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2011 NCAA Tournament Preview: 5-Seed Kansas State vs. 12-Seed Utah State

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Can Frank Martin once again lead K-State to a deep tournament run?
Can Frank Martin once again lead K-State to a deep tournament run?

The Kansas State Wildcats hope on Thursday night they are not a victim of the dreaded #5 vs #12 upset special that everyone looks for in their bracket picks. The Wildcats finished the year off in strong fashion and were the only Big 12 team seemingly loved up by the selection committee, other than Kansas who was an obvious #1 seed.

K-State's opponent will be the Utah State Aggies who went 30-3 and won the WAC Conference. Virtually all the pundits feel that Utah State got a raw deal in their seeding and comments made immediately after the selection show by Aggie players echoed the same sentiment.

The Aggies sport the WAC Conferences player of the year in 6'7" Taj Wesley who averages 14.7 points and 8 rebounds a game. In total the Aggies have seven players who average over 20 minutes of playing time. Two other players besides Wesley average in double figures in points, Brockeith Pane and Brian Green.

The Wildcats will need to not put their entire defensive focus on Wesley down low as Green is a lethal three point shooter. On the season he has connected on 75 of 159 attempts for a 47.2% average from long range. K-State has had a problem leaving shooters open at times during the course of the season so watch for this during the game.

For K-State the gameplan shouldn't change as they will try to feed the ball to Curtis Kelly and allow Jacob Pullen to make plays for himself and create shots for teammates. If the Wildcats want to advance they will need Rodney McGruder and Will Spradling to continue to make some outside shots.

Two players whom Frank Martin would love to step up in this game and contribute would be Jamar Samuels and Martavious Irving. With Samuels this could be the type of game where he might have an athletic advantage over the Aggies which would allow him to grab some offensive rebounds. Irving on the otherhand will be counted on to play tough defense and if he could knock down a three pointer it would greatly help K-State.

Another X-Factor for K-State will be the play of Jordan-Henriquez Roberts who with his size should be able to disrupt the smaller Aggies down low.

If you are going to watch this game plan on staying up late as it is the last game of the day on Thursday. Tip Time is scheduled for 8:57 central time and the game will be broadcast on TruTV.