Unheralded Colorado today, followed by undefeated and No. 1 Texas on "Big Monday." But no … absolutely no, Wildcat coach Frank Martin says, will his club look past the task at hand against the Buffaloes.
"I'd rather worry about Texas after a win, than worry about Texas after a loss (to CU) because we were not prepared. Texas is meaningless to us," said Martin. "Beating Texas before we play Colorado is not going to happen. For us to worry about Texas now would be wasting our time and energy."
"We're treating them like Kansas, or Texas, or Xavier. They're the next game on our schedule," Martin said. "There is nothing more important than going in there and playing right and playing well. There isn't an easy game left on our schedule."
CU opened the year with a loss to No. 2 Texas, followed by a 78-71 victory over No. 24 Baylor on Wednesday. Now the Buffs face No. 13 K-State.
CU is a perfect 9-0 at home, and averaging 81 points per game at the Events Center compared to 72 points per game in their seven road games. "I don't think we're mild anymore," said CU coach Jeff Bzdelik, reflecting on an early-season reference to his team.
"We are a whole different team. We have a whole different swagger on this team compared to the ones in the past."
Of CU's offense, Martin says, "They're hard to play. It's like a football team that plays against a spread offense, spread offense, spread offense, and then you go play an option team. It's hard."
Martin went on to say, "They have as good of an offensive starting five as anybody in the league as far as skills at all five spots. They were just puppies in their system two years ago, last year they came close, and now they've turned the corner."
CU's offense starts with 6-5 junior Corey Higgins, who averages 18.2 points per game, while 6-6 freshman Alec Burks is averaging 16.6 per game.
"Higgins is a possible all-league player, and then they add a 6-6 guard who can shoot it, pass it and rebound like Burks does," Martin said. "They space you out, and then all of their guys have the ability to dribble-drive. Then if you foul them, they make every free throw (77 percent)."
Burks just happens to be the only true-freshman in the country to have scored in twin figures in every game this year. With a minimum of 15 games yet to be played, Burks' 265 points is just one off the all-time Top 10 chart for freshmen in CU history, and, his 16.6 scoring average as a freshman ranks second only to Chauncey Billups (17.9 in 1995-96) in scoring average for a rookie.
Higgins and Burks are the highest scoring 1-2 punch in the Big 12 this season at 34.8 points per game, while K-State's duo of Jacob Pullen (19.8) and Denis Clemente (14.9) are next at 34.7 points per game.
Kansas State currently ranks No. 3 in this week's Real Time RPI listing, with a strength-of-schedule ranking of No. 8.
Ahead of the Wildcats are West Virginia and Duke, while Kansas, Syracuse, Villanova, Pitt, Temple, Wisconsin and Texas make up the top 10. No one in the top 10 has a higher strength of schedule than the Wildcats.