Sunflower Showdown 2012: Round 1

4 Jan

Numbers to Note

  • The Wildcats and Jayhawks have clashed 272 times on the hardwood. Today’s game is just the 15th meeting in which both teams are ranked. KU is No. 14 in the AP Top 25 and No. 15 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, while those voters put Kansas State at No. 23 and No. 22, respectively.
  • With a win today, the Kansas State basketball program would have 1,500 victories in its history, joining Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma State in that distinction.
  • Kansas’ home court advantage is well-documented across the board, and Kansas State has not been an exception to that rule. The Wildcats have lost five consecutive games in Allen Fieldhouse and have just one win in the last 17 contests there. Frank Martin is 0-4 in Lawrence and 2-7 against the Jayhawks in his time as head coach of the Wildcats.
Trivia
  • What year did the series between Kansas and Kansas State begin?
  • Before Frank Martin, who was the last Kansas State coach to have more than one win in the series against Kansas?
  • How many times have Kansas and Kansas State for their Big 12 season openers?
  • When was the last time Kansas State began Big 12 play against back-to-back ranked teams?
  • How many players does Kansas State have in the Top 20 in rebounding, and who are they?
Puzzles to Ponder
  • What will Kansas State do without its go-to guy of Jacob Pullen to rely on?  While they looked rough early this season, the Wildcats seem to have ironed out some of their issues in their first dozen games. What used to be a stale offense with poor shooting has slowly progressed into a more fluid system as the players facilitate motion by doing what Martin asks – passing the ball around and moving without it. No one as emerged as “the” guy yet, but between Will Spradling, Rodney McGruder and Angel Rodriguez, fireworks are never far away. The combination of the three and the different styles they bring has been great for the Wildcats.
  • Who is going to be the biggest surprise this season? Watching Kansas State play Howard, the player who stood out to me was Jeremy Jones. He is so quick that when he weaves around the court that it looks like everyone else is on a slight delay. Also, his speed while dribbling reminds me of a comment Martin once made about Denis Clemente. Martin said that Clemente was the fastest he had ever seen with the ball in his hands. Jones, I think, is in that category. More noticeably, his release is just beautiful, for those who appreciate fundamentally sound jump shots. This is the one you point out to your son, daughter or sibling who plays basketball and tell him or her to shoot like this guy.
  • What are the strengths of this team? As I heard Bill Self say on the radio once, “Depth is not good because it protects you from injuries or because it allows players to take breaks without the quality of play dropping. Rather, depth is good because when your starters are not doing what you want them to do, you can take them out and put in someone who will do what you want them to do.” Martin has depth this season. This is helpful not only because of the aforementioned reason but also because the coach can ask his guys for all-out effort and have it be a reasonable request because they know they will have some time to recuperate here and there.
Trivia Answers
  • 1907
  • Dana Altman
  • Ten – Today will be No. 11.
  • 1996-97
  • Four – Jamar Samuels is 6th, Thomas Gipson is 7th, Jordan Henriquez is 14th and Rodney McGruder is 18th.
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