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No. 25 K-State Prepares for No. 22 OSU in Big 12 Opener


GO WILDCATS
Sophomore Nino Williams scored a career-high 16 points in the win over South Dakota on Monday.

GO WILDCATS
Sophomore Nino Williams scored a career-high 16 points in the win over South Dakota on Monday.
GO WILDCATS

Jan. 2, 2013

No. 25 Kansas State (11-2) will open its Big 12 Conference slate on Saturday with a game against No. 22 Oklahoma State (10-2) at Bramlage Coliseum at 12:30 p.m.  It will be the just the third time that the two schools have met when both are ranked in the Top 25 and the first time since 1958.  A limited number of single-game tickets are available through the Athletics Ticket Office at (800) 221.CATS or online at www.kstatesports.com/tickets

Head coach Bruce Weber

On his team's readiness for Big 12 play...
"I am not sure until you get there. I thought we had made some progress up to the Florida game, and then you have some setbacks with the traveling and the injuries. I did not like the setup of the schedule going into it. Now you have a little time here and next week to allow Angel (Rodriguez) and Martavious (Irving) to get back. Hopefully we can take advantage of that. This is the last time where you can really have some practice time. Today we can go a little harder and not have to worry about being rested for the game. Tomorrow you can go decent and Friday is obviously preparation. It is the same thing next week. You have a couple of days where you can still continue to build your foundation. We have to see what happens with Tay and Angel. They went a little bit today and hopefully we will see how they react tomorrow. We need them, we can grind and fight without them but if we are going to be really good, we need those guys. It  would be nice to have both of them healthy but I think I need the seniors to play well. It is their team and season. When they all played well, we beat Florida. If that happens on a consistent basis, we can be good."

On Oklahoma State's backcourt...
"To me it is amazing. Not only are they good offensively, but they are good defensively. I think last year if you watched them, it was a question mark for their team. With three freshmen playing, they were pretty good defensively. They keep talking about (Marcus) Smart being one of the best leaders. I was around him a little bit with USA Basketball. He has a great attitude and work ethic. He played every day. He did not care if it was the beginning of practice or the end of practice, he plays at the same level. They have some depth and versatility. Smart can hurt you in a lot of ways. (Phil) Forte can really shoot and (Markel) Brown gives them some athleticism. I am impressed by their bigs, length and defense."

Senior Rodney McGruder
On Big 12 play...
"I am excited and cannot wait. The other day before we played I was watching a couple of games and it just got me amped and ready for conference play to start. I try to accomplish things that I have not accomplished the three years prior to this year. I am excited."

On Oklahoma State...
"They are a great team. We just have to come out and bring it. They are coming into our home and we have to protect our home court. I look forward to it."

On the importance of a quick start and getting the crowd involved...
"It is very important, but they have played on the road and in different environments. They have played against Top 15 teams as well so they will be ready and we just need to bring it."

On playing without Angel and Martavious the last two games...
"We learned a lot, it is just how to get shots without guys creating for you and things like that. It has just been a switch up in the offense."

Junior Shane Southwell
On Big 12 play...
"I am ready. Our team is ready and we just had a great practice. We did a little bit of preparation for them. They are a really good team. I do not know if they are still in the Top 25 after their loss, but they played well and they honestly should have won that game. It is a big game and I am ready to play."

On his knowledge of Oklahoma State's backcourt players...
"All three of them are from Texas I believe. I did not get to see them in AAU. I watch college basketball a lot so I do my scouting on my own. I know how they play but all three of them are really good. Smart is a great point guard/combo guard. He is athletic and can do it all. Forte is like a mini Keiton Page. Le'Bryan Nash is a pro once he gets it all together. We just have to be locked in and play."

On the emphasis of defense for this game...
"Every game it is. Especially with how athletic they are because anybody on their team can go and everybody can jump and score. Everybody has to play individual and team defense.":

On offensive rebounding and second chance points...
"That is something that we do and it is one of our biggest strengths. Defense and offensive rebounding are our strengths. We just have to keep doing it and keep fighting. We need to get on the glass and keep pounding teams out."