News and Notes from the Sweet 16

Editor's Note: The following story will run in Thursday's edition of the Kansas State Official Sports Report. For more information or to subscribe to OSR visit

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah - Notes and quotes from Wednesday's media day.

JAKE BEING JAKE: Curtis Kelly was asked if Jacob Pullen had kept a level head while being the media darling of the team.

"Ummmm. Jake is going to be Jake. Jake has a shining personality. He has a charm to make people know that, 'My name is Jake.' That's how he shines, 'My name is Jake,' " Kelly said. "He's holding it down."

ANYTHING TO THE RUMOR? A rumor is floating around that K-State will sport new uniforms for today's game, but Kelly said, "That rumor is around, but it's not nothing I know about. Jake probably knows about it."


"I know all the secrets. I talked to the dude from Nike today," Pullen said. "No, we're wearing the same jerseys. Why would they want to do that (change jerseys)? If we lose, everybody would blame it on the new jerseys."

COACHING TIRED: Coach Frank Martin was quizzed about looking tired. But to that, he said, "I'm all for being tired when this is the kind of stuff that happens. I used to be tired from mowing yards and cutting trees that fell during Hurricane Andrew. Getting off my (bar) bouncing job at 2:30 in the morning, walking into math class at 7:00 in the morning. That was hard. This is easy."

But Martin did admit that his wife looked at him Wednesday morning and said, "Man, you look like a mess."

MID-MAJOR: If one wants to make Xavier coach Chris Mack bristle, just throw out the phrase "mid-major school" to him.

"Everything in our program is first class. That's how we travel, how we recruit, the use of charter planes, everything," said Mack. "It gets under our skin. I guess I just have a hard time defining that label. We don't look at ourselves as anything but being a high-major program."

There's proof to that statement. The Musketeers are 26-8, are one of just 10 schools to reach the Big Dance in each of the last five years, have made the tourney in nine of the last 10 seasons, and along with Michigan State the only school to reach the Sweet 16 in each of the last three seasons.

WHAT'S MJ DOING: When the K-State team charter landed here Tuesday afternoon, only a couple hundred yards away was a white private jet accented in Carolina Blue.

On the side of the plane was the number "N236MJ" and on the tail was the well-known logo of, yes, Michael Jordan flying through the air. "23" was the number worn by Jordan, "6" the number of titles won, and "MJ", or course, his initials.

HISTORICAL SITE: This marks the 17th time that the city of Salt Lake City has hosted an NCAA Tournament competition. It's the first time that the event has been held off the Utah campus, as this year's games will be played at the home of the NBA Utah Jazz, the EnergySolutions Arena.

The most notable of those came in 1979 when Indiana State and Larry Bird went at Michigan State and Magic Johnson.

K-State has played in Salt Lake City twice. In 1981, the 'Cats defeated Illinois, but lost to North Carolina. In 1987, K-State defeated Georgia, but lost to UNLV.

SEVEN TIMES BEFORE: When Kansas State and Xavier meet on Thursday, it will mark the eighth time that the Wildcats will have faced a team in the NCAA Tournament that they played during the regular season.

In the first seven meetings, K-State owns a 3-4 record in the NCAA Tournament.

1989:    Regular season - Lost to Minnesota, 72-67

            NCAA - Lost to Minnesota, 86-75

1988:     Regular season - Lost to Purdue, 101-72

             NCAA - Defeated Purdue, 73-70

             Regular season - Defeated Kansas, 72-61; Lost to Kansas, 64-63; Defeated Kansas, 69-54 (Big 8 Tourney)               

             NCAA - Lost to Kansas, 71-58, in the Elite Eight

1980:     Regular season - Defeated Arkansas, 66-57

             NCAA - Defeated Arkansas, 71-53

             Regular season - Lost to Louisville, 85-73

             NCAA - Lost to Louisville, 71-69 OT

1972:     Regular season - Defeated Texas, 87-60

             NCAA - Defeated Texas, 66-55

1960:     Regular season - Lost to Kansas, 64-62; Defeated Kansas, 68-57

             NCAA - Lost to Kansas, 84-82    

MERRIEWETHER ON THE 'CATS: K-State senior Chris Merriewether couldn't have written a better script for the final minutes of his Wildcat basketball career. They are minutes played in the NCAA Tournament.

"It's been a very successful year, but we're not done yet," said Merriewether. "I could say we'll only be satisfied with the Final Four and it wouldn't be a successful year without winning the championship, but honestly, as long as we play as hard as we can, and as well as we can, that's all we can ask. We just want to play tough, intense basketball."

A PERFECT BALLOT - REALLY: ESPN's Tournament Challenge currently has 4.78 million entries in its tournament bracket, including President Obama, and none, that's no one remains perfect.

However, Alex Herrman, a 17-year-old from Glenview, Ill., in Chicago has a perfect bracket in Bracket Challenge.  Herrman has picked all the upsets, which includes Northern Iowa over Kansas, Ohio defeating Georgetown, and Cornell over Wisconsin and was the talk of the town on ESPN Radio's Mike& Mike in the Morning. Herrman, who is autistic, said of his accomplishment, "It's amazing. I'm good at math. I'm kind of good at math and at stats I see on TV during the game."

According to the Books of Odds, the chances of picking the first two rounds 100 percent correctly are one in 13,460,000, which means one has a two-to-one better chance to win the lottery.