Bragging rights are on the line for Chris Zerbe today when Kansas meets Kansas State in men's basketball.
"I know about half that team," said Zerbe, an Andover native who played on a high school summer league team with KSU's Donnie Wallace, Quentin Buchanan and Travis Reynolds several years ago. "An ex-girlfriend of mine lives in Manhattan. I'd go see her and I'd hang out with Joe Leonard a lot and Matt Siebrandt, too."
Zerbe, who played the last two years at Hutchinson CC, was not recruited by Kansas State. He said he likely would have accepted a walk-on spot on Kansas' team even if KSU had offered him a scholarship.
"It's the program I watched growing up," Zerbe said of KU. "Very rarely was a K-State game on TV. I wouldn't watch them unless they were playing KU or Wichita State."
Zerbe says the Wildcats (8-8, 2-3) will be pumped up for today's 3:05 p.m. game at KU (16-1, 5-0).
"They are a Kansas school. We are a Kansas school. We are known for our basketball. They are known for football. I think they want to show us they can hoop, too," Zerbe said.
KU junior Brett Ballard, a 6-foot guard from Hutchinson, grew up a big-time KU supporter.
"I've always kind of hated K-State," Ballard said. "I'm definitely looking forward to playing them. I know more about the (KU-KSU) rivalry than the California guys."
KU's basketball players tease Zerbe about his facial resemblance to singer Ricky Martin.
"We call him, 'Livin' La Vida Zerbe,''' KU center Eric Chenowith said. "He is Ricky Martin."
"I don't think I look anything like him," Zerbe said. "The whole team calls me, 'Ricky.'''
Colorado point guard Jose Winston is questionable for today's game against Oklahoma State. Winston hit his head on the floor after getting fouled by KU's Nick Collison in the second half of Monday's KU-CU game in Boulder, Colo. It was ruled an intentional foul on Collison.
"He doesn't remember much (from the game)," CU coach Ricardo Patton told Colorado writers this week. "He hasn't been able to practice, so that certainly doesn't help him. And it doesn't help us to practice without him.
"I did think it was a very hard foul. I know he hit his head pretty hard."
North Carolina coaching legend/KU grad Dean Smith will attend today's KU-KSU game. Smith was in Topeka on Friday to receive an award from the Kansas Native Sons and Daughters. The last time he watched a KU game in the fieldhouse was on Feb. 8, 1998, when the Jayhawks beat Missouri, 80-70, in conjunction with KU's 100 years of basketball celebration.