Having covered about 30 basketball games over the last 3 weeks, I just now had some time to open mail and catch up on emails.
So, it’s time for a little Q-and-A session as I answer questions from Midkansasonline.com Kingdom.
Q – How do you see the upcoming KCAC men’s basketball tournament playing out?
A – We still have a couple of weeks left in the regular season and there appears to be about seven or eight teams that realistically could win it. Of the teams I have seen, and this is going to sound strange, but I think Friends could be the most dangerous. The Falcons’ individual talent is off the chart and they have a star in Papi Conley. Conventional wisdom says that it’s still Oklahoma Wesleyan’s championship to lose, but Ottawa has done a good job of keeping a piece of first place. I just hope McPherson College hasn’t hit a wall after winning 10 of 11. Saturday’s home game with Bethel is huge.
Q – And the women’s race?
A – I haven’t seen Kansas Wesleyan, but I’m told by many that it’s playing the best in the KCAC right now. Sterling has the best starting five in the league, but not a lot of depth. Keith Ferguson’s Bethany Swedes are playing really good basketball right now and can’t be counted out. If I was guessing, though, I’d take Kansas Wesleyan.
Q – Can the Kansas Jayhawks catch and pass Baylor in the Big 12 basketball race?
A – Of course it’s possible, but Baylor winning at Allen Field House felt like a two-game pickup because the Jayhawks almost never, ever lose in Lawrence. Also, KU still has to go to West Virginia, where it always has trouble. If I was really pressed on it, I’d say Baylor is going to win the title with KU second. But let’s be honest, the Big 12 title is small potatoes in the big scheme of things. The only thing people really remember about a season is how far you go in the NCAA Tournament. And this year’s field is wide open because I think college basketball is enduring its weakest season in decades. When you have teams like San Diego State and Baylor as possible No. 1 seeds, that’s all you need to know. Duke, Kentucky and Michigan State are decent, but not what they’ve been.
Q – Were you surprised Minnesota traded former KU star and overall No. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins to Golden State on Wednesday?
A -- When I think of Andrew Wiggins, two words come to mind – unfulfilled potential. Wiggins was a bit of a disappointment in his stopover year at KU as the Jayhawks made an early NCAA exit despite his presence and that of Joel Embiid. Somehow, Minnesota made a blunder of a move by giving him a max contract. His stats are decent, but when you watch him play, you ask yourself, “is this the best he can give you?” He struggles with his shot and it’s masked by his tremendous athleticism, which there is no denying. What happens in Golden State when Steph and Klay come back? I have a feeling Wiggins won’t be a Warrior that long.
Q – If the Chiefs don’t repeat as Super Bowl champs, who will it be?
A – I really think the Chiefs and Baltimore will go into next season as the two-best teams in the AFC, but of course the offseason moves could change all of that. Mahomes now is the best quarterback in football, he’s proven that in two years. In the NFC, don’t be surprised to see Dallas start to turn things around. A new coaching regime might be what Jerry Jones needed. San Francisco will be right there as well because of its young, fierce defense.