do not say that because you play hard every once in a while. They say that because you play hard all the time," said Martin. "We did not play hard against Kansas, we did not do our jobs. They are kids. What are we supposed to do, dwell on the negative? Or dislike them?
"No, it is our job to refocus them and make them understand what helps us to succeed, I told them that if you needed me to come in and scream in practice the last two days then we are not a very good basketball team," Martin continued.
No Wildcat is playing better than Rodney McGruder, who netted 20 against the Tigers and now has 77 points in the last four games. McGruder currently ranks 11th in the league with a 13.2 scoring average, plus is in the top 20 in rebounding with a 5.3 average.
"My teammates put me in the position to score but at times, I believe that you have to create for yourself because not everything is going to be handed to you."
Also among the Big 12 leaders are Will Spradling (20th in scoring at 11.5 and fifth in 3-point percentage at 44), plus Thomas Gipson and Jamar Samuels are sixth in rebounding with averages of 6.6 per game.
While playing with precision X and O wise against MU, Martin said after the game, "You can't be right physically if you're not healthy mentally. When we left Hawai'i we have not been healthy mentally. It's been hard to get their focus, but today the guys were awesome.
"They responded well from that Kansas game the way that you hope your team responds and the last two days we've had an excellent attention to detail," said Martin of his 12-2 Wildcats. "When you get embarrassed, one of two things happens to your team. You can either come apart at the seams or those seams can get tighter. These guys were off the charts and getting their teammates ready for the last two days. Our attention to detail in practice these last two days was once again good. Missouri is really good."
For the third straight year a Frank Martin-coached basketball team defeated a team ranked in the Top 10. It's the sixth time Martin has done so tying Jack Hartman. Up next is Tex Winter who had 10 wins against Top 10 teams. 2012 – 75-59 over No. 7 Missouri; 2011 – 75-70 over No. 7 Texas; 2011 – 84-68 over No. 1 Kansas; 2010 – 71-62 over No. 1 Texas; 2008 – 84-75 over No. 2 Kansas; 2008 – 75-54 over No. 10 Texas A&M
NO. 1500 –
The victory was KSU's 1,500th in school history. In 108 seasons, the Wildcats are 1,500-1,058 for a 58 percent winning mark. Also over 1,500 among Big 12 schools are Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Missouri.