Old K-State foe Danny Manning has Wake Forest in First Four
DAYTON, Ohio (AP) Whenever John Collins mentions that he plays for Wake Forest, he usually gets a question about his famous coach. Everybody wants to know about Danny and The Miracles .
Danny Manning led Kansas to the 1988 national title, knocking off Kansas State along the way. He’s got Wake Forest (19-13) back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in seven years, facing K-State again.
”It’s always brought up when I talk to anybody,” Collins said on Monday. ”People find out I play for coach Manning, and that’s the first thing that pops up.”
It’s a hot topic again as Manning’s current team gets ready to play Kansas State (20-13) in the First Four on Tuesday night. The winner will play Cincinnati in Sacramento.
”We had a lot of fun when I was at Kansas, and we’re looking forward to hopefully having a long run in this tournament,” said Manning, in his third season as the Demon Deacons’ coach.
Manning is 30-5 against K-State as a player and coach. Kansas State’s Bruce Weber was an assistant at Purdue when Manning led Kansas to the national title. The Boilermakers were hoping to face Manning in the tournament that year but got knocked out before they could get the chance.
”When you have success as a player, some of those guys don’t have the patience to be a coach,” Weber said. ”They don’t have the commitment. Obviously he does. And I think he’s great for the game.”
Manning has talked to his young team about his experiences in the NCAA Tournament. His players joke that it was so long ago that they can’t find any tape of their coach’s glory moments. Manning doesn’t have anything on tape, either.
”My mom might, but I don’t,” he said.
Mount St. Mary’s (19-15) and New Orleans (20-11) open the tournament on Tuesday night, with the winner facing No. 1 Villanova on Thursday in Buffalo.
In the other First Four games on Wednesday night, N.C. Central (25-8) plays UC Davis (22-12), followed by Providence (20-12) facing Southern Cal (24-9).
Some things to watch on Tuesday night:
LONG TIME COMING
New Orleans is making its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1996, a span that includes overcoming a hurricane’s destruction.
”It’s for everybody in New Orleans who has been in New Orleans since the devastation of Katrina,” guard Christavious Gill said. ”Even the people that left, it’s for them, too.”
A LITTLE INSPIRATION
Mount St. Mary’s Junior Robinson is the shortest player in Division I this season at 5-foot-5. He averages 14 points and 33 minutes per game.
”Junior is an inspiration to all of us,” coach Jamion Christian said. ”You look at him, he’s 5-foot-5, 165 pounds. He’s worked really hard to get up to 165 pounds, really. He’s a special player because he’s got enormous heart.”
Wake Forest overcame deficits of 19, 14 and 13 points to win its last three games in the regular season. The only other Division I team to win three straight games while overcoming double-digit deficits this season is Kentucky. And the term ”kids” applies: eight of its 13 scholarship players are underclassmen.
LOTS OF POINTS
The Demon Deacons scored 90 points nine times this season. The Wildcats put up the points, too, scoring 80 nine times.
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