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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Self, KU look to start new streak

Kansas University coach Bill Self yells to his team during Monday’s game at Mizzou Arena. Despite the loss, Self applauded his team’s defensive effort in the first half against the Tigers.

Kansas University coach Bill Self yells to his team during Monday’s game at Mizzou Arena. Despite the loss, Self applauded his team’s defensive effort in the first half against the Tigers.

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KU vs. Kansas State: Pregame

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Complete pregame coverage of Kansas vs. Kansas State.

— Perhaps for old time’s sake, the media resurrected talk of “The Streak” this week.

You remember: Kansas University’s 24-game men’s basketball win streak over Kansas State on the Wildcats’ homecourt, a streak that finally ended when the Michael Beasley-led Wildcats slapped KU, 84-75, Jan. 30, 2008, at Bramlage Coliseum.

“I wish the streak was still intact. That means we would have won over there last year,” KU coach Bill Self said.

His KU teams are 4-1 overall in Manhattan entering today’s 2:30 p.m. battle against the Wildcats.

“There never was any pressure on us to win because of the streak,” Self said. “The only time I felt like there was pressure on us to win was my first year here. They’d won over there 18 times in a row or whatever (20 in a row) before I got here.

“I don’t feel any pressure to win because of the streak or pressure to get the streak back. The pressure to win is because it’s a rival, and we want to do our best in the league and have a chance to win it. That’s where the pressure is, if there is pressure,” Self added.

KU (19-5, 8-1), which is a game and a half behind Oklahoma in the league race, has dominated rival KSU (17-7, 6-4) of late, winning 37 of the past 39 meetings, including an 87-71 victory on Jan. 13 in Allen Fieldhouse.

The Wildcats’ most recent victory over KU is one the Jayhawks find difficult to erase from their memories.

“It was tough. There are few words to describe what that feeling is,” KU sophomore Cole Aldrich said of the sight of 1,000 or so KSU students rushing the court after last year’s streak-busting game at Bramlage.

“I would say to our fans it was, definitely,” Aldrich added, asked if the rare loss to the ’Cats was devastating.

“Our fans really embraced it. As a team, we take every game as it is, whether it’s a 2,000-game streak or we haven’t beaten them in 10 years.”

One significant streak is on the line today — KSU’s six-game winning streak in Big 12 Conference play. It’s a streak that followed an 0-4 start and has Wildcat fans dreaming of another big victory over KU today.

“They have to,” Kansas State junior guard Denis Clemente said, asked if the fans would rush the court again if KSU prevailed.

“Write it down. Denis said it’s mandatory,” sophomore guard Jacob Pullen said.

Pullen, who had 20 points and four assists in last year’s KSU victory over KU, scored 13 points off 5-of-15 shooting with two assists in this year’s loss in Lawrence.

Clemente, a transfer from the University of Miami (Fla.), scored nine points off 3-of-13 shooting in Lawrence — a game in which the Wildcats fell behind, 18-0, early before rallying within three points the second half.

“They beat us earlier this year. We have to understand that by us beating them last year, we created interest in this game again,” K-State coach Frank Martin said. “But this year has nothing to do with last year. The last game has nothing to do with this game. It’s the next game on the schedule.

“The one thing I did say to our team in the locker room about Kansas (after loss in Lawrence) is that I don’t mind getting beat if I know I’ve got another opportunity to beat them. That’s what we have (today). We’ve got a chance to make up for a team that beat us earlier this year. But as far as all that stuff, we’re going to be consistent with our approach, regardless of who is on the other side.”

Of course, KSU fans may be thinking otherwise — that this is a must-win for state pride.

“The town is so excited about it. It’s our biggest rival,” senior forward Darren Kent said. “(On campus) it’s always, ‘You’ve got to beat KU. You’ve got to beat KU.’ It’s fun to have all the students and everybody really excited about the game and know they’re rooting for you.

“We’re playing well right now, so if we can get a win against those guys it really boosts our strength of schedule to get into the NCAA Tournament, so it’s an important game for us.”

It’s also an important game for the Jayhawks, who lost to another rival — Missouri —on Monday night in Columbia, Mo. MU fans, of course, stormed the court after that game.

“The atmosphere in Bramlage last year was unbelievable,” said Self, who is 12-2 all-time versus KSU, 11-2 as KU coach. “It was terrific, and it’ll be that good this year and should be.”

He grinned when asked to describe the intense atmosphere in the stands at both Mizzou and KSU.

“I didn’t know either one of them disliked us,” Self said. “I always thought the Missouri game was more hatred and the Kansas State game was more ‘respected rivalry’ maybe is a better word.”

KSU coach Martin definitely respects his rival to the east.

“I’ve got so much respect for what Bill does and how hard his teams play,” Martin said. “We’ll get their best shot. We’re going to line up and deal with a team that’s kind of wounded right now, and we have to make sure we match that and understand that.

“I’d like to play KU after they've won four or five in a row and they’re kind of a little fat. Last time we played them, they’d lost to Michigan State by 15, 16, and it was their (Big 12) home opener and, we kind of walked into a buzzsaw. Now they’re coming off a loss.”

Self realizes KU is to face a team brimming with confidence.

“They are playing at a high level right now, really high,” Self said. “To me, the biggest thing is, they are good. They are a team with no doubts right now.”

That’s what a streak — a six-game win streak in tough league play — will do for a squad.

Comments

Hawkin8r 8 years, 11 months ago

Let's keep that home crowd quiet playing a solid 40 minutes and walking out with a win. Rock Chalk!

JayViking 8 years, 11 months ago

37 / 39 does not = a rival.

K, thanks.

Eurekahwk 8 years, 11 months ago

Apparently you don't live around them. In the 90's when I was in HS, Eureka was a K-State town. I had to take a lot of crap at school because we sucked at football. And that's all anyone ever wanted to talk about. Being a small redneck town, it still has tons of mouthy K-State fans. I don't even know any Mizzou fans. K-State is our rival. And we have to win or the idiots around here will be running their mouths.

jhawk23 8 years, 11 months ago

“We’re playing well right now, so if we can get a win against those guys it really boosts our strength of schedule to get into the NCAA Tournament, so it’s an important game for us.”

Kent is a bonehead. KSU beating KU wouldn't help KSU's strength of schedule. It actually would make KSU's strength of schedule a little bit worse, but their RPI better.

But, hey, we should give the KSU players a break. All of this "getting into the tournament" stuff is still so new and exciting to them that they don't completely understand it!

KGphoto 8 years, 11 months ago

K-State's bubble meter is on. RPI #65 Losses: Iowa, Oregon Wins: Missouri, Texas

I haven't seen them play much yet. It looks like they can throw some bodies at you. And once again, KU is gonna take the opposition's best shot in a rowdy gym.

100 8 years, 11 months ago

We need to quit talking like other teams might (Big East for instance) and just play the best game we can. We're much classier than this. No need to fuel fire in other cities. If we simply play hard and run our plays, play solid defense, box out, most of us should be happy with the result.

Rock Chalk

DSommersby 8 years, 11 months ago

Definitely a tough challenge today, but KU can handle it if they play smart and keep their poise.

Make K-State's 3 perimeter guys (Clemente, Pullen, and Fred Brown) have to put the ball on the deck and drive and create. No open looks from outside. These guys are fast and can handle it a little but all are shorter guards and I will take my chances at them trying to create in traffic among the trees rather than popping long jumpers.

Have Cole and the other bigs hedge on the screens as Colon, Samuels, and Anderson are not the best pick and pop threats. Kent can shoot, but challenge and also make him put it on the deck.

Play tough, smart, and take care of the ball and get the job done.

Let's go Hawks!

Scott Smetana 8 years, 11 months ago

Minimize the turnovers and we win this game.

Hawktacular 8 years, 11 months ago

Q: What currently bothers you the most about the purple pussycats?

A: Frank Martin's mafia suits

Q: What thought of the purple pussycats makes you laugh?

A: Frank Martin's mafia suits

Q: Can you think of anything you like about the purple pussycats?

A: Thinking that someday Frank Martin might wear a normal suit.

Q: If Frank Martin were to wear a normal suit, what would bother you most about the purple pussycats?

A: Thinking about the days when Frank Martin used to wear a mafia suit.

If you can't tell, I don't spend much time thinking about basketball, a "rivalry", or there being a real threat of consistent competition when it comes to the purple pussycats.

Kansas by 10+ today, unless our guys get distracted by the eye sore that is Frank Martin's mafia inspired attire.

Keckadek 8 years, 11 months ago

My wish... for Sherron to have a 2:1 assist to turnover ratio today. Maybe thats too much to ask since people seem to think we dont have enough offensive weapons to make those assists a reality so ill settle with more assists than turnovers.

4!!!

Larry Smith 8 years, 11 months ago

I know this is off topic, but I heard that A-Rod did steriods!! Has anyone else heard this? Where has the media coverage been? My gosh, how could the national media let this go by unreported?

jco8394 8 years, 11 months ago

This might be off topic but did anyone here about Barry Bonds of the Pittsburgh Pirates possibly using steroids? I just heard that and was like WHOA WHAT........

Hays_Hawk 8 years, 11 months ago

Lol, nice guys. About time they talk about something else huh. No court rushing today boys...let's get it done.

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