February 6, 2007

Cats hope to battle for state supremacy

Bob Huggins has his first Kansas State (17-6, 6-2) team off to a good start in his quest to get the Wildcat basketball program back to a spot of national prominence, but to do that he must first make waves in a state also featuring a perennial national power in Kansas as well as Wichita State, who made a run to the Sweet 16 last season.

K-State's first chance to take some control of the Sunflower State under Huggins comes Wednesday night against the ninth-rated Jayhawks (19-4, 6-2) in Lawrence. Still, no matter how good the Wildcats, who are now receiving votes in both major top 25 polls, get in the future Huggins doesn't expect the in-state battles to get any easier.

"There's nothing wrong with us and Kansas and Wichita all being good. I think it would be a wonderful thing for the state," Huggins said. "Kansas is always going to be good. Let's face the facts; as long as Bill (Self) is there, they are always going to be good. They are always going to recruit good players and get good coaching.

"I think it's the same situation in Wichita with Mark (Turgeon). It does a lot for basketball in this state and this region."

The Wildcats still have a long ways to go in hopes of drawing even with the Jayhawks perception wise. K-State snapped a 31-game losing streak in the series in Lawrence last year but has still lost 32 of 33 in the series, leaving Huggins to believe K-State/KU doesn't qualify as a true rivalry just yet.

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