February 13, 2007
Slowing Maric remains key for Cats
LINCOLN, Neb. - The last time the Kansas State Wildcats tangled with the Nebraska Cornhuskers, the Cats did a good job of bogging down NU center Aleks Maric and after a back-and-forth game filled with poor shooting, pulled away for a 61-45 victory in Bramlage Coliseum.
With the two teams preparing to meet tonight for the second time this season, two questions loom for the Wildcats. First, can they again limit the effectiveness of Nebraska's 6-foot-11 center, and, second, will the Wildcats be able to win at Nebraska's Devaney Center?
Maric, a junior from Sydney, Australia, enters the game averaging 16.6 points and 7.7 rebounds. He is the heart-and-soul of a Nebraska attack that relies on his inside threat to open up a potent perimeter game. Freshman Ryan Anderson leads that outside attack with his 11 points per game.
"They are going to do the same thing they did before, really spread us then isolate the big guy," K-State coach Bob Huggins said. "They move him; he doesn't just stand there. They do a lot of things to get him an angle. We have to do a good job of preparing so our big people don't give him angles. Then they'll pack it back in like they did here, and if we don't make any more shots than we did, we'll have a hard time again like we did against them here."
Maric aside, this Wildcat team, with its 18-7 overall record, knows the importance of winning on the road again if it wants to earn an NCAA Tournament bid. K-State is now 3-2 in Big 12 Conference road games (7-3 overall), but its last road game was a lackluster 97-70 loss at Kansas.
K-State expects to get back into the comfortable road rhythm that helped it lose by only four at Texas A&M before winning at Missouri, Iowa State and Texas.
"We're not fearing going into somebody else's gym. We're able to play and do what we want to do," senior guard Lance Harris said. "Coach preaches all the time that you've got to be fearless and do what you want to do."
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