Since Bob Huggins received commitments from Michael Beasley and Bill Walker to play basketball at Kansas State, KU fans have heard an annoying chatter in their ears about the two star players and the, allegedly, rising Kansas State program. That annoying chatter was loud last year with Huggins, but now it’s even louder with Huggins gone and Beasley and Walker now on campus.
The loss of Bob Huggins and promotion of unproven coach, Frank Martin,
has added to chatter from Kansas State fans. With Martin, they have
seen their hoops program start off 2007-08’ struggling and
looking bad at times. Now, they sit undefeated in conference play after
rebounding from such a rough start. Loses to Oregon and George Washington, along with a blow out loss to Xavier, seemed to leave
Kansas State fans wondering if this, despite Beasley and Walker, would
be just a regular year for the Kansas State basketball team. Lucky for
Kansas State, 2007 ended and 2008 began. Along with the beginning of
2008 came conference play. Going into Wednesday night, Kansas State
sits undefeated in conference play and that annoying buzz is peaking.
Should the fans be excited about playing Kansas in Manhattan? Of course
they should. With Michael Beasley and Bill Walker playing well, Kansas
State certainly has an opportunity to take their program to another
level. A level they haven’t been in decades. Having the
opportunity to beat Kansas in Manhattan, for the first time since 1983
is great, but is that what the Kansas State administration had in mind
when they promoted Martin and kept assistant, Delonte Hill? Just to
beat Kansas once in awhile.
With that decision, Kansas State was able to keep Walker on campus and
bring Beasley to campus. Two prized recruits, for one season, to bring
the Kansas State program back to a level of respectability. Short
sighted? It would seem so, but as the Cats sit at 4-0 in conference,
that decision doesn’t look like such a bad risk right now. On
Wednesday night, we’ll see how that decision looks at about
9:00 p.m. central time. If the Cats come out victorious, the
administration will feel justified in their decision. If the Jayhawks
win, it’s just the same thing, different year.
Media outlets all around the state have been drubbing up story lines to
create even more hype for this game on Wednesday night. Radio, TV,
Internet, and of course the newspapers have been hyping this game as
Kansas State’s best chance to end the streak in at least the
last 15 years. Is it? I don’t think so, and I think
it’s a stretch to think so. Every year, this game seems to
receive some build up. Every year, there seems to be some sort of story
line that seems to give Kansas State an opportunity to end the streak.
The hype and chatter seemed to peak last season with Bob Huggins being
hired at KSU. Kansas, once again, rolled into Manhattan, controlled the
game, and went home a winner, as usual.
Kansas State has beaten Kansas seven times since 1983. None of those
wins, in Manhattan, Kansas. Kansas has been ranked in the top 20, 19
times since 1983. Kansas has been ranked 11 times in the top 5. Zero,
is the number of times that this match up has taken place with both
teams ranked since 1983. By looking at the numbers, it certainly would
see as if Kansas has had a huge advantage over the Wildcats in talent
and coaching. For the most part, they have. But this year, according to
some, will be different. One problem, this might be the best Kansas
team that has played in Manhattan since 1983.
The reason why some believe this year is different is due to Beasley
and Walker. Walker, who played in six games last season before tearing
his ACL, is a 6’5” 4 man, who will have to
translate into a 3 at the next level. Walker is very skilled around the
basket and has shot the ball very well since the calendar turned to
2008. Don’t let that fool you though. Walker has been a very
streaky shooter with limited ball handling skills, during his young
Beasley, a 6’10” post man has been simply been one
of the best players in the country since stepping on the court. He
averages over 25 points per game, and hasn’t slowed down
since conference season started. He is smooth and makes the game look
very easy. Beasley has shown to be very crafty around the basket. He is
very good at getting put backs off his, and his teammates missed shots,
and getting three point opportunities by finishing after getting
fouled. He has been a match-up problem for almost every team Kansas
State has faced, and a force that hasn’t been stopped by any
opponents. Kansas doesn’t need to stop Beasley or Walker to
win. Kansas State needs to stop Kansas. Kansas is the team with the
true ‘pick your poison’ line-up.
It won’t matter how talented Walker and Beasley
are. It won’t matter that Beasley is likely to be
the #1 overall pick in the 2008 NBA draft. It will make little
difference to the Kansas players, coaches, or fans. You see, Kansas
State has never seen a team like this. A roster full of players that
were also superstars in high school and have now established themselves
as stars on the collegiate level. Names like Rush, Chalmers, Robinson,
Arthur, Collins, and Jackson have run rough shod through their
competition so far this season. Add in Kaun, Stewart and former
McDonald’s All American, Cole Aldrich, and you have simply
one of the deepest, most talented teams in the country. These
former high school superstars have come together to form Coach Bill
Self’s best team at Kansas, or anywhere else.
It’s this team and these players that will disrupt,
frustrate, and beat Kansas State on Wednesday night no matter what
Walker and Beasley do. It’s not Walker and Beasley, who will
surely be impressive, that Kansas will disrupt and frustrate the most.
The Kansas State back court is just plain overmatched and outmanned in
this match-up. The Kansas guards, including Rush, are some of the best
defensive guards in the country. The pressure they apply has done
nothing but led to turnovers and easy baskets for the Jayhawks. Simply
put, the Kansas State guards aren’t good enough to prevent
Kansas from turning them over.
With the ball pressure being applied by the Kansas guards, it will be
much tougher for the KSU guards to get the ball into Walker and
Beasley. If Kansas limits their touches, turns over KSU, and continues
to play efficiently on offense, the hype will be dead with 10 minutes
left in the game. Kansas State has looked impressive at points this
season, but they haven’t seen a team, a cohesive team, like
Kansas. The 2007-08’ version of the Kansas Jayhawks, are the
perfect storm of talent, coaching, teamwork, and toughness. The worst
thing that Kansas State players and fans could have done is start that
annoying chatter again. Kansas will be heading east, with Danny
Manning’s lucky 25 on their side. Next?
Alright, It's Go Time
Phog.net Top Stories
Big 12 Football Roundup: Week 3 Top StoriesAll you need to know about Big 12 teams leading into Week Three of the college football season.
Big 12 Recruiting Notebook (9/15/16)News, notes and recruiting scoop out of the Big 12...
Scout's Inside Recruiting ScoopSep. 14 -- What's the latest on the top recruits in the country? Scout's basketball recruiting team -- Evan Daniels, Brian Snow and Josh Gershon -- break down the latest, including…
Bruin Report Online09/14/2016
Big 12 Power Rankings: Week 2A look at the Big 12 Power Rankings after two weeks of play
Big 12 bowl predictions after Week 2TCU goes down and loses its spot in the College Football Playoff, but another team from the conference steps in.