Saturday, January 30, 2010


KU-KSU won’t be pretty


— Officially, the sport Kansas State plays in Bramlage Coliseum is known as basketball. In reality, it blends elements of football, wrestling, boxing and basketball.

Those seated courtside tonight for the Octagon of Doom’s event of the year need not dress formally. Blood doesn’t mix well with fancy duds. Better to wear the sweatshirt worn to paint the barn.

Bob Huggins spent just one year as basketball coach of Kansas State, but the footprint he left on the program can be found on the throats of every opponent who has visited Manhattan since he arrived.

It always has been said of Huggins’ teams that the best offense is a missed shot because of how they attack the offensive glass, gaining position with elbows, hip checks and sheer will. Frank Martin learned well under Huggins. Statistically, the two best offensive-rebounding teams in the nation are West Virginia and Kansas State.

KU basketball makes trip to Manhattan for physical marquee showdown

Forget being just the fight for the state of Kansas' crown: Saturday's Sunflower Showdown might be the nation's marquee game.

There are 334 established Div. I basketball programs (plus 13 reclassifying as Div. I), and Kansas State ranks fifth in the nation with 23.6 personal fouls per game. It’s a remarkable figure considering the Wildcats (17-3) seldom are playing from behind late in games, fouling to try to get the ball back.

The style of play doesn’t lead to the prettiest basketball, as evidenced by K-State’s victory against then-No. 1 Texas, but the crowd makes it a great event.

Incidentally, the speaker-generated noise that’s way too loud at Allen Fieldhouse right before tipoff is at the beginning stages of so bombarding the senses of spectators that it is exhausting them to the extent they don’t have quite as much energy and therefore don’t generate as much human noise. That needs to go before it turns the fieldhouse into something less than it has always been.

Off the soap box and back to Saturday’s bloodbath. Kansas is well aware of what a street fight awaits.

“Traditionally with K-State, you’re going to have to play physical to have a chance,” KU coach Bill Self said. “If you go back and look at the Texas game — I’d anticipate a similar physical-type game — that was probably about as physical a game as we’ll have in college basketball this year. Totally clean, but they do like to get after it.”

This K-State team, ranked 11th in the nation, is better than Martin’s two teams and Huggins’ lone one because it brings more skill. Starters Jacob Pullen (19.2 points per game), Denis Clemente (14.7) and Curtis Kelly (11.2) and reserves Jamar Samuels (11.8) and Rodney McGruder (6.0) all know how to score. Despite that, this team still embraces a street-fighting identity.

Self always wants more toughness from his team, but he acknowledged that’s more about his demands than his players’ toughness.

“If we’re not playing as tough as we can, I think that we’re playing soft,” Self said. “But that doesn’t mean that we’re collectively a soft group. Hey, we’re pretty tough. And K-State’s a pretty tough team, too, but certainly our toughness level has to be a 10 Saturday because we’re going to face a tough challenge not only from their team but also from the atmosphere.”

Kansas has even more skill than K-State, so if it’s a draw in the grinder category, Kansas should acquire what would have to be considered a great victory.


Dan Pawlowski 11 years, 12 months ago

I don't agree with your soapbox moment and the sentence structure of that statement makes a poor platform to stand on.

Larry Smith 11 years, 12 months ago

I completely disagree about the pregame video at AFH. I think it is awesome and gets the crowd going. Still gives me chills when I see it. To insinuate that AFH does not get load because of the video just does not make sense to me.

Bruce Janssen 11 years, 12 months ago

Hey Tom:

This is a rare treat for a guy in his 60s:

If it's too loud, you're too bleepin' old!

Larry Smith 11 years, 12 months ago

I wonder if it was the octogon of doom when they had 5,000 in attendance for mississippi? Or the rest of the games this year when they had less than 10,000. A bunch of Johnny come lately's.

yates33333 11 years, 12 months ago

This is a good chance for Withey to learn brass knuckle basketball. I hope the coach uses him a bit. A N D Beat Kansas State!!!!

CaramelMacchMan 11 years, 12 months ago

I agree with Keegan on AllenField House Speaker Noise.

They must be careful. We do not want to lose the during game crowd energy.

Machawk 11 years, 12 months ago

Geometrically speaking, the "octogon of doom" is not of the regular variety in shape nor is it regular with respect to doom as far as KU is concerned.

DaSherriff 11 years, 12 months ago

Keep your soapbox opinions out of the paper. Take someone to a game that has never gone and watch their face after the videos. They make the experience even better. They need to actually add more videos and music!

5DecadeHawk 11 years, 12 months ago

Once again Keegan can't think of something to write, so he just takes ideas off the message boards.

jayhawkintexas 11 years, 12 months ago

The key to the game will be containing Pullen, keeping Clemente from getting hot and scoring twenty or more points and not making more than a few turnovers the whole game. If we turn it over like we did against Missouri it could be a bad day in Manhattan. I think our bigs can handle their bigs and we have more depth so we need to play smart and tough.

kujayhawk72 11 years, 12 months ago

I took a friend of mine to AFH he is from Ohio, thus a huge Ohio St. fan. I looked over at him after Mario makes the shot on the video and he had a tear in his eye. He said he had never seen anything like the pregame video....ever!!! He is now....a Jayhawk fan. We have something the kitties or Keegan apparently will never understand....TRADITION!!

klineisanazi 11 years, 12 months ago

"Incidentally, the speaker-generated noise that’s way too loud at Allen Fieldhouse right before tipoff is at the beginning stages of so bombarding the senses of spectators that it is exhausting them to the extent they don’t have quite as much energy and therefore don’t generate as much human noise. " Do they not employ editors at the Journal-World? This is flat-out embarrassing. My high school comp teacher would have carved this up with a big fat red pen.

WilburNether 11 years, 12 months ago

As Ted Nugent said back in the 70s, "If it's too loud, you're too old."

If you can't handle it, bring ear plugs.....or just stay home and watch the games on TV.

mikehawk 11 years, 12 months ago

I don't get the noise issue for the video and its relation to follow up crowd noise, But, I do think over time it becomes an issue that we are living in the past, and for those that attend games regularly, it gets a bit old. But, as others have noted, for someone new to the AFH experience, it is very impressive. Maybe, if all goes well, we might earn a new video of this year's team to view next year that is fresh off of something very special.

Woody Cragg 11 years, 12 months ago

We would have to be in major foul trouble for our front court to not cancel out their bigs, so I agree the key to the game is the backcourt. X factor needs to be more aggressive at the rack and not just a jump shooter. The game comes to him so easy that he seems to get complacent sometimes. But he's a stud and needs to bring it every game. This could also be a breakout game for TRob. He likes to play in the paint and is much quicker than lots of 3 gaurds. If our guards can get the ball in the paint this could be like the MOOOO, (MU) game. X won't play small forward at the next level, but he shouldn't have any trouble at Silo Tech. Guard play on both ends of the floor will decide this game. Our front court is alot more skilled and much deeper than Texas. It shouldn't even be close. Brady is playin' some Bad A defense right now and so can X. But with all these egos and talent, Self has his work cut out for him.

dukehester 11 years, 12 months ago

Play D....put the rock in hole....value the ball (limited TOs).....ABCs of a good performance. 'Hawks just need to play their game and all will be fine. 1 point or 100...a W is all we fans really need.......... here kittie kittie RCJ GKU!!

jaybate 11 years, 12 months ago

Way to go BoulderHawk; that's the way to use a metaphor, rather than a similie.

I knew you were eventually going to enlist in the critical analysis of content by professionals on this site.

Keep up the good work.

Dyrk Dugan 11 years, 12 months ago

Yes, they are getting a lot of fouls called on them, but in what context? is it aiding them or hurting them? in the Big 12, it's aiding them...especially the Texas win. that game took over 2 1/2 hours to complete....if we're still on the court past 8:30 tonight, we will not win.

we got in their heads last year....despite the fact we were down 16 in the first half. if we hang with them in the first 10 minutes of the game, we'll be fine.

palewhale 11 years, 12 months ago

Have to agree with Keegan on the scoreboard pregame video. It used to be the crowd that created the energy and the unique feel of the field house. The pregame is so load you can't hear the fans. I realize this is for recruiting more then anything but it's feeling more and more like a staged production (i.e. NBA arena) then a spontaneous out pouring of emotion from the crowd.

I like the video but it can be toned down and still have an impact on recruites and the opponents. Think about Jaws, the music and the fact you didn't see the shark until the movie was almost over and you were headed between his teeth. The video should sneek up and grab you, not shake you to death.

I also miss the hand written BEWARE OF THE PHOG banner, they way the light used to shine through the south windows in the afternoon and the muted lighting.

rkchlknatlchamps 11 years, 12 months ago

I think the soap box comments sounds terrible how it was placed and written, but I doubt that he is referring to the pregame video (which is awesome). I think he's talking about the noise that is piped in when the decibel meter is up and it does seem like there is a lot of noise helping that out.

cklarock 11 years, 12 months ago

This game will be the Mildcats' biggest of the year, regardless of how far they get in the NCAA tournament.

Keegan was right about one thing -- spiritually, this is still Huggins' basketball team. At a time when I've found myself in the bizarre position of actually respecting Missouri's coach and squad, it's comforting to know that our march to another Big 12 championship will still have to go through at least one really unlikable team.

dynamitehawk 11 years, 12 months ago

My soap does not come in a box. In fact, I sometimes use my wife's luffa sponge with a product in a plastic container known as 'body wash'. I do enjoy to exfoliate. So, from my luffa box, if you will, I concur with Bedore to a point. They could turn it down a bit, but the video and music stay.

Go KU.

Sparko 11 years, 12 months ago

I don't like KSU's style. Watching Clemente slap an OSU player last week is about all you need to know about this KSU team. It may not even be basketball.

Tuskin 11 years, 12 months ago

Do they really play additional crowd noise through the speakers? If so, that's embarrassing.

Martin Rosenblum 11 years, 12 months ago

Frank "Bert" Martin will need to ingest a little more of whatever his magic potion is in order to get his energy level up for tonight's game. We're a different team now than we were earlier in the season and Cole is going to quiet the crowd many times, as will Brady and Sherron. The Morris team will also lower the decibel level in the Octagon of Dumb.

KU-88 KSU-78

Jayhawk444 11 years, 12 months ago

Keegan's speaker-noise comment doesn't mean the pre-introduction video. That is a very cool part of the pre-game activities. He means the "Game Time" noise immediately before tipoff with the decibel indicator on the video board. I've got mixed emotions. I very much dislike pumped in noise/music. The crowd and the band should be all you need. But I've been in the fieldhouse a couple of times this year, and the crowd is definitely louder and more intimidating as the ball is tipped with the noise meter showing and the techno music blaring.

addlime 11 years, 12 months ago

As far as crowd noise at AFH is concerned, I have a couple observations on the issue.
1) Because of the popularity of the program, KU basketball increases its revenue by giving more prime seating to big donors, and that means less for the students and other general rowdies that generate noise. They are pushed further away. 2) KU generally overpowers its opponents by so much, that AFH can become fairly tame during games. I think the beginning of the MU game and particularly the end of the Cornell game demonstrate that our fans do rise to the occasion when needed.

We see KSU fans (who can be fantastic as far as energy BTW) only when KSU is televised for a big game, which is probably not reflective of their overall team support. They don't sell out every game like KU; I think its probably very band-wagony over there.
Most importantly, I'm proud that KU fans haven't become what Michigan state fans are, idiots just screaming "OOOHHH" the entire time the opponent is on offense. I think that is lame. When AFH is loud, it is general enthusiasm and cheering and it feels so much more real to me!
Tradition still means everything! Rock Chalk!

jaybate 11 years, 12 months ago

K-State Kan't:

Following are somethings K-State Kan't do as well as KU, and implications.

} K-State Kan't shoot, as well. They are a weak trey and FT shooting team. And their bigs can't shoot, or the team FG percentage would be closer to 50%.

Shooting Percentages: Team/FG/3pt/FT KU: 49, 41, 71 KS: 46, 36, 65

Implication: KU needs to turn this game into a shooting contest--KU's good shooting vs. K-State's lousy shooting--not a street fight. The way to do this is to pound it inside early and often and force K-State's bigs to foul. K-State lacks depth in the paint and they rely on fouling to defend well. So make them foul early and often and foul them up and out ASAP; then cut the head off what remains.

Further, KU needs to rely on KU's bigs to guard K-State's bigs head up without help, because K-State's bigs aren't good scorers inside. Self may want to substitute bigs early and let the subs foul K-State like crazy to put them on the line, so they lose the foul shooting competition. It will also provoke K-State's bigs toward fouling more. Guarding K-State's bigs head-up without perimeter help let's KU's perimeter players overplay the 3 pt line and completely choke off K-State's already weak 3pt game.

} K-State Kan't disrupt and handle disruption, as well. Their disruption ratio is terrible. This means they are using fouling as instead of defense to disrupt opponents. It also means their guards can't handle the ball and their bigs probably can't catch it.

Disruption Ratios: Team/Stls/TOs KU: 179/261 KS: 144/319

Implication: K-State is going to have a load of trouble with KU's pressure defense.

jaybate 11 years, 12 months ago

} K-State Kan't rebound, as well.

Rebounds: KU: 837 KS: 801

They are certainly not a bad rebounding team, just not as good as KU. They also cannot rebound well without a lot of fouling. I believe KU can break their backs on the glass, if the Twins will bring their A-game and not get intimidated by the violence. Thomas Robinson and Withey could easily see minutes today, because of all the fouling. This could well be a break out game for TRob, if he's learned to protect and defend and shoot free throws, like a good paint cop, not if not. He's got the right physique and some fouls to give to cause K-State's designated foulers some trouble. Since K-State's bigs aren't scorers, KU suffers little by playing KU's less experienced defenders inside, but Self needs the bigs to shoot FTs well. A key to beating a team that likes to foul is to shoot FTs well.

Also,with KU's inside strength, K-State has to send 3, sometimes even 4 guys to the glass to have a hope of not getting their butts kicked on the glass. This means Self will have KU releasing for the break often. Cole's developing, quick outlet pass off rebounds (a la Kevin Love) could devastate K-State today, when he can get to the rebound amidst all the fouling.

Implication: In a shooting contest, ironically, rebounding becomes decisive. KU controls the boards and it could win by 20. KU fails to control the boards and a hot shooting day by K-State could tip the scales their way. K-State's strategy will be to push Cole constantly, when he is defending. Cole likes to range around the paint. He likes to be active and he gets frustrated, or bored, by having to stick close to a big. Because KU's bigs aren't scorers, he will try to range, at will. Pushing and shoving while he's moving is the key way to take him out of his shot blocking and intimidation game. Its hard to jump and windmill his arms, when he's being pushed this way and that en route.

jaybate 11 years, 12 months ago

} K-State's Likely Strategy and Tactics:

The only way for K-State to win is to get KU rattled with physical contact and amp the violence whenever KU starts to get some momentum.

If I'm Frank Martin, this is what I do to KU:

Sherron--if Sherron starts driving the lane, which he is likely to do, then I bring in my back up and Sherron goes hard to the floor any time he drives the lane and jumps for four minutes.

Brady--I try to take it hard to Brady ASAP and get a few fouls on him. Without Brady as glue, KU's team lacks cohesion and the physical aggression K-State applies overall will be much more effective.

Xavier--I work him over, but good from the tip off. He already can't get to the rim and is in a trey shooting slump. I bring guys into put him down hard early and give him contact like he's never faced. His 15 ppg are the 15 easiest points to completely take away from KU with aggression. I channel all my perimeter fouls I feel I have to give into roughing him up.

Cole--guard him honest and don't foul, when he has the ball. Push him and shove him constantly when he is trying to range to defend and block on defense.

Marcus/Kieff: Guard honest for three minutes to see if they brought their game, or are going to sleep walk. If they brought it, deny the ball to Marcus and push Marcus out of position. Encourage the ball into Kieff's hands and then hack him any time he shoots.

Overall: KU should beat K-State by 15 points, unless KU dips below 35% from trey land, or unless two starters get fouled up.

superdave 11 years, 12 months ago

This game, like most, comes down to making the easy shots. Playing in a hostile octogon can result in rushing shots, instead of sticking to the fundamentals. Cole and McMorris make their 4-8 foot shots and we waltz away with win #22 in 23 tries in good ole Bramlage. Still amazing to think it took them two decades to beat their rival at home! Self loves games like this - make his guys prove they are men and not just good, skilled basketball players. We do need Sherron to find his outside shot again, and he rarely dissapoints when we need him. To Bedore - aw, the music's too loud - the graphics too bright? Why do those guys have to jump so high, anyway. Enjoy the ride!

David Leathers 11 years, 12 months ago

Jayhawk86, thanks for the link. The pregame video is out of this world. Not to mention all of the fans jumping up and down afterwards... put some yellow shirts on them and they look like popping popcorn! lol :-)

Tony Bandle 11 years, 12 months ago

In one respect, aren't Kansas State fans more guilty of treachery and bad judgement than Missouri fans??

Missouri fans do not know any better.

Kansas State fans are mostly native Kansas sons and daughters and SHOULD understand the vast disparity between KSU and KU...they have no excuse for their stupidity!!

honk_for_hawks 11 years, 12 months ago

no way he is talking about the pregame video. no matter how many times I see it, it gets me pumped up more than I already am. KU has the best basketball tradition and the music is just perfect. I don't like it when college arenas play music during timeouts and stuff like that though. Have the band play, but don't blare "I kissed a girl and I liked it" or some other top 40 radio. that has no business in a college arena

oregonjhawk 11 years, 12 months ago

Wow, that pregame video is absolutely incredible. Talk about chills! I wish we had that video before games when I was at KU 15 years ago!

Mike Kendall 11 years, 12 months ago

jayhawk86-- I had heard a lot about the pre-game video but had not seen it until you posted it on the link. Thanks so much! It brought tears to my eyes--hey, I'm emotional, what can I say? Of course, when Mario hit that trey against Memphis, I had tears in my eyes, too! I can only imagine, what's the video like in person. I haven't been back for a game for a long time. I need to do that sometime soon! RCJHGOKU!

Robert Murphy 11 years, 12 months ago

In a perfect world Frank Martin would be a prison guard. In fact, wasn't he the guy in the "Shawshank Redemption"?

Jayhawk_in_Morgantown 11 years, 12 months ago

I hadn't seen the pre-game video either until jayhawk86 posted the link. I can tell you it is way way way better than the crap they show at the WVU is a bunch of patched together "inspiring" sports movie scenes...Hoosiers, Varsity Blues, etc. It is pathetic, embarrassing, and an insult the the real life sporting event you are there to see. (Add to that you have to watch Huggins in his bulging track suit the whole game.)

I hate to see all the crybaby stuff on here about how AFH fans could be louder, etc. I have been hearing this since I was a freshman at KU in 1985. Three things to say about this.

First, last time I checked KU had one of the most--if not the most--envied home court advantage in college basketball. Seems to me the fan response is well calibrated to produced the desired result.

Second, I can tell you that KU fans are (almost always) civilized in their enthusiasm, and I wouldn't want it any other way. WVU fans are jerks, boors, and just poor sports. I wouldn't want KU to go that way in the name of enthusiasm.

Last, and this may be unfair, but it seems to me that the posts about "AFH should be louder, fans aren't what they could be/should be" etc. is the poster trying to tell us how he's a WAY bigger fan than anyone else is...

dynamitehawk 11 years, 12 months ago

I thought that we decided that midgets were going to ice skate during TV timeouts and halftime, right?

JMO23 11 years, 12 months ago

KState fans have larger student section due to the fact they have no one to support their pathetic athletic program. This may lead to some of the games being louder than AFH but the KU students are far better fans that those pathetic KSuck fans. Just a reference: Cornell game over winter break every seat but a few in the stuck up seats were filled and this was with 8 inches on the ground and a blizzard on the way. Please don't even think that KState fans are better than KU fans. KU students put their heart into every game and its not our fault they we have a lot of boosters who support our athletic program that don't cheer the whole game.

buckleyhawk 11 years, 12 months ago

I am really late to the game here, but honestly, what does this even mean:

Incidentally, the speaker-generated noise that’s way too loud at Allen Fieldhouse right before tipoff is at the beginning stages of so bombarding the senses of spectators that it is exhausting them to the extent they don’t have quite as much energy and therefore don’t generate as much human noise.

s6u6r6f 11 years, 12 months ago

Dynamitehawk, if the midgets will be drunk while they're skating, I'm down with the idea. Maybe give them long flowing capes and have them carry flaming buckets of oil as well. Now that's entertainment!

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