K-State talks confidently in St. Louis

Kansas State has practiced and fulfilled its media obligations for the day and the Wildcats are currently shooting in front fans at the Scottrade Center.

Will Spradling, by the way, looks right at home. He is making everything.

Anyway, here are a few tidbits that Bruce Weber and players shared with media today:

– Bruce Weber was asked about the long, up-and-down season that has featured wins over Kansas, Iowa State, Gonzaga and Texas as well as losses to Northern Colorado and Charlotte.

His answer: “We came a long way. I’m just glad we were able to come together as a good team.”

– D.J. Johnson, a St. Louis native, is thrilled to back and playing in his home town.

You may remember K-State signed Johnson out of nowhere shortly after Weber was hired as coach. Weber told the story about that on Friday. He said that Johnson was planning on going to Virginia Tech and even took a visit there to finalize things. But he decided it was too far away.

Word reached Weber and associate head coach Chris Lowery. They traveled to St. Louis the following today to pitch him on K-State. Johnson visited Manhattan a day later. And the rest was history.

– Spradling feels healthy entering the NCAA Tournament for the first time since his freshman season. As a sophomore, he battled a hip injury that he didn’t talk much about. Last year, he was battling injured cartilage in his chest.

“Things were real bad last year,” Spradling. “But I feel great right now.”

– K-State players don’t seem worried about Kentucky’s roster of future NBA players. In fact, some were talking about how much they look forward to proving doubters wrong and not only beating Kentucky but advancing to the Sweet 16.

“I am very excited and pumped up for this game,” freshman guard Marcus Foster said.

– Kentucky has a size advantage over K-State (and not just inside, all of its starting guards are 6-foot-6) but K-State doesn’t seem worried about that length.

“You have to exploit the mismatches we can. They are all 6-foot-6, which means they are probably slower than I am,” Foster said. “I am just going to try and use my speed and skills to beat them on offense all night.”