OTC: KU Somehow, Someway Plays Kentucky For The Title / Bruce Weber Hiring Befuddles K-Staters

“I have predicted about 70% of the winners after the 1st weekend. Kentucky will win by at least 10 over KU. They will relax and play now!”
Tom Penders, @TomPenders, Twitter
GH: I watched Dick Vitale, Digger and Jay Bilas all compliment Kansas but pick Kentucky to win. I have yet to hear a national analyst who thinks KU will win tonight. And if you have watched the way Kansas has played the past three weeks compared to Kentucky’s lottery-picks, you know why. KU’s chances are as slim as Withey’s biceps – but there is a chance.

“I’m just amazed at how good Bill Self is. Ohio State was whipping his team. Whipping. And he got it turned around in ten minutes. At some point Monday night, Kentucky will be up by 15 points. And it will be a game with five minutes left. The Wildcats better bring it.”
Kurtis Seaboldt, @KSeabodlt, Twitter
GH: That game Saturday night was over. O-V-E-R! Kansas looked lost and Ohio State was rolling behind the heady and athletic play of their perfect point guard, Aaron Craft. But somehow the Hawks stayed within nine at the half and Bill Self once again got more from his guys than tOSU could get from their guys. Kansas is simply in phenomenal condition. I think they ran tOSU out of gas and then hit the accelerator. KU seems to never tire.

“2nite a team that 1 ‘expert’ said wouldn’t finish in the top five in the big12 plays for the national title.”
Bob Fescoe, @bobfescoe, Twitter
GH: Did Fescoe make fun of the media “experts” who predicted KU would make the Final Four in the years they bowed out early? Show some class, Bull Dog. Kansas as a far more proud legacy than the one your pettiness promotes.

“I expect big radio and television ratings for this game tonight. You have to have something recognizable to the casual fan. The casual fan is who drives radio and television ratings.”
Kevin Kugler, radio play-by-play voice for Westwood One’s NCAA Tourney broadcast, on Kentucky and Kansas being blueblood programs that will draw the casual sports fan to the broadcasts, 810 AM
GH: Kugler is correct in that it takes the non-traditional sports fan to make a sporting event or broadcast a ratings winner. One reason sports talk radio has trouble breaking free of middling overall ratings it that it appeals to an unbalanced male-dominated niche. But KU basketball knows no gender barriers. This is one reason it is big business in Kansas City.

“I watched [the replay of KU’s win over Memphis in 2008] every night before we went to bed. To me that was such a great memory. My wife, she’s fed up with it. ‘Do we have to watch this?’ And I’m like going, ‘Yeah, we do.’ ”
Bill Self, on how fondly he looks back on his one national championship win, ESPN
GH: Not everyone has such a fond memory of that game – like Kentucky’s John Calipari, who coached alongside Self at Kansas under Larry Brown. Read on.

“I have never looked at that tape. That tape was flung out of the door of the bus as we were going to the plane. So I have never looked at that tape, nor will I.”
John Calipari, the former Memphis coach, on the tape of Memphis’ loss to KU in 2008, ESPN.com
GH: Coach Brown flew back home to watch the Final Four from his home. He said he could not handle being there in New Orleans while two of his former assistants battle for the title tonight.

“There are pictures of a guy [in Kentucky] with a two-by-four, hitting a stop sign. ‘My team just won! Let’s go beat the crap out of a stop sign!’ Really? This is idiocy! The people who do it are idiots! I don’t get it and I really hope it doesn’t happen again tonight.”
Mike Golic, on the violent demonstrations reported in Kentucky following the Wildcats’ semifinal win over Louisville, ESPN Radio
GH: I for one am hoping the stop signs in Lexington have no reason to worry after tonight’s game. Rock Chalk.

“I think it’s bigger than Kansas and Missouri.”
Nick Wright, on the Louisville/Kentucky rivalry, 610 AM
GH: It might be dumber but I can’t see how UL/UK could be bigger. How many Louisville fans are there, 500,000? A million? While it might be heated, this rivalry is Lilliputian when compared to MU/KU. And what did it start over – BBQ recipes? Coaches leaving? Where is their Brown/Quantrill cornerstone? This isn’t even a fair fight. Somebody go beat up a stop sign.

“Could this post-season have possibly gone any worse for MU fans? What a nightmare.”
Tim, MU alum, following KU’s comeback win over tOSU, OTR reader mail
GH: Now that’s a rivalry.

“John Currie’s on the hot seat. I mean people want to kill this guy.”
Mark Carman, on Currie’s decision to hire the recently fired Illinois coach, Bruce Weber, 610 AM
GH: Death threats might be a bit of an exaggeration but Carman’s point is a good
one – Currie’s hire of Weber is not being received with much happiness by Catbackers. Read on.

“Bruce Webber didn’t think I was good enough to play at Illinois and I don’t think he is good enough to coach at Kansas State.”
Jacob Pullen, @Jpullz0, Twitter
GH: Pullen’s tweet made the Weber press conference but Currie refused to address it. It did nothing to quiet the riot building over this hire.

“That is just a stupid thing for Jacob Pullen to do – to go public with that and air his dirty laundry. Pullen needs to grow up. I thought it was a completely immature moment for Jacob Pullen.”
David Kaplan, who covers Illinois out of Chicago’s WGN, 610 AM
GH: Carman had Kaplan on as a Weber expert from Chicago. His takes gave balance to the hysteria building here on Weber. But Kaplan is wrong about Pullen being stupid with his anti-Weber tweet. Pullen is a grown man. Whether it was good or bad for K-State, it was a great tweet for sports talk radio and the media. We [at least the OTC] need more stupid and immature people on Twitter. Did I just write that?

“You could have walked Dean Smith up here and there probably would have been a problem with that.”
John Currie, when asked to comment about the K-State fans that are unhappy with the Weber hire, 810 AM
GH: Dean Smith probably wasn’t the best example to use there, John. It might give us an idea though of the age bracket from which Currie was drawing his candidates.

“He’s also a guy who walks his own dog and cuts his own grass.”
John Curie, on Weber, 810 AM
GH: Talk about a win, win! But can the SOB get K-State to the tourney?

“I think the toughest question was, ‘Why do you want to come to K-State?’”
Bruce Weber, when asked what was the toughest question Currie asked him in his interview, 810 AM
GH: This is not called “Winning the press conference.” I think Weber is used up and yesterday’s news. He had a decent run at Southern Illinois and Illinois but I don’t see him mustering the energy needed to promote an out-of-the-way program like K-State – especially after walking his dog and mowing his lawn.

“I think what you see right away is that Bruce Weber is a real individual. Somebody told me, ‘You will love him. He’s a treat to work with.’ ”
Matt Walters, KSU broadcast team, 810 AM
GH: Fans do not care if a coach is “great to work with.” They want to know if he can win 20 games a year and play deep into March.

“I was surprised [by the hire]. I don’t exactly understand the thought process that was used there. Bruce Weber struggled to get recruits to Illinois which is an easier job. I’d be interested to know what Bruce Weber’s plan is – where he’s going to get his guys.”
Mike DeCourcy, on KSU’s hiring of Weber, 810 AM
GH: Weber made a comment that he hoped to continue the pipeline to the east coast that Martin had mined. I don’t see any of those Spanish-speaking recruits coming to Manhattan anymore to help Weber with his hoop dreams. But others think Weber is a smart pick for the Cats. Read on.

“I’m telling you it’s going to be fine, K-State. You got yourself a good coach. He’s going to win there.”
Mark Carman, who covered Illinois while he was in the Chicago area, 610 AM

“I think he was an outstanding choice. I was thrilled to hear he will be a part of this conference.”
Kevin Harlan, on K-State’s hiring of Weber, 810 AM

“K-State fans, trust me – you got a really good basketball coach.
David Kaplan, who covers Illinois out of Chicago’s WGN, 610 AM

“If there is a question about Weber it is can he recruit.”
Kevin Harlan, 810 AM
GH: That is the one question you do not want to have to ask of your new basketball coach.

“Whoever they get to replace him, he’s not going to be as good a coach as Frank Martin. They out-kicked their coverage here.”
Danny Parkins, prior to Weber being announced as K-State’s new coach, 610 AM
GH: Weber’s coaching accomplishments far outweigh Martin’s – but I think Parkins’ words still ring true. Currie hired the safe guy – the guy you draft in the first round because his combine numbers are off the chart and he played in the SEC. Currie is looking to save his job…and it just might cost him it.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / greghall24

About Greg Hall

Software guy who has been writing my Off The Couch column in KC newspapers, publications and websites since 1994. Has been bounced from some of the finest media establishments this side of State Line Road. Dad first and everything else second...and there are a lot of everything elses.

54 Responses to OTC: KU Somehow, Someway Plays Kentucky For The Title / Bruce Weber Hiring Befuddles K-Staters

  1. john doe says:

    Go Kentucky

    Maybe they’ll actually call a Robinson flop tonight

    • JP says:

      Still suffering from Norfolk Envy Doe??

      • john doe says:

        norfolk envy? nope, they played the game of their lives.

        None of them will ever play that well again, even if it’s in the Corporate Challenge of the company where they clean toilets

    • Jim says:

      Statements like that make me realize one thing is certain, J.D. MU fans are far better at rooting against KU than they are rooting for MU. Must suck to spend an entire lifetime rooting for a team that has never, ever, ever given you the opportunity to root for them in March.

      Hate on KU all you want. That’s what you should do as an MU fan. But, know this. For all eternity, MU will go down as KU’s bitch for 100 years and the very last chance you had for any glory or bragging rights melted away in a 19-point choke job in Lawrence, KS. FYI – Eternity is a long, long time.

      • JP says:

        Missouri fans are funny people. Whenever they are in a big game, they want KU fans to cheer them (when it doesn’t affect KU, ex: West Regional Final, 2009). I had numerous Missouri fans beg me to cheer them on for the good of the Big XII. Fair enough, however, when the shoes on the other foot, they are petty, vindictive and crude. Funny how that works out.

        • MUC says:

          How does any fan sitting in a bar or at home cheering at a tv help the team win? I don’t see how you cheering is good for the big whatever.

      • john doe says:

        So you don’t root against Missouri? I call bull shit on that.

        Every KU fan roots against Missouri, and every MU fan roots against Ku. thats why it’s a rivalry. The only difference is, we acknowledge it, while you guys pretend to be too cool to admit it. Meanwhile you root for every MU opponent in the conference tournament, and Norfolk State

        • JP says:

          I have cheered for Missouri in the past. I don’t view sports in life or death terms like you do. I have other interests past Big XII sports, but I love sports.

          I did root for Norfolk, partly for the upset, and partly to stick it to MIZ-SEC!!!! It couldn’t have worked out better. This whole tournament has been fun for that matter.

          BTW, you don’t know KU fans, so don’t project your narrow bigoted Missouri fandom on us. We know what it’s like to play for national championships.

          • john doe says:

            So you DO root against Missouri, which proves my point.

            I know a lot of KU fans, and they all ACTIVELY root against Missouri. Nothing wrong with it, but at least they admit it.

        • TangoAlphaLima says:

          There’s a difference. Mizzou fans actively root against KU. KU fans are more indifferent to Mizzou. We don’t want you to win, but we don’t obsess over it.

          If KU fails, Mizzou fan feels validated. If Mizzou fails, KU fan expected it to happen.

          • john doe says:

            area message boards do not support your claim.

          • JP says:

            Actually Mizzou failing is like watching Wile E Coyote fall off the cliff, or Yosemite Sam getting blown up by dynomite after tangling with Bugs Bunny: You know it’s going to happen, it’s a matter of waiting for the payoff and laughing at the result.

        • BlackJack says:

          To be honest JD I am kind of blah about Missouri.

          What you fail to understand is that subconciously many KU fans do enjoy rooting against MU, but it is not a life obsession like you Missourah fans. Most KU fans have more important things on their agenda, like their own teams national successes and tournament acheivements, to be obsessed with another school’s program. But Missouri doesn’t really have anything else to hang their hat on, hence the bitterness and hate on KU’s successes.

          • not a fan of either says:

            Blackjack…other than basketball, what would those successes be? Football? Academics? Baseball, Soccer, cricket?…go ahead…anytime… Enjoy tonight KU fans, you go back into worrying about what Texas will tell you to worry about tomorrow.

    • Kyle says:

      And that was a great travel call on Withey, wasn’t it?

  2. TangoAlphaLima says:

    Although you may disapprove, Greg, Fescoe absolutely has the right to call out Jack Harry for his terrible (and biased) prediction for KU’s Big XII season. With the team making the national championship game, it only makes Jack look all the more foolish.

    I don’t love our chances against Kentucky tonight, but this KU team continues to surprise me. Here’s to hoping they’ve got one more surprise up their sleeves.

    Correction: Bruce Weber coached at Southern Illinois, not Illinois State, before he went to Illinois. Opinion: Either way, he’s still a terrible hire.

  3. JP says:

    I have a feeling that if there was an Off The Couch column 24 years ago, you could substitute Oklahoma for Kentucky and get the same answers. These are still college kids playing this game. Anything can happen, regardless it has been a wonderful NCAA tournament from start to finish. Whatever happens tonight, it has been a magical season at KU.

    • Greg Hall says:

      Very true. I remember watching the first half of that 50-50 KU/OU game and thinking I just saw the greatest half of college hoops ever. OU was soooooo talented that year. They had beaten KU twice and no one expected the game at Kemper to be any different. It will haunt Billy Tubbs until he dies — and likely after.

  4. KCPRGuy says:

    I realize not many members of KC media were in attendance at Weber’s PC. But why hasn’t anyone asked him about the funeral he had for Self at Illinois? An irrelevant question at any other job but this one that is about 50 miles or so away from Self’s doorstep. I guess that’s for another day.

    • Greg Hall says:

      The faux funeral was the first thing I thought of when I saw KK’s early tweet that Weber was KSU’s pick. Do you think he’ll be burying a faux Frank as well?

      • Scanit says:

        It’s also funny to me that Weber wilted under the pressure of being in Self’s shadow at Illinois, and now he’s going to be facing that times 100 at KSU on an ongoing basis. Good luck with that, Bruce.

  5. Gavin says:

    I’ve only seen one national analyst pick KU. Not that I blame them. UK is the smart pick. That one writer is Dennis Dodd. http://www.cbssports.com/collegebasketball/story/18225542/ncaa-tournament-championship-predictions-kansas-vs-kentucky

    • TangoAlphaLima says:

      Former NBA player Bruce Bowen, now a ESPN analyst, picked KU on ESPN’s First Take this morning. And although Skip Bayless picked Kentucky, he said it would be a really close game, and he would not be surprised if Kansas won. I clearly wouldn’t put much stock in either prediction, but there are some national analysts that are giving KU a chance.

  6. J-Rok says:

    My girlfriend asked Saturday night during the Mass St. Madness why people want to climb things to celebrate. “We won, I’m going to go climb a tree!” I guess it’s better than rioting and burning furniture.

  7. tigerdan4 says:

    I have never wished for KU fans to cheer for Mizzou and I sure as hell will never cheer for them. Go Kentucky! Win another title for the best conference in all of college sports, the SEC.

    • JP says:

      Don’t worry, it won’t ever happen again. Enjoy the national championship game, it’s not like Missouri will ever make one in either football or basketball!!!

    • Jim says:

      Funny, there wasn’t a single Tiger fan two years that would have EVER declared the SEC the best conference in college football. Why? Because they didn’t give a shit about the SEC! But, now? Yeah, it’s the greatest!!!

      • MUC says:

        As a fan you should think your conference is the best. Now that the SEC is our conference, damn right it is the best.

      • BlackJack says:

        You’ll have to excuse tigerfan; this new fangled conference SEC affiliation “rooting interest” thing is the only way for them to desparately maintain the rivalry and obsession with KU, now that the two team are no longer playing.

        • MUC says:

          Only for one more night. After that I will no longer give a shit about ku. Hard to give a damn about a team that you do not play against.

    • BlackJack says:

      How sad it must be tigerdan4, that as a MU fan your are reduced to getting your jollies rooting for one blueblood program, Kentucky, beating another blueblood program, KU, in the national championship game.

      Either way, it is a lose-lose proposition for you, hehe.

  8. nick says:

    Craft was as advertised for most of the game. But in the 2nd half he got torched by Elijah multiple times (how sick was Elijah’s behind-the-back crossover move past Craft?!!!), and inexplicably drove 3 times to the hoop to get predictably swatted by Withey.

    If K-State’s goal was to hire a mid-to-late 50′s coach who wants a second chance, Eustachy woulda been a much better choice for K-State. Eustachy would have kept them super tough and likely woulda recruited better athletes.

    And compared to Martin, Weber is older, duller and has a much worse resume the last 5 years. Count me as skeptical.

  9. Harwood Benjamin says:

    Bruce Weber coached at Southern Illinois, not Illinois State. He’s a better game coach than Frank M., but the question is whether he can recruit people to Manhattan. The big beef with him is his weak recruiting of Chicago (why was Derrick Rose at Memphis and why is Anthony Davis at UK?).
    The main reason the hire looks bad is that Weber still has the stink of his recent firing on him. But if Illinois couldn’t lure Shaka Smart or Brad Stevens will multiyears and multimillions, who do the naysayers think K-State was going to woo? Even at this low ebb of his reputation, Weber is a better choice that Mr. Mantan from Pepperdine or Jungle Jim Wooldridge.

  10. Smartman says:

    If John Calipari gets beat by Self Self, AGAIN, tonite he’ll be the only thing getting whacked with a 2×4. Rick Pitino is just a PIG! He makes Craig Glazer look like Alan Alda. Every time I see him all I can think about is his skinny little ass banging the waitress in the restaurant. I realize that in Kentucky that’s called foreplay, but still?

    Bruce Weber will have more success at KSU than Frank will at SC.

    ANYONE who thought the KU-OSU game was over at the half is INSANE and knows little to nothing about this KU team. They’ve got guts and balls that would make George Patton proud. Even when they do stupid things you never sense that they are rattled. This team is emotionally mature beyond their young baller years.

    UK ain’t Purdue, NC State, NC or OSU. These Wildcats could play in the NBA. They’ve got some serious nutsack and heart too. Let the Hunger Games begin!

    • Sean says:

      Better picture that image for 11 seconds, because like craig they blow quick and are napping quicker

  11. Big Dub says:

    It’s crazy how fast the pendulum swings for coaches. 5 years ago when Hugs left, Weber would have laughed at the KSU AD for even contacting him about the job, and now we are ready to burn down the barn over this decision. I had to talk myself off of the ledge all day Saturday, but I’m starting to come to terms with it.

    There’s a lot of talk about Weber’s lack in recruiting, but he’s had Top 15 National Classes in 4 out of the 5 past years I believe. My bigger concern is that these 4 stars and high 3 stars didn’t translate into on the court success.

  12. Guy Who Says What Others Think says:

    Bruce Weber sucks and is a laughable hire.

    • Gavin says:

      I think in this particular case your name should be “Guy Who Says What Others Are Also Saying.” Very few people seem to like this hire. I know that if I were a K-State fan I’d be pissed.

    • kathy says:

      Seriously? mu fan laughing about a bball hire? mu fans were in meltdown mode a year ago!

  13. Scanit says:

    Kansas has a great chance in this game because they are tougher and better coached than UK. Yes, Tyshawn will make some boneheaded plays, but if the game is close at the end, KU will win. And Calipari’s guys still can’t shoot free throws.

  14. J says:

    NOT ONE REAL COLLEGE SPORTS FAN WOULD ROOT FOR CALIPARI…

    He’s athief..a liar…a carpet bagger…a scum bag…a cheater…a hit and run con man..
    and thats his good qualities.
    I am an MU fan…but hope KU wins so that T Rob gets to celeb rate the night.
    He’s gone thru more crap in his short life than movst of us face in a lifetime.
    And bill is a really cool guy. Compete and play to win…but the rivalry is over
    and how could anyone who believes in doing the right thing hope that the
    bum calipari and his nba thugs win anything.
    go ku….

    • Guy Who Says What Others Think says:

      That’s right, not only laughing, but in full guffaw at KSU and that idiot Currie. But, I guess that’s what you get from a bunch of dirt merchant, soil samplers. Hiring a guy that was fired for his utter lack of recruiting and incompetence in general. He sucks out loud. Illinois got steadily worse under his reign.

  15. Ron says:

    No one outside of Kansas City and western Kansas cares what K-State does. It’s the absolute backwater of college basketball. K-State was lucky to get Bruce Weber. There was no one else of note in line behind him who wanted the job.