Sunday, February 10, 2013

Allen debut awaits K-State coach

Kansas State coach Bruce Weber gestures to players during the second half of a game against Oklahoma State Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, in Manhattan.

Kansas State coach Bruce Weber gestures to players during the second half of a game against Oklahoma State Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, in Manhattan.


Bruce Weber, who has coached in dozens of arenas in his 15 years as a head college basketball coach and 19 as an assistant, today experiences game day in Allen Fieldhouse for the first time.

“I’ll be honest. I’ve never been there. I’ve watched it on TV,” the 56-year-old first-year Kansas State coach said of Kansas University’s hoops mecca, where his Big 12-leading Wildcats (19-4, 8-2) will meet second-place KU (19-4, 7-3) at 8 tonight.

“They’ve won a whole bunch of games there. They’ve got good teams. He (Bill Self) is a great coach, and we’re going to have to play a really good ballgame to win there. But we’ve won on the road, and we’re just going to go after it and see what happens,” Weber added.

The Wildcats, who fell to KU, 59-55, on Jan. 22 in Bramlage Coliseum in Weber’s first Sunflower Showdown, take a 5-1 road record (4-1 in Big 12) into tonight’s battle.

“I think every game’s different. They’re going to be fired up. They’re hurting (having lost three in a row). They’re going to play at a high level. We’ve just got to go and play basketball the way we’ve played,” Weber said. “I’d like to say we can’t be intimidated, but that’s going to be a key thing — blocking out the crowd. I’ve said since the beginning, we depend on our seniors. If they play well, we have a much better chance of winning.”

Senior Rodney McGruder, who scored 13 points off 4-of-12 shooting (3-of-9 from three) in the first KU-KSU meeting, continues to lead the Wildcats with a 15.0-points-a-game average.

“I don’t like answering questions like that,” McGruder said, asked if he’s the most prepared he’s been to play a game in Allen. “Because it seems like people always try to amp that Kansas game up more than any other game. It’s just any other game, and I feel like we’re prepared.

“We were prepared today (in Saturday’s 79-70 home victory over Iowa State), so we’re going to be prepared on Monday.”

KU has won six straight and 17 of the last 18 over KSU in Allen.

“First of all, just tell the younger players we have to treat it like any other game,” McGruder said of advice he’ll give the underclassmen. “You can’t say, ‘Oh, man, we’ve got Kansas,’ and get wrapped up into the rivalry and things like that. We have to treat it just like Iowa State, Oklahoma State, anything like that, and just tell them the atmosphere is different than any other place. Not try to scare them, because you tell them too many things they might get afraid. Just to keep them mentally ready and prepared to go in there and compete.”

The Jayhawks have lost three in a row for the first time since the 2004-05 season. KU last lost four in a row overall in 1988-89 and hasn’t dropped consecutive home games since that ’88-89 season.

“If they win and have a two-game lead, that would put us behind the 8-ball,” KU coach Bill Self said. “It’s a big game for us from a conference standpoint. We’ve been behind a game in the league race going into the last seven, eight games of a season before.

“I wish we had a couple days to prepare. They probably wish they had a couple days to prepare, also. I think the crowd will do a great job getting us jacked back up. Big Monday always helps. Playing a rival always helps. I think we’ll play with great energy Monday.”

As to how the Jayhawks might snap their skid, Self said: “I think we can defend better. It seemed we are missing a lot of shots. We get a lot of shots inside two to three feet that we are not completing. With that said, I never blame losses on bad shooting. We need to keep doing things we’ve been taught to do and execute a little better than what we have been, do a better job getting to loose balls and things like that.”

Withey watch: Jeff Withey needs one block to pass Greg Ostertag as KU’s all-time leader in blocked shots. Both have 258. He is six blocked shots from the Big 12 career record of 264 (Chris Mihm, Texas, 1998-2000).

Rankings: KSU’s Angel Rodriguez on the Wildcats’ most likely entering the game ranked higher than KU. KU was No. 5 last week, KSU No. 13.

“It feels good to be ranked and all that, but that’s not our goal,” said Rodriguez, second on the team in scoring at 9.9 ppg. “Our goal is to win the Big 12. We could be unranked, and if we win the Big 12, that’s what we want. That’s what we work for. That’s our target.”

Self on KSU’s McGruder: “I have a lot of respect for him. He is one of my favorite players in the league we don’t coach. He does a lot of good things. He handles himself beautifully out there. He seems like a terrific young man. He is competitive. He has definitely improved every year he’s been there. He moves without the ball better than anybody in the league.”

McGruder, a 44.4 percent shooter, has made 35 of 97 threes for 36.1 percent.

Of KSU, Self said: “They run motion probably as well as anybody in the country as far as read and react. Bruce has done a great, great job with them. I also think there’s some carryover in intensity (from Frank Martin era) and how hard they are playing back when Frank was there.”

This, that: KU has won 45 of the last 48 meetings dating to the 1994 season. KU has won 10 of the last 11 match-ups and holds a 184-91 all-time series advantage. KU is 42-18 over KSU in Allen Fieldhouse. ... Since the inception of the Big 12, KU is 29-3 in regular-season battles and 36-3, including Big 12 Championship meetings, versus KSU. ... Bill Self is 20-3 versus KSU, 19-3 as KU coach. Weber is 0-2 versus KU, losing once at Illinois and earlier this season. ... In KU’s 59-55 win over KSU in Bramlage, Withey had 11 points and 10 rebounds. Travis Releford had 12 points and Ben McLemore 11. Shane Southwell had 19 to lead all scorers.


bradynsdad 7 years, 7 months ago

My boss is a KSU fan. For the love please win. It would be a slap in Selfs face for weber to come in and win the Big 12 his first year with someone else's recruits.

Steve Zimmerman 7 years, 7 months ago

Alrighty, guys. We don't want to play catch-ups with B12 opps anymore. Let's chop off kitty's tail from early on. Don't look back - just run score score score a bunch, rebounds, D, swats. Do whatever it takes to reclaim the B12 crown. It's never too late. Let's end the drought right here at AFH, right now! I wanna see dunks not only from KYoung. I wanna see more production from Releford, more treys from EJ, BMac, Naa. I wanna see blood from Withey's mouth. j/k.

This will be a great beginning of new Lunar year of Snake.

Rock Chalk!

actorman 7 years, 7 months ago

Does anyone by some miracle have an extra ticket or two to the game? If so, please send me a message.

mhebboy 7 years, 7 months ago

Time to stop the bleeding and get back in the Big 12 race! RCJH!

Displayhawk 7 years, 7 months ago

There is nothing more dangerous than a wounded animal! Rock Chalk!

jaybate 7 years, 7 months ago

Self put a little Frank Martin spritz on Weber.

That's the first sign of feistiness I've seen from Self for awhile.

Go, Bill, go!.

Kent Richardson 7 years, 7 months ago

Self's force of will. I see him being so intense tonight you could light a match before striking.

TheGiftedOne 7 years, 7 months ago

Here are a few lists I compiled about the Big XII season so far.... enjoy

(Disclaimer... these are my opinions and I would be happy to debate anyone who disagrees)

Top Five PG's 1. Pierre Jackson, Baylor 2. Marcus Smart, Oklahoma St 3. Korie Lucious, Iowa St 4. Angel Rodriquez, K-State 5. Elijah Johnson, Kansas

Top Five SG's 1. Markel Brown, Oklahoma St 2. Ben McLemore, Kansas 3. Tyrus McGee, Iowa St 4. Will Spradling, Kansas St 5. Jabarie Hinds, WVU

Top Five SF's 1. Rodney McGruder, Kansas St 2. Will Clyburn, Iowa St 3. Le'Bryan Nash, Oklahoma St 4. Travis Releford, Kansas 5. Sheldon McClellan, Texas

Top Five PF's 1. Melvin Ejim, Iowa St 2. Romero Osby, Oklahoma 3. Cory Jefferson, Baylor 4. Georges Niang, Iowa St 5. Shane Southwell, Kansas St

Top Five C's 1. Jeff Withey, Kansas 2. Isaiah Austin, Baylor 3. Amath M'Baye, Oklahoma 4. Deniz Kilicli, West Virginia 5. Jordan Henriquez-Roberts, Kansas St

Tony Bandle 7 years, 7 months ago

Elijah number 5..really?? The last three KU losses were handed to us with point guards all rated below EJ. If EJ was 100% healthy [and I don't care what they say, it's evident he's not the same], he would be right up there, even playing out of position.

TheGiftedOne 7 years, 7 months ago

Top Five Impact Bench Players 1. Tyrus McGee, Iowa St 2. Phil Forte, Oklahoma St 3. Thomas Gipson, Kansas St 4. Aaric Murray, West Virginia 5. Naadir Tharpe, Kansas

Top Five Best Players Overall 1. Pierre Jackson, Baylor 2. Marcus Smart, Oklahoma St 3. Rodney McGruder, Kansas St 4. Ben McLemore, Kansas 5. Markel Brown, Oklahoma St

Top Ten Seniors 1. Pierre Jackson, Baylor 2. Rodney McGruder, Kansas St 3. Jeff Withey, Kansas 4. Romero Osby, Oklahoma 5. Will Clyburn, Iowa St 6. Travis Releford, Kansas 7. Korie Lucious, Iowa St 8. Steven Pledger, Oklahoma 9. Tyrus McGee, Iowa St 10. Elijah Johnson, Kansas

Top Ten Juniors 1. Markel Brown, Oklahoma St 2. Melvin Ejim, Iowa St 3. Cory Jefferson, Baylor 4. Shane Southwell, Kansas St 5. Jaye Crockett, Texas Tech 6. Will Spradling, Kansas St 7. Aaric Murray, West Virginia 8. Amath M'Baye, Oklahoma 9. Brady Heslip, Baylor 10. Dejan Kravic, Texas Tech

TheGiftedOne 7 years, 7 months ago

By the Numbers

Elijah Johnson Conference Stats 6.1 PPG 35% - Home FG% 26% - Away FG% 28 %- 3 pt FG% 26/37 A/TO

Marcus Smart Conference Stats 16 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 3.9 APG, 3.6 SPG

Ben McLemore... Conference PPG- 17.1... Conference PPG (Minus 33 pt Iowa St game)- 13.8

Markel Brown... Conference PPG- 16.9

kellerman411 7 years, 7 months ago

We're gonna beat Kstate. That is not a statement of encouragement or false confidence. I simply know who is on this team and what they are capable of. Travis, Elijah, Jeff and Ben were all highly recruited for a reason. They can ball. There is a reason we didnt recruit players on the KSU squad, they arent as good. We have better players, a better coach and the biggest darn home court advantage in all of basketball.

The only thing you people have to do is grab a cold drink, turn up the volume and enjoy the show because this is where the law of averages will come crashing down when we need it most.

Dont wish, dont hope and dont worry. BELIEVE.

kellerman411 7 years, 7 months ago

Horsepower baby, we don't need any fancy driving miracles tonight. Just keep it wide open and let the better motor win.

Kent Richardson 7 years, 7 months ago

Horsepower, yes. I hope we get our feathers ruffled also.

nuleafjhawk 7 years, 7 months ago


We've lost 3 straight games for the first time in 8 years (Big deal, huh? You do it every year)

We've lost at home and we've lost on the road.

We've lost to a couple of decent teams and one really, really bad one.

We've not done.............anything well during those three games. Haven't shot field goals, free throws, haven't rebounded, haven't play our usual smothering defense, we've turned the ball over a really ugly amount of times,

And we're still 9 point favorites over you.

Andy Godwin 7 years, 7 months ago

And we were a 20 point favorite over TCU. The point spread nothing with this team. They have rarely covered since Big XII play.

nuleafjhawk 7 years, 7 months ago


The point being - they're playing very well, and we're playing very bad and..... never mind.

Kent Richardson 7 years, 7 months ago

I honestly don't know what to expect. The Monster we saw a few weeks ago or the monstrosity we have seen the last week. If we are going to come out of it I would expect a decent first 20 and then the flashes of star power from Jeffhey (allow nothing at the hoop) and Ben Baby (I just dropped 30 on you) during the second.

hotrodm 7 years, 7 months ago

MIZ-ZOO left the BIG 12 and the rivalry with KU. It is time to start the rivalry back up with K-State. KU has treated K-State like the nice kid next door for years. It is time to despise K-State like KU did MIZ-ZOO. Get some fire in your bellies KU and send the kitties home to the Manure Barn.

Kent Richardson 7 years, 7 months ago

In a small town, half way between Lawrence and Manhattan, on the old highway, the frats would dribble a BB from the visiting town to the home town and we would line the streets and witness. Kool and bitchin stuff at the time.

jayhawkinATL 7 years, 7 months ago

If we lose tonight, we don't deserve the title...that's it.

Andy Godwin 7 years, 7 months ago

Alert. If KU loses tonight they are out of the race. Compare the schedules. KSU's games on the road after tonight; Texas, BU, and OSU. KU's games OSU, ISU, BU. advantage KSU, because of the ISU game for KU will be tougher than KSU's game against Texas. Home games KSU; BU, WVU, TTU, TCU. KU's home games; Texas, TCU, WVU, TTU. Slight advantage to KU since BU is better than Texas. So if KU goes falls behind KSU by two games, they are out of race for their ninth straight conference championship.

Jonathan Allison 7 years, 7 months ago

BU might not be better than Texas anymore. Texas has Myck Kabongo back as of the final buzzer in their loss last Saturday.

jaybate 7 years, 7 months ago

It all depends on the flu, I reckon.

Withey had it a week or 2 ago. Self only admitted it after the game. It takes 10 days to incubate. The flu shot is 60% effective, so 40% get it. Out of 15 thats 5-6. It could have been the driver of the losses. Though I didn't see obvious signs of sickness, as I did with Withey. So it could be hitting just now.

If the flu is over we win by 10-15.

If the flu hits, we lose.


dylans 7 years, 7 months ago

I've heard no fat lady. Come on Hawks nine would be Devine!

Tony Bandle 7 years, 7 months ago

The Bruce Weber Factor.

1] Had his best success with Bill's players at Illinois, not unlike what he is doing with Frank's players. When left to his own devices, he sinks like a rock.

2] His comments about Self after he took over [ Bill's players needed to be coached up, he [as in Weber] made them contenders, blah, blah, blah. are certainly not forgotten by HCBS.

3] Weber held the so called mock funeral to bury the memory of Coach Bill..very classy!!

Bill does not like this guy. Reading the article, it looks like Brucie is saying all the right things...too late, pal. Welcome to The Phog. I am sure the crowd will do their part. I am sure the coaches will do their part. It's up to the players to do theirs.

Jonathan Allison 7 years, 7 months ago


(all caps)

Cody Stumma 7 years, 7 months ago

Kansas just wanted to lose a few games to make the race interesting for once, that's all.

Zstegs 7 years, 7 months ago

Weber has NO idea what he's in for. I think we not only beat K-State's ass tonight, but beat them bad. Like double digits bad. We are gonna embarrass these puddy tats.

mejayhawk 7 years, 7 months ago

"I also think there’s some carryover in intensity (from Frank Martin era) and how hard they are playing back when Frank was there.” --HCBS

Is this bit of a jab at Bruce?

Commenting has been disabled for this item.