The summer between Alec Burks' junior and senior years in high school, he grew four inches, going from a 6'2 guard to the 6'6 guard he is today. And as his height grew, so did interest from some of the bigger name schools around the region. But former Colorado Buffaloes head coach Jeff Bzdelik had been recruiting Burks for some years and had gained the confidence of the emerging star.
Though other offers were coming in, Burks stayed true to the team that had been by his side from the beginning and signed on to be a Buff, shunning schools like CU's second round Bug 12 Tournament opponent, the Kansas St. Wildcats.
But while the rest of the conference knows how impactful Burks can be for the Buffs, the Wildcats are one of the few Big 12 teams who have contained him.
In the two previous meetings between the schools this year - both CU victories - Burks has been limited to 20 combined points on 7-28 shooting. To stress how rare that is, in 17 Big 12 games this season, Burks has scored 20 or more points in 10 of those games and averages 19.5 points per game on the season.
It might be that Burks is trying too hard to show up a team that didn't start on his recruiting trail until late in the process, or maybe K-State has his number, whatever the case, the Buffs haven't needed his scoring in their regular season sweep of the Wildcats. Instead, Big 12 Sixth Man of the Year, Levi Knutson, stepped up in those two games, scoring 20 and 16 in the Buff wins.
But now K-State is on a roll. They have won six in a row and rose from the dead to grab the fourth seed in the conference. In fact, their last loss was in Boulder, and since have beaten the top of the conference in Kansas, Texas and Mizzou.
Led by an All Big 12 First Team teammate of Burks', Jacob Pullen, K-State is arguably the hottest team int eh Big 12, at the right time in the season.
If CU wants to win this one and head to the conference tournament Final Four, they will need Andre Roberson and Austin Dufault to play big down low. Besides Pullen, 6'8 forward Curtis Kelly is playing the best ball of the season and is a force down low. Contain Kelly, give Burks and Cory Higgins good looks, and there is no reason to believe the Buffs can't sweep the season series between these two schools.