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Monday, March 4, 2013

K-State, Kansas in stretch run for title

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The first time that Kansas State coach Bruce Weber approached Bill Snyder about speaking to his team, Snyder, the ‘ol football coach, jokingly said that the Wildcats were playing too well and that he didn’t want to mess things up.

After a loss to rival Kansas University, Weber tried again.

“I came back and just asked, ‘Coach, could you have 15 minutes to talk to the guys,’” Weber recalled recently. “We’ve had different people throughout the year speak. Obviously the kids really respect him. He’s an icon on this campus, in this state and really in the country, so they were very attentive, and he was very right to the point.”

Snyder told the basketball team that one of the biggest reasons that his Wildcats won a surprising Big 12 title this season is that they followed the philosophy of being 1-0 every week.

Never look past the next game. Think only about what’s ahead.

“We’ve kind of followed that philosophy,” Weber said. “If you’re 1-0, you stay in first every time. We’ve been able to do that since he talked to us.”

It took some doing Saturday night, when Baylor threw a full-court inbound pass out of bounds to give the Wildcats the ball under the Bears’ basket with a second left. Rodney McGruder got an open look at the top of the key and buried a buzzer-beating three-pointer to steal the win.

It left No. 13 Kansas State (24-5, 13-3) tied with the sixth-ranked Jayhawks (25-4, 13-3), who pounded West Virginia on Saturday, for first place with two games remaining.

The Wildcats host bottom-dweller TCU on Tuesday night before finishing at No. 15 Oklahoma State, which is a game back in third place. The Jayhawks should have an easier finish with a home game against Texas Tech tonight and a visit to Baylor on Saturday.

The Wildcats have won five straight since Snyder addressed the team, and now have their eyes on at least sharing their first regular-season conference title since 1977.

They would become the third school to have their football team win the Big 12 title and their basketball team a regular-season crown in the same season since the league started in 1996 — Texas did it in 2005-06 and Oklahoma the year before, though the Sooners also twice won football titles and Big 12 basketball tournaments in the same season.

“When they won it, that’s the first thing I thought about,” the Wildcats’ Martavious Irving said of the football team. “It’s pressure, and we’re pretty good, even though we’ve got a new coaching staff. I was thinking, ‘Now it’s kind of like we’ve got to win it, too.’”

The Wildcats have had no shortage of success in recent seasons, making three straight trips to the NCAA tournament. But they’re also aware of their conference championship drought.

“You look up on that wall, you see the last time that we were conference champions was 1977,” McGruder said. “That was a long time ago. I wasn’t even thought of. It just goes to show that we have a chance to accomplish something great.”

The Jayhawks are far more accustomed to such greatness.

After blitzing the Mountaineers on Saturday behind a career-best 36 points from Ben McLemore, Kansas is closing in on at least a share of its ninth consecutive conference title.

To put into historical perspective, only four schools have won more in a row: UCLA won 13 Pac-8 and Pac-10 titles in the 1960s and ‘70s, Gonzaga won 11 straight in the West Coast before last season, UConn won 10 Yankee titles from 1951-61, and UNLV won the Big West every year from 1983-93.

The Jayhawks would be assured of matching Idaho State of the Rocky Mountain (1953-62) and Kentucky in the SEC (1944-53) if they manage to win their final two regular-season games.

“We just have to focus on what is in front of us right now,” McLemore said. “Our focus is just to go out there and play ball.”

For now, both teams are focusing on two games for all the laurels.

“We don’t have to worry about our record now,” Irving said. “We just worry about winning the day, and winning the next game that’s on the schedule.”

Comments

nostradavid 9 years, 5 months ago

I didn't think anyone could lose a tied game with one second on the clock and the ball.

jaybate 9 years, 5 months ago

LOL, nostra...

And you now have a signature posting style!!!

Rock Chalk!!

Phil Leister 9 years, 5 months ago

I'm going to be sick if we end up "sharing" this title with KSU. Assuming we take care of our own business, Saturday night will find me as the biggest Oklahoma State fan of all time. Those insufferable KSU fans will never live it down if they win a championship in football and basketball. Even if we're 2-0 head to head.

Jonathan Allison 9 years, 5 months ago

Biggest OK State fan on all time? Bryant Reeves might disagree.

Big Country

Big Country by plasticJHawk

jaybate 9 years, 5 months ago

Reeves made a mistake not wearing his hair down to mid back.

gchawk 9 years, 5 months ago

Now that's funny, I actually laughed out loud just visualizing that.

jaybate 9 years, 5 months ago

All really good comedy is visual.

And who says I never go short?!!!!

Thanks for responding.

Code_2008 9 years, 5 months ago

Who cares? If the highlight of their season wants to be winning/tying with us for a conference championship, then Kansas just needs to go out and win the National Championship.

Seriously, who cares if Kansas shares the title with somebody. It's not like it really matters... I mean, exactly how many of those 55 titles are displayed in the showcases?

lv_jhwk 9 years, 5 months ago

Actually, the KSU-OSU game is afternoon. The 'Hawks play in the evening.

Regardless...GO COWBOYS!!

Shawn Otrimble 9 years, 5 months ago

It doesn't bother me to share the title with K-State, I mean how often does this happen that 2 teams from the same state share a conference title. If K-State wins at OkST, then they have deserved to be there. Just as if we wouldn't of lost at TCU, then we wouldn't be in this situation. K-State will never be a rivalry to me like Missouri was, and when they are not playing us I root for them. They have a first class football coach and now it appears they have a very good coach with Webber.

Phil Leister 9 years, 5 months ago

You root for K-State when they're not playing us? Oy.

cklarock 9 years, 5 months ago

I'm like shawno, I don't hate K-State, and I like the idea that the two best teams in the league are both in Kansas.

I've been saying for years that we need better K-State teams if the rivalry is going to matter, and rivalries make the regular season more fun.

That said, this is Bruce Webber we're talking about, so let's all accept that this is their high-water mark. It's all downhill from here.

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 5 months ago

Bruce Weber came up with the "one and done" idea.

shelleysue 9 years, 5 months ago

Exactly. We shouldn't be in the position of sharing this title with anyone. I don't have a problem with the co-champions both being from Kansas, I am just disappointed that we lost that game at TCU. I know KState fans hate the thought of any KU fan not hating them, but I agree. They will never be Missouri. But like I said, after the game the other day, my new Missouri might be Iowa State.

jayhawkinATL 9 years, 5 months ago

We're fine as long as we don't let Baylor rain threes on us and keep their crowd in the game.

Robert Brock 9 years, 5 months ago

We're fine as long as the Jayhawks don't eat pre-game meals in Waco. They don't change the cooking oil very often down there (about every 40,000 miles).

jaybate 9 years, 5 months ago

I would also advise them to avoid all packaged airline food from Mexican airlines with nicknames like AeroMaybe.

jayhawkinATL 9 years, 5 months ago

The KSU/OSU is early on Saturday, so we should know where we stand come tip-off with Baylor.

Phil Leister 9 years, 5 months ago

Look people, Mizzou is gone. Never coming back. One of the best parts of college sports is rivalries. Mizzou cowardly left the conference, so our only true rival is K-State. You honestly don't mind sharing the title with them? You want them to be able to claim winning the Big 12 if football and basketball in the same year? Come on! They will never live it down! I respect Snyder, a lot, and the jury's still out on Weber. However, I will never ever root for them, and I'll never be indifferent to them winning. Embrace the fact that they're our only rival. This state belongs to the Jayhawks! If you don't find yourself rooting for the Cowboys on Saturday, check your loyalties!

Steve Kubler 9 years, 5 months ago

I do not mind sharing the official title, KU beat them twice this year so everyone knows who is on top. As far as a rivalry goes I would just as soon the rivalry team be from out of state. It just feels better to me to "hate", and I use that word loosely, Texas, Oklahoma, or Iowa teams rather than a home state school.

Tyson Ailshie 9 years, 5 months ago

I still don't understand how we can share a title with someone we have beat twice this year. Just doesn't seem right regardless of overall record. Just sayin'

Code_2008 9 years, 5 months ago

So, what about all those other shared titles we have with the Southern Schools in past years?

Or even our North Division Co-champs Trophy from 2007 in Football despite being beat by Mizzou?

Nobody seems to be having a problem accepting those as shared titles.

jaybate 9 years, 5 months ago

A shared title is like kissing you sister, if your sister were Bar Refaeli.

Jeremy LeMaster 9 years, 5 months ago

Jaybate, I like your style here. Well put!

Tony Bandle 9 years, 5 months ago

HOLY CRAP!!.....I just googled that name..I would step up to that Bar anytime!!!

kay_you 9 years, 5 months ago

Sharing a title sucks canal water but that's college sports. Just look at how many shared national titles there are in football. If we end up tied we only have ourselves to blame. The TCU loss can not be defended.

rockchalkjh16 9 years, 5 months ago

Provided both teams win out the rest of their games, KSU may be able to print conference title on their little t-shirts, but they know we trounced them not once, but twice. They're not conference champions.

DanR 9 years, 5 months ago

Sure, we beat them twice but we lost to TCU. It's hard to see who wins that argument. I'm rooting for the longshot TCU tomorrow night in Manhattan to shut down that entire debate.

I'll give KState some credit: other than not being able to beat KU, they took care of business with their only other loss (so far) being at Iowa State.

rockchalkjh16 9 years, 5 months ago

They've also lost 5 total games to KU's 4. (Yes, I know this doesn't matter in conference, but still.) TCU was a fluke. The team that played in Fort Worth that night wasn't the same team. But, yes we did drop the ball majorly there and if it wasn't for that game, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 5 months ago

Give Baylor some well deserved credit for K-State's record.

Lorena Ben G Solis 9 years, 5 months ago

I personally can't stand the fact that we might have too share the title with ksu.I've never liked ksu but ever since we lost in the tournament to northern Iowa in 2010 I hate ksu fans as much as mizzou fans. All the ksu fans were cheering for niu the whole game with them all wearing purple I couldn't tell the true niu fans from the ksu fans.Any school who cheers against their own conference & instate team doesn't deserve anything.ROCK-CHALK JAYHAWK

JakeBarnes 9 years, 5 months ago

To say that Bruce Weber out coached Scott Drew says about nothing the average moron didn't know. Weber is a much, much, much better coach. What the H.... did you expect? Since Mizzou (Mizery) is gone I hate K-State most, but I am not a complete fool, I know their coach is good and so are many of their players.

jaybate 9 years, 5 months ago

To say Bruce Weber outcoached Scott Drew is to say Mo outcoached Curly in the Three Stooges.

jaybate 9 years, 5 months ago

So: KSU as finally hired a replacement for interim head coach Bruce Weber.

His name is Bill Snyder.

Assistant coach Bruce Weber will wear a blue tooth ear piece and new KSU head basketball coach Bill Snyder will coach through Weber.

Classic KSU style innovation. :-)

P.S.: I hope the KSU President is wearing a blue tooth and listening to Snyder, too. Snyder can do anything but win a national championship.

jaybate 9 years, 5 months ago

"Some Other Things Bill Snyder Told the KSU Team"

~You don't roller skate in a buffalo herd with Bruce Webber.

~You don't listen to Bruce Weber unless he repeats something I said.

~You don't attend mock burial services for better coaches than Bruce Weber.

~Expect your best season this year and steadily declining performance until Bruce Weber is replaced.

~Know that Gene Keady will show up sooner or later and give an inspirational half time speech about the art of combing over.

~Know that Bruce Weber is smaller than he appears in cat litter ads.

~Know that Bruce Weber is so full of self loathing that he barbecues on a Brinkman, not a Weber.

~Know that any school that hires Bruce Weber to coach in an eight sided arena subconsciously wants to stop itself short of meaninful success.

~Be polite to Coach Weber but remember how Frank Martin taught you to play the game.

(Note: All fiction. No malice.)

KU2009 9 years, 5 months ago

TCU is 1-15 in the Big 12. Some would argue that loss alone casts a major shadow on this years championship. Whether we like to admit it or not, we claim a few titles that are split with teams we lost to in the regular season. Double standard? Let's just wait and see, at Okie State is a very tough game for KSU, this whole argument could be a moot point. At Baylor on senior night won't be a total walk in the park either....

kay_you 9 years, 5 months ago

Up until this year I found myself on occasion rooting for KSU but not anymore. They are our rival by default and as such we should never root for them. They have always hated and despised us. Over time I will learn to reciprocate.

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