After a rough start to Big 12 play, Kansas State coach Frank Martin feels confident his squad will put forth a better effort in its next league game.
The No. 21 Wildcats look to bounce back from their latest loss Wednesday night while trying to continue their dominance over visiting Colorado, which aims to beat its second straight ranked opponent.Kansas State (12-4, 0-1) didn't play like a preseason conference favorite during its Big 12 opener, losing 76-62 at Oklahoma State on Saturday. The Wildcats, who have split their last six games, shot 34.8 percent and committed 21 turnovers that turned into 27 points for the Cowboys.Despite that effort, Martin believes his team will avoid dropping its first two league games for the second time in three seasons."It's our job to go teach our guys and understand the things that hurt us, why those mistakes cost you games," Martin said. "We'll do that."I'm not into predicting, but I think our guys will come back and be prepared and excited to go."Martin could have good reason to be optimistic.The Wildcats are looking for a 10th consecutive victory over Colorado, which has averaged 61.2 points and shot 41.5 percent during a five-game skid at Bramlage Coliseum.Colorado (12-4, 1-0), however, will be looking for a sixth straight win after beating then-No. 9 Missouri 89-76 on Saturday.The Buffaloes, who return all their starters from last season's 15-16 squad, shot 47.8 percent and outrebounded the Tigers 47-33."We know when we play as a unit, we play together, we feel like we can beat anybody in the country," said guard Cory Higgins, who had 18 points and 10 rebounds. "When we play defense together, we're hard to beat."Though the Buffaloes have a chance to win back-to-back games against Top 25 teams for the first time since January 1997, they are 1/3 in true road games this season. Two of those defeats came to San Francisco and Harvard."It is one thing to compete, but it is another thing to compete and win," coach Tad Boyle told Colorado's official website. "That is what you have to do and our guys did that (against Missouri). Now we have to go on the road and do that. That is the next hurdle for this program."Star sophomore Alec Burks, second in the league with 20.1 points per game, scored 36 against Missouri but has totaled 31 and shot 11 of 27 in two meetings with the Wildcats.Kansas State All-American Jacob Pullen combined for 44 points the last two contests after serving a three-game suspension for receiving impermissible benefits on the purchase of clothing at a local department store.He had 15 points and 10 assists in a 68-51 home win over Colorado on Feb. 13.Pullen's teammate Curtis Kelly had 12 points with 11 rebounds in that contest but will miss this one while serving the last of a five-game suspension for receiving the same benefits as Pullen.Guard Rodney McGruder scored 19 points against Oklahoma State and has averaged 16.8 while shooting 23 of 41 his last four games.This is the final meeting between the schools before Colorado heads to the Pac-12 in 2011-12.