March 17, 2008

Martin sees athletic USC team on tape

Kansas State coach Frank Martin said he would go six days without sleep if it meant going to the NCAA Tournament. Well, the No. 11 seed Wildcats can rest easy -- they're in. But sleep assuredly didn't come easy for Martin following the announcement. Martin on Monday shared his thoughts on sixth-seeded Southern California as the Wildcats prepare for their first-round game in the Midwest Region in Omaha, Neb., on Thursday night.

Question: The K-State-USC matchup is interesting because you get 75 percent of your scoring from your freshman class and USC gets 54 percent of its scoring from freshmen. Talk about the intrigue in that matchup as there probably won't be another game like that in the first round.

Martin: They're led by freshmen and we're led by freshmen and the reason 75 percent of our points are scored by freshmen is because our whole team is freshmen. It's kind of what college basketball has become. It's become real young because all of the really good players are leaving school early to pursue professional opportunities. It's going to be a heck of a matchup and we'll see which group of freshmen is more prepared to take on the challenge.

Question: What do you know about USC now that you didn't know yesterday?

Martin: It's what I assumed they were. I was spending all night watching them and starting to study them some. Tim Floyd does an unbelievable job defensively. They've got some really competitive returning players in Taj Gibson and Keith Wilkinson on their front line and RouSean Cromwell on their front line. Then you add to that mix a young man like Dwight Lewis, who has played really well for them and Angelo Johnson, O.J. Mayo and Davon Jefferson and you've got a mix of guys who have done an unbelievable job of coming together. They're going to come out and guard you. Tim's teams are going to be as good defensively as any you're going to play against.

Question: So how much sleep did you get last night?

Martin: Like everyone else in the business, not much. You find out your seeding, meet with the team, start with your preparation, then meet with your staff, keep a review of everything you need to keep intact, make whatever adjustments you want to make for the postseason, then start watching tape. Not much (sleep), but that's OK. If it's a chance to play in the NCAA Tournament, I'd go six days without sleep.

Question: Michael Beasley said he's personally 3-0 against O.J. in playing two AAU games and one time in high school. Michael also talked about his chance to shine and stepping onto the big stage, which you talked about, too. Do you think you might have to talk to him to guard against a natural tendency to try to do too much because of all the expectations people will have in watching three great freshmen?

Martin: This isn't a new challenge for them to have to play well and have to put up numbers or produce or whatever the heck you want to call it. It's a new challenge for the team because of the experience. All the guys in the locker room will be in the first NCAA Tournament of their lives. I know they're all excited about that. It's no different. Mike, O.J., Bill Walker, Davon Jefferson - they've all played with and against each other for a long time. I don't expect this one to be any different than the ones in the past.

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