Tonight in Kansas City, the #11 Kansas State Wildcats get their first chance to show the country that they are better than they looked against Florida on Saturday. It will be a tough task though facing former K-Stater Lon Kruger and his Runnin Rebels of UNLV who had previously been ranked in the Top 25.
The Wildcats enter with a 9-2 record while UNLV comes in at 10-2. In last years contest in Las Vegas, the Wildcats rode the outside shooting of Jacob Pullen and others to cruise to a 95-80 victory.
Both squads enter the game looking to increase their field goal percentages as cold shooting as been a problem for each. In their last game against the Gators, KSU only shot 27.3% while being held to just 44 points. In a loss last Wednesday to UC Santa Barbara, the Rebels shot 29% from the floor.
The Rebels are led by Chace Stanback who comes in averaging 13.7 points a game. One player to keep an eye on is freshman Carlos Lopez who hadn't done much to start the year but in the Rebels last game he had a double double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
K-State once again will look to see if Jacob Pullen can find his missing three point touch. If he continues to struggle, Frank Martin will have to play with his rotation to find some consistent outside scoring. Nick Russell begin the year starting alongside Pullen but he has been demoted as of late in favor of Will Spradling but lately he has not provided a consistent scoring threat opposite Pullen.
A big key not only for this game but also moving forward will be to get Jamar Samuels and Curtis Kelly involved in a positive way on the offensive end. They both have been playing adequate defense but K-State cannot survive Kelly and Samuels failing to score on the offensive end.
Kansas State on paper looks like the better team and will be playing in front of a partisan crowd. If K-State can discover their shooting touch on the familiar rims of the Sprint Center they should be able to get back into the victory column. The fear among Wildcat fans is the cold shooting isn't just a fluke but something that will be fought all year long.