Learn About Kansas State Hoops



by Mathew Hurley, Managing Editor

ESPN's travelling 'GameDay' crew will be in Manhattan, Kansas tonight for what could be a classic rivalry battle between Kansas and Kansas State in the Big 12.

It could also strongly influence the Big 12 regular season championship:

Kansas: 5-0
Texas: 4-1
Kansas State: 4-2
Oklahoma State: 4-2

Kansas State has a win over Texas, so they'd win a tie-breaker with the Horns (that's the only meeting). State will have two cracks at Kansas between now and the end of the season. A win here would tighten the standings at the top, and give them a puncher's chance of taking out the Jayhawks again down the road. On the other hand, a loss would be the third in league play already, making a Big 12 crown a longshot for the Wildcats.

And, let's not forget about March Madness:

BRACKETOLOGY AT ESPN (projected seeds right now)
#1 Kansas
#2 Texas
#3 Kansas State
#5 Baylor
#8 Missouri
#9 Texas A&M
#11 Oklahoma State

Kansas State has a win over Texas and Baylor (currently projected as #2 and #5 seeds at ESPN's website). But, they've lost to Missouri and Oklahoma State (#8 and #11). A home loss to Kansas could easily knock Kansas State down a run or two...and a disappointing result like that could lead to a downward spiral that affects the next few weeks. On the other hand, a win over Kansas would give K-State a shot at moving up. Any resume that has wins over Kansas and Texas is a strong one indeed.

This would have been a nice rivalry game anyway, with K-State becoming a force in college hoops under young coach Frank Martin. This is a statement-making TV spot even for a team that's near or below .500 in league play. K-State is now much better than that. They're trying to crack the upper echelon. This is their best chance to work their way into the media's consciousness. A 'Big Monday' win over Texas was a great start. Everyone will forget that if K-State loses badly tonight to Kansas.

If you follow college hoops at all...you probably know a lot of about Kansas. They've been a big story for years. Even the coaching change from Roy Williams to Bill Self didn't derail their juggernaut status. You probably DON'T know enough about Kansas State. Let JIM HURLEY'S NOTEBOOK provide a brief introduction!

*Frank Martin is often compared to a bouncer in a bar. He looks like a tough guy. By all accounts he is a tough guy. His teams play very physical basketball.

*Kansas State plays a style that's becoming very common in college hoops right now. They push the tempo...play a lot of guys...and try to wear you down physically with pace and pushing.

The Wildcats go to the free throw line A LOT. They currently rank 6th nationally in the percentage of their points that come from the free throw line. Unfortunately, they rank 274th in free throw percentage. Think how great they'd be if they could make free throws!

The Wildcats also allow their opponents to go to the line a lot. They play very physical games with constant stoppage for free throws. As we've seen with Texas and some other big name programs...they try to avert foul trouble by playing so many different guys. If you have a short roster, you're going to foul some guys out in this style of game while K-State won't.

*K-State pounds the offensive glass. They're currently second best in the nation in rebound rate on that side of the ball. What they lack in beauty they make up for in raw force. They're GOING to find a way to get the ball in the hole. We're less impressed with their defensive rebounding right now. It's not a weakness. It's not as big a strength as it could be given their athletes.

*K-State does have a top 20 defense once you adjust for tempo, even if they don't rebound as well as we'd like. They do everything else well on that side of the ball...from blocked shots to steals to defending the perimeter against wide open treys.

*K-State is 10-4-1 against the spread this year (and 6-1 ATS at home!) because Las Vegas oddsmakers have been very slow to realize how good this team really is. The Wildcats started slowly in terms of victory margins against soft non-board opposition. Once they caught fire, opponents and oddsmakers have had to duck and cover! State is 9-2-1 ATS its last 12 board games.

The lines are starting to catch up to reality. K-State was just a 1.5-point underdog at Baylor the other night (in a game they won by a bucket). We'll tell you upfront we'll be looking to go against Kansas State in their next game if they win here. They followed up the victory over Texas with an embarrassing home loss to Okie State (73-69 as 9-point favorites).

*K-State didn't have a particularly grueling non-conference schedule. And, it's possible that we're going to find out in a month that the whole Big 12 is overrated. There was a perception of strength coming in. Everyone kept winning their games. Now that teams are mostly playing each other...the strength of schedule seems to be rising because of all the big matchups on the schedule. Well, that could be an illusion! Kansas lost to Tennessee. Texas lost to Connecticut. K-State lost to Ole Miss by a dozen on a neutral court. All of us need to avoid listening to much of the media hype about this league until we see more non-conference tests down the road.

This is going to be a fun game to watch, outside of the constant stoppages for free throws. If you like football on a basketball court, played at a fast pace, with teams who REALLY CARE about the result...this is going to be a treat. Kansas/Kansas State is one of many big matchups getting our attention this afternoon and this evening.

On the list for potential big play or TV Extravaganza consideration:
*Marquette at Connecticut in the Big East
*Louisville at West Virginia on ESPN
*Duke at Georgetown on CBS
*Oklahoma State at Missouri on ESPN2
*Vanderbilt at Kentucky on ESPN
*Baylor at Texas in the Big 12
*Notre Dame at Rutgers in the Big East
*Kansas at Kansas State on ESPN prime time



It's month end and the creditors are knocking on the door of bettors around the country. The regular customers of the Jim Hurley Network don't have that problem, but we're always working for an edge that will help those that do need it and perhaps win their confidence to sign up for the long haul. On Saturday we have a college basketball play that's a major board blaster. Our computer programmers and stat handicappers have run the most up-to-date numbers through the most advanced systems literally thousands of time to grade every game at a precise probability. Our sources tip us off as to what intangible factors may throw the numbers off.ThenJim Hurley's own uncanny instincts and betting savvy turn into an explosive play! For the end of January, why don't you pay your bills with your man's money instead of your own? This Bill Collector's Special is your way to do just that!

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It's a dream day and night in college basketball. There's no football this weekend outside of the exhibition Pro Bowl down in South Florida.

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We'll be back tomorrow to run the key stats from many of those games we just listed. Monday's report will analyze the key stats from Sunday meetings (like Florida/Tennessee and Lakers/Celtics in the NBA) and get you set up for UCONN/Louisville and Texas/Oklahoma State on Big Monday. Make plans now to be with us in the NOTEBOOK every day from now through the tourneys.

And, most importantly...don't mope around the house because there isn't any football this weekend. Park yourself in front of the TV for Louisville/West Virginia, Duke/Georgetown, and Kansas/Kansas State so you can WATCH YOURSELF WIN A FORTUNE!

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