After a great weekend at Clemson, I am really looking forward to going to Bramlage Coliseum at Kansas State. I have never been to the Octagon of Doom, and I look forward to asking Digger Phelps whether he knows how many sides an octagon has.
Speaking of Digger, he has some issues.
Digger Phelps is one of the bright basketball minds in the game. Despite his highlighter and tie fetish, Digger has coached at the highest level and has some great insights on the game. However, his insistence upon dancing with young cheerleaders is becoming a disturbing trend. I believe that if the cheerleaders had a choice between dancing with Digger or dancing with Wilford Brimley, the former "Cocoon" star would win in a walk.
Four years ago, Digger had never heard of YouTube, and had barely heard of the Internet, yet now he measures success by YouTube hits on his geriatric gyrations. Hubert, Rece and I watched in horror as Digger danced with the captain of the Clemson cheerleading squad, then drew rave reviews from the media in the aftermath. One can only hope that Digger is not called by "Dancing with the Stars" to replace Tom DeLay in next season's version.
I was stunned to find that not one Clemson student or fan accepted my challenge to match wits in a game of Scattergories or some other test of my big brain, MENSA quality intellect. Perhaps they were scared. I can only hope that the Kansas State faithful are not quite as wimpy.
It was great to see Oliver Purnell again, as he is one of the classiest and best coaches in the country. Purnell has seen it all and has really brought a winning culture to Clemson. The atmosphere in Littlejohn was electric, and it was absolutely great to be there. It was also interesting to see Duke with its back against the wall on the road. Mike Krzyzewski, after thirty years of coaching at Duke and so many banners that you cannot count them all, was as excited as any coach I have ever seen when he ran off the floor with his first road win of the year. It was a great thing, because so many coaches are relieved when they win, rather than joyful. Winning is, and should be, fun, and it should be celebrated. Coaches and players should enjoy the success before moving on to the next thing.
I cannot wait to watch Frank Martin at work at Kansas State. He is old school and has come up the hard way. Martin is really intense, but he is really real, too. His players trust him, and they know how well-intentioned and passionate he is. While others may misunderstand Martin's tough demeanor, if you know Martin, you know what a good guy and a good coach he is. Martin is like Bo Ryan, who has not come up in the game the easy way. Martin has done it the tough way, and he is very, very capable.
Kansas is starting to play like the best team, and the key is held by Cole Aldrich. Aldrich has not played his best this season but has played his best in the last week or so. If he continues to play with that sort of assertiveness, Kansas can be the best team in the nation. The question is, can it bring the same level of toughness and intensity into Bramlage as prior Kansas teams? That is the only way to win there you have to match the intensity because Kansas State plays as hard as any team in the country.
I cannot wait.