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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Early road trip dismays K-State’s Huggins

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Bob Huggins doesn't mind taking his teams on the road. He just wouldn't mind doing it a little later in the season.

Instead, Kansas State will have just one home game under its belt before traveling to Piscataway, N.J., for Wednesday night's game against Rutgers.

"You sign a contract, you honor a contract," the Wildcats' first-year coach said Monday, during a conference call with reporters from his office in Manhattan. "I'd like to play this one probably a little later in the year, though."

Television obligations made that impossible, Huggins said.

"This is kind of the only place we could put the game," he said.

Most Kansas State games will be televised this season. That's a perk of hiring Huggins, who took over in March after Jim Wooldridge was fired and brought along the buzz that comes with taking Cincinnati to 14 straight NCAA appearances and one Final Four in 16 years there.

Huggins' road strategy for future seasons is geared toward keeping the Wildcats on TV and making sure he can get other teams to Manhattan, too.

"You've got to get on television," he said. "We're going to do what we need to do to get on television, but we're also not going to play anyone that's not a home-and-home situation."

The Rutgers game, scheduled in August, was the last one added to Kansas State's 2006-2007 schedule. It completes a home-and-home deal that began in 2004.

Huggins won't get into such agreements with just anyone, though.

"We're going to try to go to areas where we recruit," he said. "We're not going to go on the road just to go on the road."

This season, Kansas State starts home-and-home agreements with Cleveland State and California and a two-for-one deal with Xavier - two games in Cincinnati and one in Manhattan.

Besides Rutgers, the Wildcats will also complete home-and-home agreements with three other road games: New Mexico on Nov. 21, Colorado State on Dec. 2 and North Dakota State on Dec. 9.

Wednesday's game will be Rutgers' season opener. Kansas State beat William & Mary, 70-60, on Saturday in Huggins' debut, and on Monday, Huggins was still not thrilled by a 10-point victory against a mid-major program that won only eight games last year.

"We've got a long way to go to get where we want to go defensively, and we've got some work to do on rebounding the ball," he said. "We got good shots. Our execution wasn't terrific, but we got good shots. We've just got to start making some."

The Wildcats are still learning Huggins' schemes, though.

"Remember when you were back in kindergarten, first grade, when you were reading, 'Run, Sally, run?"' he said. "That's about where we are."

Huggins also said he wants senior swingman Cartier Martin, who played only 12 minutes and scored five points against William & Mary because of early foul trouble, to shrug off his 2-for-9 shooting performance Saturday.

"I just told him after the game that he needs to keep shooting," Huggins said. "He's unquestionably our best shooter. He just needs to keep shooting the ball until it starts going in."

Comments

jaybate 13 years, 2 months ago

Let me preface some pointed criticism by saying that I regularly read KUSports.com and enjoy it very much. Gary Bedore is wonderful at reporting KU basketball. He has, IMHO, become the voice (albeit in print) of KU basketball. No, he's not hard hitting. No, he doesn't always ask the hard question, or air the dirty laundry until there's no avoiding it.

But, yes, he gets the facts right; yes, he writes coherently (no small accomplishment among journalists these days); yes, he grasps the tradition of KU basketball without getting maudlin about it; and, yes, he just does know quite a bit about his beat (again, no small accomplishment among journalists today). But having said the above...

Why are so many stories showing up in the LJW's KUSports.com about Bob Huggins and KSU? I can read the Manhattan Mercury Poison (or whatever its called), or Soldier of Fortune, if I want to learn about Huggo Muggo's attempt to bring merc ball to blue stem country.

We don't need another rivalry (though you may to sell ads as newspaper revenues are reputedly shrinking across the USA). Our rivalry is with Texas in the current media driven format of Big 12 basketball and it is quite enough. Texas recruits fabulously well. I already can't stand Barnes. I don't need Huggo Muggo to dislike.

Coach Self doesn't need more recruiting competition either. Coach Self has enough of that already with Rick Barnes, Roy Williams, Coach K, and Lute Olson--the guys Coach Self has to beat out for the great players. The only players Coach Self and Coach Huggins are likely to compete over are those from Ohio--Huggo's well and a well Coach Self doesn't draw much water from.

Huggo Muggo's merc ball will be of vital importance only two games a year. Beyond that he's a guy with a lot of good behavior to evidence to prove he even belongs back in college basketball.

If you HAVE to hype for readership and ad revenues, for god's sakes, at least hype our own team--the team that generates the lion's share of your readership and your ad revenues.

As post script, if you think Bob Huggins and KSU comprise a big story that your journalistic ethics require you to cover, perhaps you could start LJWKSUsports.com (web sites are cheap to start if you already have a template and can duplicate simply by hitting copy format on the pull down menu). See how big the readership for that site will be among Lawrencians, KU students loyal grads and advertisers, when the Huggo Muggo stories are divorced from hyping a rivalry within the format of KUSports.com! As Dickie V might say, zero, nada, zippo, babyyyyy.

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