Sunday, December 17, 2006


Keegan: KU, WSU should meet


The best place to put the over-under on when one of the callers to Bill Self's weekly radio show will ask the question that's asked every week is about nine minutes. The coach gives his answer, which is really a waste of time because no answer can make the question disappear.

Why won't Kansas University play Wichita State in basketball?

Before Self, Roy Williams discontinued the series, perhaps in part because he was outraged at the behavior of the Wichita crowd in the last trip there. All over America coaches at elite programs do the same. The thinking is that the bigger school has nothing to gain, because a victory will be taken for granted, and everything to lose.

If Washington had it to do over again, it wouldn't have scheduled Gonzaga, which has won eight of the last nine meetings and has been written out of the Huskies' schedule.

Plus, in this computer age, every result is measured against every other result in determining a computer ranking. A Wichita State that plays Kansas is going to be a better team than a computer could capture because the Shockers would be so fired up to win emotion would be worth a few extra points. Kansas already faces that agenda factor because of what a victory against Kansas would mean to those schools. That factor would increase because of the geography and history of playing in such an enormous shadow.

Wichita State would want the series to be home-and-home, but since the school doesn't get to play Kansas at all, it would behoove the Shockers to rethink that position and enter negotiations for a four-year series in which the first three games are played in Lawrence, the fourth in Wichita.

It's easy to see why Self and other powerhouse coaches wouldn't want to take such games. It's also easy to see where the businessmen at both schools would be against a three-for-one, but if you're the guy at home keeping score, who really cares what the coach and bean counters think?

The fans would love the game, and so would the players. Unfortunately, in college athletics, the fans and players don't have much of a say.

At this particular time, the emotional edge Wichita State normally would take into the game would be negated by one KU would have in its favor: Wichita State is ranked ahead of the Jayhawks in the polls.

KU junior guard Russell Robinson, as mature an individual as there is on the team, can always be counted on to give a straight-

forward answer to a question.

"I think it would be a good game," Robinson said. "I think the fans would enjoy it. I think it would be good for the state of Kansas. Especially with them being so good recently, I think it would be good."

What about the nothing-to-gain-and-everything-to-lose theory?

"Even though we you can say we might not have anything to gain, I think it would be good for the state of Kansas, and they have good talent, so we'd definitely get something good out of the game. We'd get up for that game just because we want to keep our fans in Wichita happy."

Well said. Both sides need to get together, hammer something out and put an end to the question. Instead, the finals-week gap in the schedule ends Tuesday with a game in Allen Fieldhouse against, drum roll, please ... Winston-Salem State.


JBurtin 11 years, 4 months ago


This is laughable. Some midmajor team (WSU) gets to a sweet sixteen and gets beat by another mid major (George Mason) and suddenly they think they are all that and a bag of chips.

Newsflash, despite KU's recent tournament struggles, most KU fans consider only getting to a sweet sixteen to be a rather disappointing tourney showing.

The easiest way to deal with WSU fans is to simply ignore them, let them have their moment in the spotlight, and then forget about them completely when their team falls back off the face of the planet.

Mark Turgeon has done a fine job at WSU and if he can keep it up WSU fans will get a rude awakening about where their team really stands in college basketball. If they have another good tournament showing a MAJOR program is going to offer him a ton of money and he will leave them choking on the dust of their own mediocre program.

Maybe WSU could give KU a run for their money this year, you know what, I don't care. Even if we did schedule them for next year, by the time we played Turg would likely be long gone and so would all of their talent. In short, a couple of unusually good years does not constitute and in-state rivalry worthy of a four game series.

Nutflush21 11 years, 4 months ago

Did you guys choose not to read this article and then post a comment anyway? Self is not a "wimp" for not scheduling WSU. Like the article says WE HAVE NOTHING TO GAIN AND EVERYTHING TO LOSE. If KU won everyone would say, well they were supposed to... and if KU lost is would look devastating much like the Oral Bob loss because the MVC is not a major conference despite their success in basketball. This is why mid-majors struggle to schedule marquee home and home series. Besides we offered the Shockers a 3 for 1 deal and they declined.

Sanity 11 years, 4 months ago

If, before the season KU/Winston Salem or KU/Toledo game was scheduled, WSU was offered either of those game shots on a one time basis, would the game have been scheduled by WSU? Of coure the answer is "No." WSU, with a history of mediocracy, unless one goes back to a time nearly before Turgeon was born, refused an opportunity to schedule any contest with KU that was not based on a equal home/away split that they had not earned. <---(That's a period!)

How convenient that suddenly, a bunch of newly inflated chest thumpers act like KU was avoiding WSU. Afterall, these fans actually boost their own mental sense of self worth by throwing the recent success of the team they choose to root for, into the face of fans who root for other teams whose history of successes, they can only envy. It is kind of like K-State claiming they were historically an elite football program, before they had even won the big 12. WSU has now experienced players. The Valley is now on the rise. But in a world where WU's bean counters historically watched as Washburn, Pittsburg, Ft. Hays, and Emporia challenged KU in games, that as Russel Robinson said were "...good for the state of Kansas," WSU has zero right to claim that the university of Kansas is avoiding their Shockers.

It is not surprising that the question comes several times weekly on the radio show. Chest puffing wannabe's get even more endorphins thrusting their shockers onto the airwaves, much like the antlers use the obscene to make the contest about them instead of the players.

Should they know better? I don't think the 19 and 20 year old kids should be expected to "know better" anymore than I would expect KU's youthful basketball players to play like seniors early in the season. I would expect their elders to grow up and get a life based on reality.

But the real shame for this whole issue is the media's constant needed to sell soap by fueling controversy. If a paper reports that WSU is successful, reports that WSU turned down the offers they had historically earned, reports what Bill Self's answer to the question of a series on WSU's terms, and reports WSU fans dissatisfaction of that issue, why must they keep treating the question like it is news? It isn't. It is however an attempt justify their paychecks, by lazily writing about controversy at a time that news is hard to come by. It is far more difficult for LJW staff to research stories about the character and background of WU players, than it is to dash off something that fuels the false egos of people unable to walk tall on their own true identities.

It is time to call things what they are!

Marcia Parsons 11 years, 4 months ago

So Bill Self is neither a competitor nor a winner. Can you say Florida?

doctorWho 11 years, 4 months ago

I have to disagree with the author's statement:

"Plus, in this computer age, every result is measured against every other result in determining a computer ranking. A Wichita State that plays Kansas is going to be a better team than a computer could capture because the Shockers would be so fired up to win emotion would be worth a few extra points."

Really? Have you taken a look at the RPI the last two years? How about this week? There are two types of computer rankings, those that are like the RPI and only account for wins and losses. The other type accounts for margin of victory. The last two years KU has ranked well behind WSU in the RPI-type computer rankings early in the season. Since the RPI is the only one that is supposed to impact the selection committee, it is the one pertinent to a discussion of nonconference scheduling. As of today, WSU is ranked #3 in the nation in Ken Pomeroy's recreation of the RPI and KU is #45. Last year KU finished #20 in the RPI and WSU #27, though KU was ranked well behind WSU in the RPI much of the season. Of course, in prior years KU was ranked well ahead of WSU in the RPI, but then WSU sucked in prior years.

The author's argument that WSU is going to be "so fired-up" to win applies to a great many teams. The fact of the matter is that KU exposes themselves every year to a "diamond in the rough" and they frequently have one or two of them bit them. Lately, bites have been delivered in early March.

I can't blame KU for not scheduling WSU, but I wish they would. The game draws a lot of regional interest and if WSU gets fired up for it, then maybe KU's players would too. If KU's problem against a team like Oral Roberts or DePaul is that they just can't get charged-up for a weaker opponent, maybe the emotion of an in-state rivalry will juice-up their dead batteries.

Somebody should.

Saad Saifeddine 11 years, 4 months ago

i think playing WSU would be good for us. they're a decent team. I'm sure it's better than playing Winston Sa-Lame State!

KanKu 11 years, 4 months ago

Wichita State can thank KU for their good team. Obviously a former KU player is their coach, one who brought all of his knowledge from his playing days at KU and under a Hall-of-Fame coach in Larry Brown.
Also, arguably WSU's best player, Kyle Wilson, left Illinois to join the Shockers because Bill Self left Illinois.

My point is that WSU owes a lot of it's recent success to KU. They should return the favor by playing in a 3-1 series. Living in Wichita I know what WSU fans say, and they should leave their ego's about their team at the door and stop whining about KU "dodging" WSU.

drsogr 11 years, 4 months ago

In my personal opinion, I see no reason why WSU should have to take a 3 for 1 series with KU just to get to play KU. At the same token I don't see why KU you should have to do it either. It doesn't make sense for either college at this time. Personally I would love to see this game though, it should be played year in-year out as a home - home. Its not a matter of past success or pride, its a matter of 2 state-funded university playing a game for the state of Kansas.

I have been a huge supporter of KU basketball in the past, but I am starting to move over to the "dark side". If anyone wants to see a team that plays with heart, a team that shows up to play every game. They should check out the shockers. They have learned how to play the game...mind you with no McDonalds All-Americans.

I seriously think that KU made a huge mistake when they did not hire Turgeon. Can you imagine what that man could do with some "talent." Turgeon can flat out coach!

tomike 11 years, 4 months ago


After KU has scheduled to play two USCs, Geogia Tech, after KU has played UF, UK, Michigan State, and after KU has made it known that KU is going to play UA, and hope to play Duke, who the hell WSU is?

If you are a fan of WSU, it's ok but please do not comment here. Otherwise, I doubt your mental health.

youngitized 11 years, 4 months ago

Who the heck cares? I don't. You play the games that are on the schedule, no IAB's (if, and, but) about it. Accept the schedule.

jaybate 11 years, 4 months ago

Nonconference games are scheduled for some combination of five reasons.

  1. get a cupcake to build confidence.

  2. play a tough team to get tuned up for the conference season.

  3. play a prestige program to get some street cred for recruiting and build the RPI.

  4. play in a locale you want to recruit in.

  5. get a game back near one of your player's home towns so his parents can see him play during the year.

Northern Arizona is a cupcake tune up.

Florida is a prestige program from an area--Florida--that we'd like to recruit.

DePaul is an up and down program in Chicago, a town we have to keep recruiting in and it gets Julian and Sherron a game their parents can attend.

Toledo is a cupcake in Ohio, a region we need to start recruiting in--we've missed out on all that talent for years now.

Winston Salem is in Roy's backyard and its a message to Roy that because he messed around with Tyrel Reed we're coming into his back yard to start recruiting.

And so on. Each game has a purpose.

So what purpose would WSU fulfill next year?

We don't need to play the Shockers to recruit there.

WSU will probably be weak next year from graduation, so they could be a cup cake. But why not play a cupcake from a region we'd like to establish more recruiting clout in?

If we ever have any players from Wichita, their parents probably see every game in Allen Field House anyway.

WSU doesn't get us anything. And if they're as good as everyone seems to think, then we'll probably see them in the NCAA tourney.

mom_of_three 11 years, 4 months ago

We have everything to lose and nothing to gain by playing WSU. Yes, WSU is having a good year, and is doing great in all the rankings and standings. But it doesn't make them a premiere program yet.
Kansas is a premiere program. We go to the NCAA tournament every year. We should be able to select the terms on playing lower level program teams.
If WSU continues on its winning ways, then we can question why KU doesn't play WSU.

wilsonj 11 years, 4 months ago


Note Kyle Wilson left Illinois prior to Self leaving, not because Self left.

Lance Hobson 11 years, 4 months ago

"Everything to lose?" Like the National Championship? Our bball program? What? That's stupid rationale for not playing a game that obviously needs to be played. KU shouldn't shy away from any opponent, and certainly should be playing the best teams in our own state. That's what college athletics and rivalries are all about.

Rock_Chalker 11 years, 4 months ago

You're a moron jimjones...what's Self scared of? Are you kidding me? He schedules teams like Florida, Kentucky, Boston College, South Carolina (which plays pretty tough), etc. and you say he's scared. Give me a break. Would I like to have seen KU and Wichita State play this year, yeah...but just because the game wasn't schedule doesn't mean Self is scared.

By the way, the man can coach and that's why he's coaching the University of Kansas basketball program and not YOU!

DocBean 11 years, 4 months ago

I say anyone, anywhere, anytime.

If WSU really wanted the match then they wouldn't have turned down 3 games away from home. Besides every other mid major that comes into Allen Fieldhouse says their team is better for having faced that atmosphere. No one wants to watch a game at WSU, so I say if WSU wants a match, come on in and experience what a real ellite college atmosphere looks like; your players will need that experience come tourney time anyway.

I'm sure KU fans would fill up their stadium, so it wouldn't be that tough of a road game because of the crowd. Turgeon would have his team ready to play, so we'd see a great match. I'm all for it, like I said, anyone, anywhere, anytime.

klineisanazi 11 years, 4 months ago

I understand from Self's standpoint why at this point he doesn't want to play WSU. He, and the Jayhawks, have little to gain, and a lot to lose. This year, a game with WSU would help their RPI, but over the years, that would not have been the case. And if KU ever agrees to a series, it will be from a position of security--like after a Final Four. Definitely not after two first round losses. KU will already be facing a potential moster in Manhattan. Self doesn't need another in-state rival to worry about.

I don't know how far WSU's team will go this year, or what the long-term prospects are for the program, but to deny what has been accomplished there is ridiculous. I think Turgeon is a serious national coach of the year candidate. His players aren't as talented as KU's, but they sure understand what he wants them to do, and they execute it better than Self's do on a consistent basis.

I would concede that it is an entirely different set of circumstances at KU. Self has recruited a roster of stars that are probably harder to coach than what WSU has. Also, every time KU goes on the court, they get an good shot from the other team. That isn't always the case with WSU. Just witness the half-empty arena when they played at LSU. Think it would have been full if KU came to town? That isn't to diminish what WSU has accomplished. And KU shouldn't complain about the price of success.

Finally, if KU gets to the Sweet 16 this year, I will not be disappointed. Not after the humiliations of the last two years.

Roadkill_Rob 11 years, 4 months ago

"Before Self, Roy Williams discontinued the series, perhaps in part because he was outraged at the behavior of the Wichita crowd in the last trip there."

This is the most logical reason for KU discontinuing the series...every time I go to Wichita, there is some sort of fight or aggression issue with the locals.

KanKu 11 years, 4 months ago

I agree, Roadkill_Rob....It's the same as the Miami Univ. vs Florida International football game this year. Schools are close and the players at the smaller school take it too far because they couldn't go to the more elite program. That has been the history of KU vs WSU.

Personally I think they should play wherever or whenever, like someone said earlier. I live in Wichita and I've seen WSU play. There's no way WSU could beat KU, even in Wichita. They shoot 3's all day and have no interior offense to speak of.

Tuskin 11 years, 4 months ago

What a strange article! Keegan just parrotted the point of view that has appeared in the message boards.

The only new items brought up were: Self is afraid of computer comparisons of different teams (ridiculous), and a nice quote from Russell Robinson.

The article wouldn't even include a quote from Bill Self.

Mr. Keegan, if you're going to hold Bill Self's feet to the fire for not scheduling WSU this year, please point out a related article dating back to this past spring or summer. Was there enough of a drumbeat to schedule WSU back THEN, for you to raise the criticism NOW?

Or, if you're simply speaking to next year's schedule, why not clarify that, and point out that there didn't seem to be much reason to schedule the game between the two teams several months back?

And how about a little research, too? Why don't you interview both coaches and some players on each team? This could have been an interesting article if it had more information.

And finally, I'd like to offer this to Bill Self: I'm told you're not able to sleep at night because I have a computer program that analyzes and compares Division 1 basketball teams. If it's causing you too many nightmares, I could stop publishing its horrors to the web - just call me next time your voice isn't too shaky! I'm sure other top-notch coaches would sure appreciate your efforts, as it would help them assuage their panic attacks, too...

Larry Smith 11 years, 4 months ago

Actually, I believe the reason Roy discontinued the series was because of unethical actions by the WSU athletics office. As all of you who live in Kansas know, EVERY KU game is televised. The last time that KU played at WSU, WSU and the local network blacked out the game in and around wichita, and made it a pay per view in the wichita area. Who got the money? WSU did! Roy was so pissed off that he said he would never play them again. He said that if you want to generate money, for your program thats fine, but do not do it by piggybacking off of KU and at the expense of KU fans who would have otherwise had an oppotunity to see the game. I agree with Roy's assesment.

The last time I checked WSU is still considered a mid major. Why should they get a better deal than any of the other mid majors that KU schedules?

Lance Hobson 11 years, 4 months ago

Because 1. They are our in-state rival 2. They are ranked higher than us (10) and 3. Mark Turgeon is their coach.

Larry Smith 11 years, 4 months ago

Granted, Mark Turgeon is their coach. However, 14 total games in the history of KU basketball, (12 of which KU won) hardly makes them an in state rival. Yes they are ranked higher than us (for now) however, you don't make the schedule now, and I doubt they will be ranked higher going into next year, so that argument doesn't hold water.

speedy 11 years, 4 months ago

lets see. we should only play against schools that we have recruiting against? we should only play cupcakes? we should never play anyone who might beat us? we cannot have more than one school to root fot even if that schools coach is a ku grad. cut the neg and play wsu!!! which is worst getting beat by wichita or oral robets and have espn laugh at ku?
me i grad. from ku. i also attended some classes at wsu. i can see it now, me standing up and cheering for every score by both games. go ku. go wsu too. both help state of kansas,s image.

ralsterKUMed95 11 years, 4 months ago

I agree with Rock Chalker: it is laughable to think Self is scared. Last year we play AZ,Mich, KY, GaTech, then launch into OSU, UTx, Mizzou. This year FL, BC, S.Car. Year in and out the Big 12s top 3-4 teams are usually tough, well balanced and coached teams also. SO, knowing the Big 12 quite well, Bill Self takes the KU job--and schedules the above NON-conf teams, along with some cupcakes (every coach does early season) to build chemistry, confidence, and execution--and gee, the cupcake teams helped expose some things we need to work on. How can anyone say he is scared?! I live in Wichita also, and like the job Turgeon is doing with what he's got, BUT I would bet on KU anyday, anytime against WSU.
Give coach a little credit where its due--look how we stood toe-to-toe with FL, made their bighair bigman cry like a baby, gave it to hot-hand Arthur down the stretch--maybe coach had something to do with that. Imagine the butterflies for Self when our kids almost blew it at the end. FL game set the bar for the entire season, because it actually showed this "potential" were all hearing about. And yes it showed what happens when one of your marquee players takes charge (Julian early, Darrell late...). We get that going, it is pick-your-poison for most opponents. Im not afraid of Duke, UNC, WSU, TX, OSU, Fizzou, or anyone else.

norsk_reporter 11 years, 4 months ago

The "nothing to gain, everything to lose argument" is crap. If you're supposed to beat WSU -- and when is KU ever not supposed to lose to anyone -- then go beat them. If you lose, that means you weren't good enough at the time to win. It would come out sooner or later. Theorize about it all you want, but all this means is that you're afraid of an upstart in the neighborhood. The only way to end this is to go to schedule a meeting and shut him up.

ralsterKUMed95 11 years, 4 months ago

I think we should just play the game--who cares really? Sure it sucked when KSU came and beat KU in Allen Fldhouse, but I know lots of KStaters who didnt brag much at all--probably knew it was a fluke (then). We will take KSU more seriously because of the "cred" and reputation Huggins brings. That is automatic motivation for our guys: "so Huggins has got some ballers?". I suspect KSU may wind up in the top third of Big12, maybe replacing smallball fizzou as #4 and being in the vicinity of TxTech, Baylor. Big 12 going to be real interesting this year--not too worried about coulda/shoulda with WSU. Just do a one-time game somewhere or neutral site and see how it is received.

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