Found February 11, 2013 on Fox Sports Kansas City:
MANHATTAN, Kan. The closest thing Allen Fox can come up with is Tiger Woods. Tiger Woods in his prime, Tiger Woods at the untouchable, pre-Escalade apex. We're breaking down the curious case of Kansas vs. Kansas State, talking basketball, and Fox, a tennis man, cites a golf study. Between 1999 and 2006, Fox recalled, this piece showed that whenever Woods was part of a PGA event, his peers shot 0.8 strokes higher on average than when he wasn't in the field. Can one name wield that much power? Can one brand have that much sway? "Yeah, absolutely," says Fox, the three-time Davis Cup veteran and Wimbledon quarterfinalist turned sports psychologist. "All these things are emotional. All you've got to do is just add a little extra pressure, a little fear or a little extra hurdle that you have to get over, and that's enough to swing the balance in a close contest." Sound a bit like a series we know? The Jayhawks (19-4) and Wildcats (19-4) renew pleasantries tonight at Allen Fieldhouse, their second meeting in three weeks, with first place in the Big 12 on the table once again. Kansas won the first meeting, 59-55, in Manhattan a contest in which the Jayhawks appeared businesslike and the Wildcats seemed just plain uptight, at least at the outset. Then again, you'd be uptight too, if you'd lost 44 of your last 47 to the one squad your supporters want most badly to see humbled. Of the 22 most recent meetings between the in-state rivals, it was the 19th to end in a Kansas victory. But, more to Fox's point, it was also the ninth Sunflower Showdown since 2004 to be decided by eight points or fewer. Kansas has won eight of those contests. K-State? Just one. "That's hard to explain when you have good teams," notes Bruce Weber, the Wildcats' first-year coach. "But if you really look, how many did (Kansas) have in a row at home? They're beating everybody (there). The road thing (in Manhattan), that was truly amazing, because you think somewhere, somebody is going to beat them I think a lot of it is how good (the Jayhawks) are." Still, it's not like the Wildcats have exactly been chopped liver, either. Since 2004, K-State has been to four NCAA Tournaments, an Elite Eight, and two NITs. Little Brother is good good enough to hang within shouting distance of Big Brother, certainly. And yet not good enough to stop shooting himself in the foot, at some point, every stinking time they lock horns. "There can be that mystique if you will, where it becomes, I think what we would talk about in psychology as a self-fulfilling prophecy," offers Dr. Bob Harmison, a sports psychologist at James Madison University. "If success hasn't happened in a long time, it's kind of hard to kind of see it as a possibility." "We're verbal creatures," Fox continues. "When you start talking about it, you start thinking about it, and the next thing you know, you've got too much pressure on you. And you screw up." One theory that gets a lot of traction in greater Kansas City harkens back to The Tiger Woods Effect. Something about the words KANSAS' on a jersey, something about that crimson, something about that blue, gets inside the heads of the K-State roster. Something about the name on the front. "No, I don't buy that. I don't buy that at all," allows K-State guard Rodney McGruder, a senior who's dropped five of his last six meetings against the Jayhawks. "I think it's more of the people, you know? "Just the people kind of psyche the players out, with how they like to hype the game up and stuff like that. We just have to go out an treat it like it's another game." Which is a nice way of saying the fans boosters, students, the lot of em put more than a little undue pressure on K-State's players, at least as far as the Jayhawks are concerned. Other Wildcats agree with McGruder, only they aren't as quite as diplomatic about it. When K-State faithful cackled on Twitter late Saturday afternoon over Kansas' third straight loss, Wildcats quarterback Daniel Sams and former K-State wideout Chris Harper got on social media and scolded segments of the Cats' loyal base for being so obsessed with seeing the Jayhawks suffer. "I think it's the fans," longtime K-State analyst Stan Weber says. "I don't mean that in a bad way; I mean that as a compliment. You want passionate fans. Every player wants passionate fans. And the K-State fans are a passionate, inspired bunch. But they let it be known to those kids that they really like the in-state rivalry and they really like winning the games against Kansas." With that, Weber segues to another sidebar, one that often gets lost in the pregame hype: Hey, Kansas likes winning these games, too. "Kansas has played excellent basketball, so let's give them credit," the analyst says. "They also care about the rivalry, and maybe moreso than most people evaluate. Most people (harp) on how K-State really wants to win this game. But we all don't talk about how Kansas really wants to win this game, and that's why they're hard to sneak up on." And here's the really crazy part: For once, it's the Wildcats who likely come in with something of a mental edge, at least from a confidence standpoint. K-State hit Naismith Drive riding a four-game winning streak. The Jayhawks, preseason league favorites, have dropped three straight for the first time in eight seasons; last Wednesday's loss at woeful TCU (RPI: 220) was a turd for the ages. When it comes to Kansas, nobody's really certain what we're going to get least of all, the Jayhawks themselves. "But it's a mental thing: Do you believe you can win, or not? And we've got to get through that roadblock," Bruce Weber says. "Something like that can shoot you a long way up in confidence." Or, conversely, send you crashing back to Earth. Tiger's head is a holy mess right now. If there was ever a window for the Wildcats to shake those Jayhawk yips, brother, this is it. You can follow Sean Keeler on Twitter @seankeeler or email him at seanmkeeler@gmail.com
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES
THAT'S HOT

Tiger, Vonn heating up as couple?

A report says the rumored relationship between Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn is "heating up." Could that be the case?

Tiger Woods gearing up for Masters

  Getty Images   Tiger Woods has added several events to his schedule as he prepares for the upcoming Masters in April. In an announcement on his website, Woods has committed to the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship at the Golf Club at Dove Mountain in Marana, Arizona which begins on February 20th.  From there, Woods heads back home to Florida to play in the Honda Classic...

Is Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson or Vijay Singh Biggest Story to Kickstart Golf Season?

Although the 2013 golf season has just begun, several stories are already making headlines, from Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson wins to Vijay Singh’s steroid use. Which story do golf fans really want to hear about? Unable to dial into the Golf Channel Media Conference Call yesterday, I was sent the transcript which started off with a very interesting question, namely, “what has...

Overnights Down Big For Pebble Beach Pro-Am, But Still Solid

One year after Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson lifted final round overnights to a 15-year high, overnight ratings cratered for the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Final round coverage of the PGA Tour Pebble Beach National [...]

Tiger Woods, Lindsey Vonn reportedly getting ‘closer and closer’

Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn reportedly are in a romantic relationship, and things are said to be heating up between them. Vonn tore two ligaments in her knee during a crash at the Alpine World Championships in Austria last week. Woods reportedly sent his private plane to pick her up and bring her back to the US where she had surgery. Now, a source tells People Magazine that the...

Who Are The Best Putters?

Yea, yea…it’s been like forever since I did one of these.  Sue me. Moving on! We covered drivers and irons in previous editions of these all the way back ************ JUNE?  Jesus tapdancing Christ, nevermind.  Pile on, yo.  Anyways, I actually have the wedge post written, but I’m all like “dude, that thing sucks, don’t let the people see it.”  So I’m just gonna...

NBA Grandfathers Acting Like Giant Hardos & More Weekend Screencapping Fun!

Was that a helluva sports weekend or what? Worthless NBA games, Pebble Beach without Tiger Woods, more worthless college basketball games and some NHL. The best news of the weekend was that Katy Perry unleashed her drones at the Grammys. Otherwise it was a waste of a weekend. I spent like 10 minutes Saturday night trying to watch some of the Pistons-Bucks game just so see how hard...

FOX Sports DayBreak: Morning Bark

The most exclusive clubs in sports, Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn take it to another level, and one politician may be making a huge mistake

Lindsey Vonn Shares Post-Op Picture on Facebook

Pic: No sign of Tiger Woods though
All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.