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NCAA basketball: Kansas State is relaxed and loose, but sleepless in SLC

Published March 26, 2010 3:28 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

No one can ever accuse the Kansas State Wildcats of not being relaxed and loose the day before the biggest college basketball game of their lives.

Maybe working on only a couple of hours sleep does that to a team.

The day after their epic 101-96 double-overtime win over Xavier in the NCAA Tournament West Region semifinals, the Wildcats participated in an hourlong news conference -- thanks in part to their talkative, intense coach -- at EnergySolutions Arena and said fatigue won't be a factor on Saturday against Butler.

"Not at all because all of us played AAU basketball, you know what I'm saying?" said forward Jamar Samuels. "In AAU, we play at least five or six games in one weekend. So fatigue isn't an issue for us."

Still, the Wildcats admitted to getting little sleep after playing for nearly three hours against Xavier in one of the most memorable NCAA Tournament games ever.

"I didn't sleep at all," said star guard Jacob Pullen, whose two, three-pointers in the second overtime clinched the win for the Wildcats. "I stayed up until like 4 [a.m.]. I was just excited. I laid there staring at the wall. TV was off and everything."

Of the five players on the podium Friday, only Samuels said he got enough sleep.

"I turned my phone on airplane mode last night so I could get some sleep," he said. "I got a good night's rest. Talked to my mom early this morning. I'm feeling pretty well right now."

How loose were the Wildcats on Friday?

Star guard Denis Clemente stepped onto the podium while chatting on his cell phone and eating a sandwich. Thursday's hero, Curtis Kelly, had a hard time suppressing a laugh at some of the things his teammates said.

As for Martin, he expounded on everything from the virtue of hard work to his desire growing up to be like Miami Dolphins great Larry Csonka to the drawbacks of being "sensitive to the times we live in."

The hard-driving coach acknowledged that he, too, got precious little sleep after the historic game.

"We were in the meeting room, watched tape all night," he said. "I chose to go back to my room, [but] laid there in bed, just kind of stared at the ceiling. ...I didn't sleep much. That's where Sunday is right around the corner. I'll sleep a lot on Sunday."