Bruce Weber impressed by Wildcats bench players against Oklahoma State
Given its recent success in Big 12 road games, a Monday trip to Allen Fieldhouse shouldn’t scare anyone associated with the Kansas State basketball team.
But history can be a hard thing to overcome and the Wildcats haven’t beaten the Kansas Jayhawks on the road since 2006, when Jim Wooldridge was coach, so they aren’t exactly oozing confidence as they prepare for another Sunflower Showdown in Lawrence.
“We had chances the last two years and we played at a high level (at KU),” K-State coach Bruce Weber said. “The crazy thing is they came here and just kind of took it to us. Now this is the first time in a long, long time we played them at our place first. Can we go at them? We will just have to see.”
If ever there was a time for K-State to end its road losing streak against KU, this seems like it. The Wildcats (21-6, 11-3 Big 12) are alone in first place of the conference standings and can virtually eliminate the Jayhawks (20-7, 9-5) from title contention with a win.
The Wildcats have also been road warriors lately. K-State has won six straight Big 12 games away from home, defeating Iowa State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Texas and West Virginia. Its only road loss in conference play came early on at Texas Tech when Dean Wade wasn’t in the lineup.
After losing its past two trips to Lawrence at the buzzer, it wouldn’t shock anyone if K-State wins another road game on Monday.
“It’s a bucket-list game, but we don’t really dwell on it or talk about it,” Wade said. “We honestly just look to the next game and that just happens to be the next game. It’s a huge game for us and it’s on the road. We know we’ve been playing great on the road. We just need to stay locked in.”
But this will be a more difficult challenge than most road games. KU is undefeated at home this season and hasn’t even been tested in Allen Fieldhouse this month, beating Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and West Virginia by an average of 17.6 points.
The Jayhawks will also be motivated to keep their conference title hopes alive and to redeem themselves from a 91-62 shellacking at Texas Tech on Saturday.
Something has got to give.
Senior guard Barry Brown is ready for anything. He had an opportunity to lead K-State past the Jayhawks last season, but botched the final play and missed a deep three-pointer as time expired.
He thinks both he and his teammates will be better prepared this time around.
“At the time, I thought about it a lot because I felt like I let my team down,” Brown said. “But now I’m just thinking about the next game. It’s a year later and we are a different team now. We are a better team and a more mature team.”