Tonight’s First Four matchup in NCAA men’s basketball tournament intriguing

DAYTON, Ohio — 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 tonight. 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.”