Cats Ready To Pounce on Tigers

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State rolls into Big 12 Conference play Saturday at Missouri on a 10-game winning streak and holder of a No. 10 national ranking entering the week. Fans are high on this edition of K-State basketball, and even the players are hyping the team as Jacob Pullen says the Wildcats are among the best first teams in America.

The non-conference portion of this 2009-10 edition of Kansas State basketball is now in the books, and what a start to the season it has been.

• K-State is 13-1 … its best start since the 25-1 start of the 1958-59 Wildcat team of Bob Boozer, Wally Frank and Don Matuszak.

• The Wildcats have won 10 games in a row … their longest string since 1997-98.

• KSU went unbeaten in the month of December (7-0) for only the eighth time in school history, and only the third time since 1950.

• K-State has won 23 straight non-conference home games, and 22 straight home games in the month of December.

In the words of coach Frank Martin, "I'm pleased. We're where we want to be."

Where K-State is this week is No. 10 in the ESPN Coaches Poll and No. 11 in the AP Top 25 listing.

Kansas State rose in both major polls on Monday, as the Wildcats jumped two spots to No. 10 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll and one spot to No. 11 in The Associated Press Top 25.

The No. 10 ranking is the highest ever in the ESPN listing, which dates back to the early-1990s, and the No. 11 ranking in the AP poll is the highest since head coach Jack Hartman led the Wildcats to a No. 9 ranking in the poll on March 13, 1973 with a 23-5 record. In addition, it is the highest ranking prior to conference play since K-State was ranked No. 10 in the preseason poll in 1965.

To this start, Martin says, "I'm happy our core guys are taking the pride in leading this basketball team. We're not having to correct a lot of mistakes and we're not worrying about effort. Our core guys are doing things the right way."

Not only has K-State won, but six of the victories have against Top 100 RPI teams bringing Jacob Pullen to say, "I think we're a top-five team."

Pullen adds of the list of accomplishments, "This means a lot. It means our hard work is paying off for us. I don't think anybody but Wally (Judge) is a McDonalds all-American, so while we have talent, it's more of a group of players working hard. Frank has put a great group of people together and we've bonded. Nobody is selfish. We're passing the ball well and playing well off each other."

Junior Dominique Sutton agreed that the K-State locker room was taking pride in the team's early accomplishments.

"Going back two years, nobody thought we would be this good because Mike (Beasley) and Bill (Bill) were gone. It just shows that all the hard work that we put in during the summer and practices have paid off. If we continue, I think we'll be very successful."

Kansas State started the season unranked in the national polls and picked for fourth place in the Big 12 Conference.

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