Bruce's Blog: January 7


For What it’s Worth on January 7 -- Ben McLemore gets the highlights, but Jeff Withey should be getting the high fives from KU fans.   The senior center is averaging  14 points, 8 rebounds and 5 blocks a game.  Those are numbers, should they continue, that will garner him All-American consideration.  His 11 rebounds and 9 blocks had everything to do with Kansas’ narrow win over Temple on Sunday.  And what about a double-double from Kevin Young? Talk about a secret weapon, the guy might start showing up on opposing team’s scouting reports.  You have to love what Bill Self gets out of his team, I’ve said before—few teams improve as much during the season as Kansas.

Road kill---

Wichita State’s win at Bradley Sunday night was their third straight in Peoria.  That’s the first time in the history of this series that the Shockers have done that.  It’s also their 18th win in their last 20 Valley road trips. Over the last two plus seasons, only Kansas has had a better road record than the 23-4 of the Shockers.  At 14-1, I think the Shockers have a really good chance to get back into the rankings today.  Did you know--that since they lost three starters to injury, they’ve gone 5-0 with three of those wins on the road?  Wichita State has tremendous depth and a great coaching staff.  Cleanthony Early is a legitimate all-Valley candidate and they continue to develop even greater depth with Carl Hall, Ron Baker and Evan Wessel out. When they get all, or some, of their injured guys back---watch out!  And by the way, if there was a National Coach of the Year award at the halfway point—Gregg Marshall would be in contention.


Normally, there would have been no reason to have paid any attention to a Tulsa-SMU matchup in Conference USA—except that both teams have big-time first year coaches with a little history.  Danny Manning’s Tulsa Golden Hurricane beat Larry Brown’s SMU Mustangs on a last second three-pointer in the first meeting  between the two former Kansas Jayhawks.  Beforehand it was a game that Brown said he was ‘dreading’, I can only imagine what he felt like afterwards.  Brown and Manning are forever linked to their unlikely run to the 1988 National Championship.  The title game against Oklahoma, who had hammered them twice before during the season, is—to this day—the best college basketball game I’ve ever seen live.  By the way, on that staff with Brown was  Alvin Gentry—the current coach of the Phoenix Suns, R.C. Buford—a Wichita Collegiate graduate, who’s now the General Manager of the San Antonio Spurs and a young Graduate Assistant named Mark Turgeon who would eventually lead Wichita State to a Sweet 16 before matriculating to Texas A&M and Maryland, where he now coaches.

Purple Reign—

I think it might be time to back off Bruce Weber at Kansas State.  That is, if you’ve been hard on him-or  just slow to come around to the new K-State hoop coach.  Shame on, you.  Two wins in as many weeks against ranked teams (Florida and Oklahoma State) has the ‘Cats to 12-2 and probably in the nation’s top twenty.  Rodney McGruder looked like the all-Big 12 player he was forecasted to be on Saturday, taking the game over in the second half against the Cowboys.  The senior had 26 of his 28 points vs. OSU in the second half and is averaging 20 points over his last three starts. 

Coming up tomorrow---

Football a plenty.  From the BCS Championship game to the NFL Playoffs to the Big 12’s bowl failings. Thanks for reading.

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