January 22, 2008

Buffs to test Cats' perfect mark

Kansas State, 2-0 in conference play for the first time in 15 years, will be in search of its fourth consecutive victory when it heads west for a Wednesday showdown with Colorado. The upcoming meeting with the Buffaloes will be a chance for Coach Frank Martin's Wildcats to join some exclusive company, as no K-State team has opened the conference season with three consecutive victories since the 1987-88 season, which, maybe not so coincidently, ended with a spot in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.



Before K-State starts to so much as think about emulating that team's postseason success, however, it must avoid a letdown against a 9-8 Colorado team has no marquee victory of which to speak. Even still, Wednesday's game is an all important conference clash, and as Martin has told his so many times, "there is no such thing as easy games in the Big 12."



"Colorado isn't a bad team," said K-State freshman guard Jacob Pullen. "There are no bad teams in the Big 12. Anybody is capable of beating anybody on any given night. It's just how you prepare for teams. You can't overlook teams like Colorado."



The Buffaloes' recent improvement has everything to do with the play of star senior Richard Roby. The California native has averaged just less than 20 points in the team's last eight games, and as he goes, so goes Colorado. The 6-foot-6 Roby has poured in 15 or more points in seven of his team's nine wins, despite being the focal point of opponent's defensive strategies, and K-State must be aware of his position on the floor at all times if they hope to avoid a damaging upset.



But the Buffs are more than just a one-man show.



Xavier Silas and Marcus Hall, who along with Roby to provide the bulk of the Buffaloes' backcourt production, are also averaging double-figure scoring totals this season. The guard trio is a formidable one, as it is responsible for nearly 64 percent of Colorado's scoring output, so extra emphasis will be put on the Wildcats' ability to defend the perimeter Wednesday, a responsibility that will fall on the shoulders of defensive specialist Blake Young and the rest of the K-State backcourt.



"You've got to be sound," Martin said of the keys to stopping the Buffaloes' sharp-shooting guards. "You can't make mistakes. You've got to have great communication to make sure you get through their screens and guard these guys the right way."

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