Sunflower Showdown Awaits K-State

K-State (13-15, 6-8 Big 12) is set on to take on No. 8/8 Kansas (22-5, 11-3 Big 12) this evening at 8 p.m., in Bramlage Coliseum.
Continuing a season filled with ups and downs, a winning performance in tonight's Sunflower Showdown would, no doubt, be a high point to the season.
"We have played pretty energized at home," said head coach Bruce Weber after the Wildcats' 69-42 loss at Baylor on Saturday afternoon. "Obviously it's a huge game, so hopefully we will rise to the occasion and match Kansas on Monday."
The last time the Wildcats and Jayhawks faced off, K-State fell, 68-57, a loss that can be credited to a poor first-half performance. A tale of two halves, K-State proved it had what it took to compete with the Jayhawks in the second 20 minutes as it outscored Kansas, 40-35, but it wasn't enough.
So, looking ahead to this evening, what does K-State have to do to come out on top tonight? 
Here are a few things K-State Sports Extra has determined as its keys to victory tonight for the Wildcats:
1. Start Strong
In the match-up in Allen Fieldhouse, the Wildcats opened the game shooting just 17.1 percent in the first half, the fifth-lowest shooting percentage in a half in school history. It put K-State in a deficit even a solid second-half performance couldn't fix. If the Wildcats want to find success on their home court tonight, the team will need to open the game strong and continue strong throughout the entirety of the game.
2. Eliminate Mistakes... Don't Beat Yourself!
Make free throws, eliminate turnovers; it may sound as simple as that, but those are areas the Wildcats have struggled in during this 2014-15 season. When it comes to free throws, K-State is ranked sixth in the Big 12 as the Cats are shooting 67 percent (447-of-667) from behind the charity stripe. K-State is also sixth in the conference when it comes to turnovers, averaging 13.5 per game. 
To come out on top tonight, K-State can't slip up the on the little mistakes.
3. Score, Score, Score
There is no relying on one person to do it all tonight. It's going to take a complete team effort in Bramlage Coliseum, and that effort needs to be led by the Wildcats' two seniors, Thomas Gipson and Nino Williams. The last time K-State faced Kansas, Gipson scored a team-high 19 points by taking advantage of the Jayhawks down low. Williams was coming off an injury in the last match-up. With Williams now healthy, the senior duo could pose a threat and provide needed low scoring action for the Cats. 
Along with Williams and Gipson, an unsung hero will need to emerge. Whether it's Stephen Hurt, Nigel Johnson or even Tre Harris - all three are players the Wildcats have seen step up at times this season - someone else will need to contribute. Last year when K-State downed Kansas, 85-82, at home, it was Will Spradling whose 15 points were just what the Wildcats needed to get the team over the top. 
And finally...
4. Bring the Doom
It's no hidden secret that Bramlage Coliseum - the Octagon of Doom - possesses a unique atmosphere to all those who visit. In a recent story by The Oklahoman, an Oklahoma student was quoted talking about the "crazy student section" at K-State. The student went on to say he wants the Oklahoma student section to be just like that. Why? Because it is effective.
Wildcat fans are passionate, excited and energetic, and, along with an exciting performance on the court from the team, it's going to take a jam-packed house tonight to help energize this year's Wildcat squad.
These "keys to victory" are simply what K-State Sports Extra has decided among the most important factors for success for the Wildcats tonight. However, as we've all seen time and time again, there are many factors that play into an outcome when it comes to the game of basketball.
And when it comes to rivalry games... well, that's another whole story.
For game notes and more information on tonight's game, please click here.

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 Kelly McHugh or K-State Assistant AD for Communications Kenny Lannou.