OMAHA, NE (KSNT)- Here’s one final preview before tomorrow Kansas Wichita State game.
Here’s something crazy.. KU’s Perry Ellis was born in September of 1993, the last time the Jayhawks and Shockers played was January of 1993.. Perry, the Wichita-native, wasn’t even born yet. You know he’s excited for this game.
Says KU Freshman Guard Kelly Oubre, Jr. “Perry doesn’t really say a lot. But I could tell by his bounce in practice that he is pumped up for the game and we’re rallying behind him and knowing it’s a very important game for him since he’s from Wichita and he knows a lot of people on the team so hopefully we can get this win for him and its going to be a great game.”
Ellis, KU’s Junior Forward says “Not really anybody, I just said I want to play these guys. Whoever is on our schedule that’s who I’m looking forward to.”
Meanwhile, Wichita State Junior Guard Ron Baker told us “Every Kansas kid growing up wants to be in my shoes. Small town kid playing against ku. Go out and have fun. Enjoy the process and all this. Who would have thought.
“All of us, I know that all of us want to win and that’s all we’re trying to do. ” adds Ellis.
It’ll be fun to see how Ellis and Baker, the Kansans, perform tomorrow. They could be the difference-makers. They sure could, but here’s my difference-makers, the point guard matchup between Fred VanVleet and Frank Mason. Vanvleet let the Missouri valley in assists, averaging more than 5 per game, Mason had a stretch of 21-straight double-digit scoring outings. They go head-to-head tomorrow.
“This is a great matchup between me and him,” says Mason “but it’s not just about me and him, it’s about the team so we’ll do whatever it takes for my team.”
Says KU Head Coach Bill Self “he certainly respects Fred and he’ll play hard. Playing hard and tough doesn’t always guarantee playing well but I think it’ll be a great matchup. Two great point guards. Frank is obviously not as well known but I do think he’s one of those talented guys that he’s a year away from being in a position that everybody knows his name.
Adds Mason, the KU Sophomore Guard, “he’s great in transition, he can shoot the ball really well and he’s a good defender. But I’m also a good defender. I can get in the lane and I’m good in transition too. So it will be a great matchup but it’s not just about us two. It’s about the team”
WSU Junior Guard VanVleet says “I don’t want to give my game plan away but they’re really good. Good guards. I think mason is been leading the way. He’s good, they’re really good and that tends to be the case with most point guards and he’s right up there with the best of them so I’m looking forward to the battle. Bill Self: VanVleet is the same way. He’s a great layup shooter. Just taking away his jump shot or his 3 isn’t enough because he can certainly finish over big guys”
Says Ellis “It’s huge. He’s a great player. He gets his teammates involved also so we have to watch him.”
VanVleet dropped 27 against Indiana, Mason has 17 against New Mexico State. Both led their teams in their opening games here in Omaha.
Now we’ll see if one can shine in the biggest stage, or if both have big games and the difference comes from somewhere else. Maybe the Kansans Perry Ellis and Ron Baker.
All eyes will be glued to the game with the winner advancing to the sweet 16 in Cleveland. Matt: tipoff is at 4:15 Sunday afternoon.