Any Suggestions?

Suggestions are one thing Bill Self has had plenty of this week.

From Goodland to Great Britain, ideas are pouring in on how to stop Michael Beasley from beating No. 6 Kansas two games in a row.

But there's a problem: With only a little research, Self finds games where Kansas State's super freshman has laid waste to just about every defense thrown at him.

``I've seen some teams play a box-and-one or whatever and he gets 30, and I've seen some teams play them primarily man and he gets 44,'' said the Kansas coach.

When the Jayhawks first confronted Beasley on Jan. 30, they tried double- and triple-teaming him every time he touched the ball. It worked, more or less, for a while. But the 6-foot-10 forward ended up scoring 25 in an 84-75 victory that snapped the Jayhawks' 24-year winning streak on Kansas State's home court.

Oddsmakers from Bodog have made Kansas –13 point spread favorites (View College Basketball odds) for today’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 54% of bets for this game have been placed on Kansas State +13 (View College Basketball bet percentages).

Since then, Beasley has been putting together perhaps the greatest season in the history of his school. He has tied the NCAA record for freshmen with 24 double-doubles and smashed the Big 12 single-game scoring record with 44 points. He comes into Saturday night's rematch in Allen Fieldhouse averaging 26.1 points and 12.5 rebounds in conference games and has been named Big 12 rookie of the week five weeks in a row.

Most Kansas fans seem to think a zone defense would be the best way to slow what many are hailing as the finest player Kansas State has ever had.

``We're not a zone team,'' Self said. ``As many fans that have written me letters saying to play zone or whatever, we're not a zone team. Will we play some zone? Yeah, and if we do, we're still not a zone team. We just have to do a better job of what we do. Even if you play zone, there's still a guy with the ball in front of you that you have to keep in front.''

Revenge for the Jan. 30 loss will be uppermost in the minds of the 16,300 fans who pack Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday night. But revenge is not all the Jayhawks (25-3, 10-3) have to play for. They are trailing No. 5 Texas by one game in the conference standings with only three to play and would love to make it four regular-season crowns in a row.

Kansas will finish its home schedule on Monday night against Texas Tech, then conclude the regular season at Texas A&M next weekend.

Since their victory over Kansas, the Wildcats (18-9, 8-5) have fallen upon hard times despite Beasley's brilliance. They have lost three straight and four of five, and an NCAA tournament berth that seemed almost assured a month ago could be slipping away. Their last two regular season games are next week against Colorado and at Iowa State.

``We've got to figure out a way to win because the last thing you want to do is fall into a losing streak this time of year,'' Kansas State coach Frank Martin said.

One problem the Wildcats have had is the peculiar tendency for Beasley's 6-foot-6 teammate Bill Walker to disappear.

Beasley and Walker combined for 49 points against the Jayhawks, and Walker had 31 points against Baylor one game. But in a 74-65 loss to No. 5 Texas on Monday night, Walker was 0-for-14 from the floor and had a shocking one point.

Nevertheless, the difference in Kansas State's victory over Kansas was freshman point guard Jacob Pullen. He had a career-high 20 points and went 10-for-10 from the foul line while bedeviling the Jayhawks with his dribble penetration.

Kansas acknowledged it hadn't spent much time preparing for Pullen - a mistake that's not likely to be repeated.

``He did catch us off guard, mostly because of the fact that all of the attention was down low with (Beasley and Walker),'' said Kansas guard Russell Robinson. ``We just have to have an all-around team defensive game. Now we know.''

by: Staff Writers - Email Us

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