Cats to 'Mess with Texas' - Preview

Kevin Durant is the best player in the Big 12 Conference. He is arguably the best player in the country, and he is waiting in Austin, Texas, for the Kansas State men's basketball team.

The freshman phenom and his Texas Longhorns (16-5 overall, 6-1 Big 12 Conference) will play host to the red-hot Wildcats (16-6, 5-2 Big 12) Saturday at 2:30 in the Erwin Center.

Texas is riding a three-game win streak that includes a 76-64 victory over Texas Tech Wednesday. Durant played every minute of the game and had easily the best game of his young career.

He scored 37 points on 15-of-29 shooting with five three-pointers. He also grabbed a career-high 23 rebounds, making him just the second player ever in the history of the Big 12 to record at least 30 points and 20 rebounds in a single game.

He now has 13 double-doubles this season, and one more would give him the all-time record for most double doubles in a season by any Big 12 player.

"Thirty-seven and 23, huh?" said junior David Hoskins after being told of Durant's performance Wednesday against the Red Raiders. "That pretty much speaks for itself. He is an amazing player but we know we can find a way to shut him down. We're playing really good basketball right now, and going into Texas just gives us an opportunity to get a quality win against a quality opponent."

K-State has been playing well lately, so well in fact that the Wildcats own the longest current win streak in the conference at six games.

Durant isn't the only quality player that will be stepping onto the court. K-State has some decent players as well.

Junior David Hoskins is leading the team during conference play with 17.6 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. He has scored in double digits in 15 consecutive games. Senior Cartier Martin is right behind Hoskins with 13 points per game. Martin has also been the best free throw shooter in the Big 12, hitting 94 percent of his attempts from the line.

These two players lead the Wildcats, but neither one of them will be guarding Durant initially. That tough assignment will be given to senior Akeem Wright. He plays hard-nosed defense and is considered to be the best on-ball defender for K-State while leading the team in rebounding at eight boards a game.

"He's more of a jump shooter than he is a driver, and a big key will be not letting him drive past me," Wright said about Durant. "I gotta get up in him and make him pass the ball. He's a good player and he's going to make some shots, but we just have to be able to limit how many shots he makes."

A win against Texas would go along way as far as the Wildcats' NCAA Tournament hopes are concerned. K-State hasn't defeated a ranked opponent and this would bolster the team's RPI, which is currently set at 49.

"If you're gonna work as hard as we do, then you might as well win. I know this, if we keep winning then we'll get in," K-State coach Bob Huggins said. "That I can control, but I can't control what those guys are looking for in tournament teams. We are gonna go do what we're gonna do, and hopefully that's good enough."

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