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IT'S K-STATE VS. WISCONSIN ... AGAIN

By Mark Janssen

TUCSON, Ariz. - The game was back on March 20, when Kansas State lost to Wisconsin 72-55 in the Qwest Center in Omaha, Neb., in the second round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament.

In that game Michael Beasley scored 23 and Bill Walker 18, but Jacob Pullen was held to four as the third highest scorer on the team.

On that contest, coach Frank Martin said, "It didn't help that we were 0-for the day shooting the basketball from outside 12 feet."

Badger coach Bo Ryan said that game of four years ago means zippo tonight: "I even forgot we played them in 2008. Pullen is the only guy that I can remember."

That's for good reason as K-State's No. 0 will be the only Wildcat in uniform tonight from that game three years ago, and it's an all-new cast of Badgers, as well.

Wisconsin senior Jon Leuer said, "Everyone has different roles. I don't think you can really base anything from that game."

And Wildcat Jamar Samuels added, "I wasn't even a Wildcat that day. New players making up new teams is the story in this one."

This one happens at 7:40 p.m. Central at the McKale Center on the Arizona campus and televised on TNT.

The winner advances to New Orleans next week for the Sweet 16 playing the winner of Butler and Pittsburgh.

COACH BO RYAN ON K-State: "What makes for good pressure is anticipation, length in the passing lanes and trying to get you to do things that you don't do every day. They've got players. That's how you keep it going. You have to keep getting guys who buy into your system and guys that can compete. Frank has done that."

COACH MARTIN ON WISCONSIN: "If you can speed up a Bo Ryan team, it will probably be the first time in 30 years that happens. Our challenge is to not allow Jordan Taylor (point guard) to get comfortable ... to not let him get rhythm."

PLAYING THE 'D': K-State's defense has held teams to 66.0 points per game, and seven times held foes to under 60 points.

Wisconsin allows just 58.3 points per game and has had 19 games where its opponent scored no more than 59 points.

KEY TO A WISCONSIN VICTORY: "We have to do exactly what they're trying to do, which is play at our own pace. Play at the pace that we're comfortable at. Just stay within ourselves and within our scheme," said Taylor.

BATTLE OF THE GUARDS: K-State has Jacob Pullen scoring 19.6 points per game; Wisconsin has Jordan Taylor netting 18.2 per game.

On the matchup, Pullen said, "We have to do a great job of defending the ball screen and keeping him in a position where he doesn't know what kind of defense we're playing. We have to keep him guessing."

Of the matchup, Taylor said, "Players like that (Pullen) can definitely bring out the best in you. You definitely have to bring you're A game. But at the end of the day it's about the team. They're not going to say Jacob Pullen moved on, or Jon Leuer or Jordan Taylor moved on, it's the team. It's all about what's on the front of your jersey."

Ryan said of the task of slowing Pullen, "We don't get into '... it's you against you, or you take him out and shut him down.' We don't do that because our defense is predicated on help and trying to get five guys guarding three guys. I learned that at a night clinic in Valley Forge, Penn., in the 1970s.

WILDCAT NUGGETS:
K-State has tied a single season-record of six wins over ranked teams this year.
K-State played seven times this season on a one- or two-day rest. In those second games, the Wildcats won five times. "With the importance of this game, I think energy shouldn't be a problem with us because we understand that any game now can be your last game," said Pullen.
K-State is 3-2 all-time in games against Wisconsin. The most recent win was in 1981.
A Big 12 team has not lost to a Big Ten team this year - 6-0.

WISCONSIN NUGGETS:
Jordan Taylor has a 4-to-1 ratio in assists to turnovers
Jon Leuer has been in twin figures in 38 straight games
Taylor and Leuer are first-team All-Big Ten players; Keaton Nankivil earned honorable mention honors
Wisconsin ranks first in the nation in fewest turnovers per game (7.4), assist-to-turnover (1.78), free-throw percentage (.824) and points per possession (1.19)
The Badgers are ninth in scoring defense (58.3).
The Badgers are 4-3 against ranked teams this year.
Two games ago, Wisconsin lost to Penn State 36-33.

PULLEN FEELING BETTER: After a battle with the flu bug on Wednesday and Thursday, Pullen said Friday that he was "feeling a lot better" after sleeping all day.

PULLEN ON MARTIN: "Frank is a loyal dude. At the end of the day, that's what you want your coach to be. He's an equal opportunity employer. If you don't come in to work every day and practice, your job will be taken from you. He holds everyone accountable."

UP NEXT: With a victory, K-State would next play on Thursday in New Orleans against the winner of the Pittsburgh-Butler game. Also still alive in the New Orleans bracket are Gonzaga, BYU, UCLA and Florida.

ONLY THE FOURTH TIME: This year marks only the fourth time in K-State history that both the men and the women will advance to the NCAA Tournament in the same season. The previous three seasons were in 2008, 1987 and 1982, which was the first year that the women played under the NCAA umbrella.

As then K-State coach Lynn Hickey recently said, "We were within one game of the Final Four that first year and didn't really know what we had done."

The women open NCAA play on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. in Storrs, Ct., against Purdue.

2011
Men: W - Utah State, 73-68

2008
Women:  W - Chattanooga, 69-59; L - Louisville, 80-63
Men:  W - USC, 80-67; L - Wisconsin, 72-55

1987
Women:  L - Northwestern, 62-61
Men:  W - Georgia, 82-79 OT; L - UNLV, 80-61

1982
Women:  W - Stephen F. Austin, 78-75; W - Old Dominion, 76-67; L - Cheyney State, 93-71
Men:  W - Northern Illinois, 77-68; W - Arkansas, 65-64; L - Boston College, 69-65


We hope you enjoy K-State Sports Extra. We would like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way. Contact either Mark Janssen at mjanssen7@cox.net, or Kansas State Director of Athletic Communications/SID Kenny Lannou at klannou@kstatesports.com. For those who would like to share Sports Extra with a friend or family member, or change your current email address, click here.