Who: Ole Miss (6-0 overall) vs. Kansas State (4-3)
When: Thursday 8pm
Where: Bramlage Coliseum; Manhattan, Kansas
TV: ESPN 2
After a rough time in Puerto Rico during the tournament, Kansas State Wildcats bounced back at home with an 87-54 win against Central Arkansas last Sunday. Shane Southwell tied his career high 19 points while freshman Marcus Foster adding in 10 points. Will Spradling and Nino Williams pitched in 9 points each.
K-State is going prime time Thursday night as the Big 12/SEC Challenge game comes to Bramlage Coliseum. The Wildcats will be facing off against the Ole Miss Rebels who feature three players who score at least 15 points. Head Coach Bruce Weber and the Cats will have to be ready for Henderson and his undefeated teammates, as the Rebels come to Manhattan at a record of 6-0 so far in 2013.
In the early going this season, the Wildcats have struggled getting off to quick starts. If K-State is going to protect their home floor with a win, they will need solid performances from the veteran players to compliment the talent youngster Foster.
Keys to the Game:
Attack the Boards
Thomas Gipson is starting to warm up for Kansas State offensively and defensively. In the last 3 games he has played in, Gipson has scored 53 points. Ole Miss, like everyone that K-State has played so far, it bigger than the Wildcats. Rebounding the basketball, and only allowing one possession for the Rebels is key in this game. It’s still early in the season, but this is a big game for the Wildcats.
Know Where Marshall Is:
Marshall Henderson shoots more than 7 three-pointers a contest, and makes three, so it is imperative to know where he is on the court at all times. Kansas State will have to keep someone in his grill at all times. Henderson averaged over 20 points a game a year ago but is getting more help from his teammates this season. This doesn’t mean he is any less dangerous because he is averaging 5 less points an outing.
In Kansas State’s last game against Central Arkansas, the Cats began with 12-2 run early on. Ole Miss is a totally different opponent – more of the type of team that K-State will be dealing with once they get into conference play. It will be very important for Weber’s team to get off on the right foot in this game, and keep the home crowd fired up.
Attendance has been very poor this season for Kansas State but if a good, rowdy crowd shows up for a name opponent with a star player, maybe Bramlage can be a big factor in tonight’s game. If the stands are half empty, as has been the case thus far, it could be discouraging for the Wildcat players, and play a role in their performance.