What an incredible environment at Bramlage Coliseum on Saturday night. It was awesome, baby with a capital 'A' as Kansas and Kansas State put on a classic. In the end, it was "Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk" getting to the winner's circle.
Kansas State coach Frank Martin said before the game that he did not want a moral victory. He felt it was important to get a 'W' in this rivalry. His Wildcats already beat then-No.1 Texas at Bramlage, and it would have been big to have victories against the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in America.
The Jayhawks have the dynamic duo of Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich and they simply would not allow their squad to leave without a win. Collins, back in the game despite cramping and pain in his legs and back, made the shot of shots at the end, a basket and a free throw which locked up the win for Bill Self and company.
Kansas State played hard and there was so much passion and emotion on the court. Martin and his kids could be proud, but it was not enough.
It was fantastic to see how intense the KU vs. KSU game was, and then it was special to see all of the hugs after. RESPECT! It was all about respect. These teams are familiar with each other, and they played their hearts out. The fans were great to me at the "Octagon of Doom," and we had a lot of fun with the Kansas State supporters. Gameday had a record crowd of over 8,000 people in the morning, and the game lived up to the hype!
In the preseason, Kansas was my pick to win it all. The effort I saw at Bramlage further proves why Bill Self's squad has a legitimate shot at cutting down the nets at Lucas Oil Stadium in April.
I was also impressed with the improvement of Marcus Morris up front. He is a different player than the young man we saw earlier in the season. He is tough on the interior too, scrapping to get rebounds and score inside.
Tyshawn Taylor also stepped up and contributed big-time minutes off the bench. Here is a kid with a lot of talent, but he has to keep his head in the game and not worry about playing at the next level.
It was a memorable evening in Manhattan, Kansas as two teams capable of making March Madness noise left everything on the floor. The Jayhawks celebrated the 'W,' but Martin's club will be heard from in the future.