Kentucky 7-foot sophomore Willie Cauley-Stein, who grew up in tiny Spearville, Kan., and graduated from Olathe Northwest, loved watching Kansas State-Kansas games growing up. And he pulled for the Wildcats.
“I grew up watching Mike Beasley, Jacob Pullen, Denis Clemente. I loved watching K-State,” Cauley-Stein said. “The biggest thing growing up was when KU and K-State played.” Cauley-Stein also thinks a Kentucky victory over Kansas State would send a strong message: “I think this whole thing is just trying to shock the world, and do what people say we can’t do.”
Asked to elaborate, Cauley-Stein played the rare Kentucky underdog card. “A lot of people think we’re not going to make it past the first round,” he said. “So winning the first game would shock the world.”
Wildcats coach John Calipari took his center’s comments in stride. “I’m trying to get them to focus, and when they make that kind of statement, they aren’t totally listening to me,” Calipari said.