Sunday, March 13, 2016

Austin Peay’s Khalil Davis grew up rooting against Kansas

Austin Peay guard Khalil Davis (11) celebrates as Austin Peay beats UT Martin in an NCAA college basketball game at the championship of the Ohio Valley Conference tournament Saturday, March 5, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. Austin Peay won 83-73. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Austin Peay guard Khalil Davis (11) celebrates as Austin Peay beats UT Martin in an NCAA college basketball game at the championship of the Ohio Valley Conference tournament Saturday, March 5, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. Austin Peay won 83-73. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)


When Austin Peay senior Khalil Davis saw his team’s name pop into the NCAA Tournament bracket against No. 1 overall seed Kansas University when the field was revealed Sunday evening, Davis could only shake his head.

Not because the task of taking on Kansas (30-4) in the first round on Thursday in Des Moines, Iowa, was too daunting. Instead, because Davis could not believe that he will be able to tap into a lifetime’s worth of anti-KU vibes.

See, Davis, a native of Kansas City, Mo., who attended Grandview High, grew up rooting against the Jayhawks and for his father, Tyrone, who played at Kansas State and has told his son plenty of tales about battles with Paul Pierce and the Jayhawks in the late ‘90s.

“It’s really a dream come true,” Davis said via telephone Sunday night. “At the beginning of the year, I talked to my pastor and he told me it was going to be the biggest year of my life. To be able to get to the NCAA Tournament and to play Kansas is just an incredible blessing and I’m looking forward to it.”

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By 5:30 p.m. Sunday, less than an hour after the bracket was revealed, Davis said he had received more than 20 Facebook and text messages from friends and family members trying to get tickets. The family members, Davis said, no doubt would be pulling for Austin Peay. But he wondered if his friends might be a different story. Many of them are KU fans and Davis said that made the whole experience even more unreal.

When Davis and the Governors (18-17) face off with the Jayhawks on Thursday in Des Moines, they will be one of four teams in this year’s field trying to make history by becoming the first No. 16 seed to upset a No. 1.

While the odds of doing that are significantly against them, Davis said his team’s path to the tournament gives them hope that it can be done. Last week, Austin Peay became the first No. 8 seed in Ohio Valley Conference history to win the postseason tournament.

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“We’ve got absolutely nothing to lose,” said Austin Peay coach Dave Loos, who is making his fourth NCAA Tournament appearance in 26 seasons at the school. “It’s something that you have to look at as an opportunity and the chance to do something on a big stage. Our guys have been playing the last couple weeks with a lot of momentum and confidence and we’re excited about the chance to take on one of the premiere programs in college basketball.”

In order to get that match-up, Austin Peay won four games in four days earlier this month, including a wild, 97-96, overtime victory over Belmont in the OVC Tournament semifinals. Austin Peay also beat Tennessee Tech, Tennessee State and UT Martin in that stretch.

During the regular season, the Governors lost at Belmont, 76-58, and also lost at Indiana (80-41) and at Vanderbilt (102-76), by far the two biggest names on their 2015-16 schedule.

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Although the Governors and Jayhawks don’t have many opponents in common, Loos said he watched Kansas “a bunch” this season and came away impressed by the balance and number of weapons KU possessed, most notably senior forward Perry Ellis. He also praised KU coach Bill Self as “one of the best in the country” and said he had the utmost respect for Self and the KU program.

“It’s a tough match-up for us. No question about it,” Loos said. “But we probably know more about them than they know about us right now.”

Loos said he first met Self when he was working at Memphis and Self was an assistant at Oklahoma State. Although their paths have not crossed much beyond that, Loos said his coaching style comes from the same school as Self’s.

“Offensively, we try to play what I would call inside-out and with some set plays and ball-screen motion,” Loos said. “Defensively, we’re mostly man-to-man.”

Because Kansas was selected as the tournament’s No. 1 overall seed, CBS revealed the Jayhawks’ region first. That started with Kansas at the top and its opponent after that. Because the selection show already had announced all four No. 1 seeds, Austin Peay became the first non-No. 1 named in this year’s field.

That, Loos said, made an already wild day even crazier.

“We had some indicators that we would be a team going to the (play-in games in) Dayton and that turned out not to be true,” he said. “But it sure didn’t take long to find out who we were playing. We found out right out of the gate. That was interesting.”

Austin Peay at a Glance

Location: Clarksville, Tennessee

Mascot: Governors

Colors: Red and black

Conference: Ohio Valley

Record: 18-17

Leading scorers: Chris Horton (18.9), Josh Robinson (16.3), Khalil Davis (11.3)

Leading rebounders: Chris Horton (12.1), Kenny Jones (5.5), Khalil Davis (4.0)

Leading assisters: Khalil Davis (92), Josh Robinson (82), Terrell Thompson (55)

All-OVC players: Chris Horton (first team), Josh Robinson (second team)

2016 NCAA Tournament Preview


Cora Smith 6 years, 3 months ago

Did KU actually catch any breaks being the #1 seed overall? Doesn't look like it to me.

Ron Sterling 6 years, 3 months ago

Although the South region is a tough bracket overall, the teams I'm most worried about are largely on the other side. I wouldn't take UConn lightly, but I'm not too worried about Cal or Maryland. Sure, we'll have to go through a tough team to get to the Final Four no matter who comes out of the other half of the bracket, but there's no one in our region that is a really bad match up for us either.

Dirk Medema 6 years, 3 months ago

Maryland could be nasty with their frontline if our G's don't control the game. Trimble has been in a slump for a while, but they could take a quantum leap if he regains his freshman form. I'll still take our G's and a W.

Waylon Cook 6 years, 3 months ago

Cora what are you talking about. Its called a championship. You play whoever the hell is in front of you.

Andrew Ralls 6 years, 3 months ago

"Gather 'round, kids, as I regale you with another tale from my zero wins and six losses against Kansas." -Tyrone Davis

Andy Tweedy 6 years, 3 months ago

I feel like that deserves more than just a click on the "like" button

Jesse Johnson 6 years, 3 months ago

Should be an easy team to dispatch. Self just needs to find the right balance between not overlooking anybody but at the same time not lowering his own players' confidence in themselves. I swear too often he leans way too heavily on the not overlooking aspect and our team plays down to the level of what should be a much inferior opponent.

David McGee 6 years, 3 months ago

I don't think he will think it is such an incredible blessing when his team is down by 40 at the final buzzer.

Bryce Landon 6 years, 3 months ago

I love how cocky these 16-seeds are getting and how mouthy they are, especially Khalil Davis. The way we're playing right now, there is no chance Austin Peay is any threat to us.

John Myers 6 years, 3 months ago

Did you read a different article? I don't see anything in this article at all that comes across even slightly cocky or mouthy.

Andrew Ralls 6 years, 3 months ago

Actually, if you ignore the editorializing about "anti-KU vibes" and just read his direct quotes, this kid said nothing terribly cocky.

Dirk Medema 6 years, 3 months ago

Hopefully we can find some rest for Frank, and get him through the weekend without further abuse. It would be nice if the 2nd 5 brought their A game so we can get that mid-half spurt when the subs start checking in.

Stephen Young 6 years, 3 months ago

We cannot afford to overlook Austin Peay or any other team in our path, of course. But in response to a comment posted above, I especially wouldn't overlook Cal. They have immense raw talent, and have been getting better and better as the season unfolded. Only narrowly did they lose in the last week to Arizona--in Tucson, where the Wildcats almost always win, for example.

Tyrone Davis 6 years, 3 months ago

Now gather around kids and let me tell you another story....a story of how people with no class, and no common moral ethics, will hide behind an Internet thread or blog page and rant about you because they wish they could be in your shoes. How many losses I took from KU has no relevancy to this story. How many stories could you tell your kids besides, sitting in the stands in your Jayhawk gear cheering as opposed to actually having the balls to get out on the court yourself AR and BL? My son is very humble and has enough class and self respect than to get into a blog war with a couple guys who don't matter. If u have children, you should honestly feel where I'm coming from. Therefore please focus on something else besides my son. Whether we win or lose.....we have nothing to be ashamed of. Btw.....My 6 l's paid for my college tuition, earned me all big 8 honors and paid me well professionally..

Andrew Ralls 6 years, 3 months ago

Welcome [hopefully the real] Tyrone Davis! As I read the actual quotes from your son I realized that he said nothing at all inflammatory, contrary to the tone of the article.

If you have some stories about playing against Pierce and KU we'd love to hear them. Post away.

P.S. nothing unethical about the posts in this thread so far.

P.P.S. I would love to lace them up against KSU, but coaches Brown, Williams and Self so far refuse to let me.

Chris Bailey 6 years, 3 months ago


You're not going to hear me say anything negative about you or your son. I couldn't have played on a high school team much less a college team and I would be defending my son much too. I have great respect for KState as a competitor. I have an uncle that was a starting offensive lineman for KSU during the Lynn Dickey era and he was also a nationally ranked wrestler until he was injured as a senior. So I cheered for the cats before I, myself, became a Jayhawk. That said most of the fans on this site are respectful but occasionally we have people who will engage in a keyboard war. I'm sure you understand that no one wins in that situation. As I said I would defend my son as well. Just remain calm and don't engage the hecklers. Best of luck to you, your son and Governors on Thursday. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

Stephen Johnson 6 years, 3 months ago

Right on target. I agree with you 100%. K-State was always a tough out in your era. I will cheer for my hawks, but wishing Kahlil a great game.

Jay Scott 6 years, 3 months ago

A sense of humor is every bit as important as a sense of mutual respect. Your comments are valid and your son seems to have said only the most sportsmanlike things.

That said, Andrew's comment is funny. If we learned anything from Selection Sunday, Chuck taught us, again, how much better life can be when we can laugh at ourselves.

Eliott Reeder 6 years, 3 months ago

I respect that, but I also thought the above "gather around" comment was hilarious. Good luck to your son, I hope he has a great game, but not at the expense of an L for Kansas, of course!

Armen Kurdian 6 years, 3 months ago

So I will say what I always say this time of year. No one comes to the tourney to play well, play for pride, or just represent the school. They want to win, all the way down to the weakest team in the field.

So we go in and we do what must be done. We crush the opposition with extreme prejudice. We wipe them from the face of Creation. We make them come off the court wishing they had never been introduced to the sport of basketball, and bring shame and disgrace on them, their families, and their future progeny. We play with a righteous anger and focus on the utter desolation and destruction of the opponent not even the Hebrew God could conceive.

Then we take the trophy, say thanx, and come home to glorious acclaim.

Tyrone Davis 6 years, 3 months ago

I truly appreciate it guys.....believe me....I have total respect for KU and the tradition u guys have....i didn't realize how crazy it was till i was in the stands a few years ago...on andrew wiggins birthday. It was unreal....gave me goosebumps because its different coming out the locker room than in the stands. About the stories......paul pierce, greg ostertag, jacque vaughn, raef lefrentz,scot pollard, billy thomas and sean pearson who am very good friends with. Just to say i played on the same floor with future hall of all a blessing. Thanks again guys. If it wasnt my son playing vs u guys.....I was behind u guys all the way. :) lets go peay!

Jay Scott 6 years, 3 months ago

As long as when "you're behind us", you don't change it to..."let's go pee"..

Karen Mansfield-Stewart 6 years, 3 months ago

Thanks for posting Tyrone. Fanatics (fans) can get a bit overzealous of course and sometimes I think they forget real people read this stuff. Despite the mostly good natured "trash talk" the vast majority have nothing but respect for other players and teams. I hope Khalil plays well - but not too well of course. ;-)

Michael Lorraine 6 years, 3 months ago

“We’ve got absolutely nothing to lose,” Exactly. When your playing with house money upsets are bound to happen.

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