'Cats Jump Into AP Poll at No. 17

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State earned its highest ranking since the 1987-88 season on Monday, as the Wildcats jumped into The Associated Press Top 25 poll for the first time this season at No. 17. 

The winners of six straight, including victories over two Top 25 squads, K-State (9-1) also appeared in the ESPN/USA Today poll at No. 22.  The team had been receiving votes in both polls since the preseason.  The Wildcats are ranked for the first time in the AP poll since the 2007-08 season when the squad was ranked No. 24 on Feb. 19, 2008.  K-State appeared in the poll eight times during the season, including 18th twice on Nov. 20, 2007 and Feb. 12, 2008.  The last time the team was ranked as high or higher than 17th was during the 1987-88 when the Wildcats were 14th on Feb. 9, 1988.  It is also the highest ranking prior to conference play since K-State was ranked No. 14 in the preseason poll in 1975.  

Kansas State is off to its best start since the 2004-05 team also went 9-1.  This is the 12th Wildcat squad to win nine or more games at this point in the season.  Only two other squads - the 1918-19 and 1947-48 teams - have a better record after 10 games.  The two wins over ranked non-conference teams are a first since the 1958-59 squad knocked off No. 4 N.C. State (69-67) and No. 14 St. Joseph's (68-55) on consecutive days on Dec. 19-20, 1958.  The team is one of four in school history to score 800 or more points in 10 games.       

Kansas State has become the talk of the college basketball world, as both ESPN's Andy Katz and Dick Vitale called the Wildcats their "Team of the Week."  Katz called the Wildcats "one of the best kept secrets."  This comes a week after Jay Bilas said that "nobody played harder than" K-State and that Denis Clemente was the "fastest player" in college basketball.  Media members Jeff Goodman (FOXSports.com) and Gary Parrish (CBS Sports.com) both ranked the Wildcats in their respective Top 20 polls, including 16th by Goodman and 17th by Parrish. 

Junior guard Jacob Pullen was honored for his outstanding play this past week by earning Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week honors for the first time in his career.  Pullen averaged 22.0 points on 48.1 percent shooting, including 52.9 percent from 3-point range, in helping the Wildcats to wins over Xavier and No. 18/17 UNLV.   He had a season-high 28 points against the Runnin' Rebels, including a career-best 7-of-10 effort from beyond the arc.  The seven 3-point field goals tied eight other players for the fourth-most by an individual in school history.  Pullen is 17 points shy of becoming the 21st player in school history to eclipse the 1,000-point barrier.

Kansas State will take a break this week for final exams before resuming play on Saturday against Alabama (6-3) at 8 p.m. CT in the Coors Classic at the Mitchell Center in Mobile, Ala.  The contest will be televised live on Ch. 98 in the state of Kansas to all Cox subscribers.