Wildcats venturing down the Ferrell Center today, which can only mean one thing...
...we're going to need extra security around the visitor's bench just in case Frank Martin's building rage finally overcomes the last of the restraints he has been able to put in it's way. Seriously, look at that face. Can you believe that's his happy face? I was surprised, too, but I'm told his true angry face causes grown men to scream in terror and anybody wearing a black and white striped shirt to start bleeding internally.
Tim has already put up a great preview here and you can find more previews in the links after the jump. Baylor is favored by 7.5 today, which is probably more of a reflection on their play than our play since we last met. At stake for Kansas State is the chance to reverse their downward slide, get to .500 in conference play, remind the Selection Committee of good they were before this slide*, notch what would be by far their best win away from Bramlage Stadium, and for their players to be able to travel back home with a joyful man making the face noted in the picture (as opposed to his true angry face).
* Remember when Mizzou was thought of as a good team that probably didn't have the size to compete with Kansas, Baylor and maybe Kansas State this year in the Big12? And how we all got validation of this when Kansas State pummeled Mizzou at home 79-59 early in Big12 conference play? Yeah, me either.
At stake for Baylor is first and foremost to keep their streak going of only losing to (top 5 teams) Mizzou and Kansas. With the regular season conference title all but out of reach, the focus now should be on achieving the best seed possible in the tournament and finishing out the regular season as a confident and efficient team (I'd love to add 'who plays less zone defense' here, but I'm trying to be realistic). While quality wins count for more in college basketball than bad losses, the comments made about Baylor in the various power rankings this week suggest that, while they have been dropped for their recent losses, the power rankers will have an easier time forgetting those losses than for other teams and putting Baylor back up into the top 10.
Moreover, this is a great chance against the sort of team Baylor is likely to see in the NCAA Tournament. The dirty secret of the Big12 this year is that while there are some good teams at the top, there aren't very many good defensive teams. KenPom.com has Kansas at #4 in Adjusted Defense, but Kansas State is the only other team ranked in the top 30 (Baylor is #31). There are 3 Big10, 2 ACC, and 2 BigEast teams in the top 10. This is especially important because we've seen Baylor's offense bog down tremendously in recent weeks until the Iowa State game. This provides a chance for Baylor's offense to try to flex it's muscle against the sort of defenses that future Tournament opponents are likely to be bringing. Links after the jump...
First up, previews of the game today from around the web...
Stats in the Paint: Weekend outlook - College Basketball Nation Blog - ESPN
General preview of this weeks' action notes - Kansas State leads the Big 12 in second-chance points per game (16.3) and offensive rebounds per game (15.2) this season. Baylor ranks seventh in the Big 12 in defensive rebounding, grabbing 67.3 percent of available boards.
K-State has chance to solidify NCAA Tournament credentials - KansasCity.com
With five regular-season games remaining for the Kansas State basketball team, opportunities for quality wins — such as Saturday at No. 9 Baylor — are running out.
Rebounding and turnovers are key against Wildcats - Kansas State Wildcats - CBSSports.com RapidReports
Baylor coach Scott Drew on how to beat Kansas State: "They’re always known for their offensive rebounding ability and the great job they do on the glass. We gotta do a great job there. After that, their next thing is their defense can create a lot of turnovers."
KansasCity.com also takes an interesting look at foul calls in Big12 play this year. We may have to revisit this at some point.
Who gets the call? Charting fouls in the Big 12 - KansasCity.com
It depends on what measure you use, but MU, Texas and K-State enjoy foul advantages at home in Big 12 games, though Wildcat coach Frank Martin might disagree.
Finally, a little Brittney Griner love from Mechelle Voelpel..
Alright, that's all from here. Sic 'em Bears!