The Answer Man is back.
Because I am inundated with so many questions, sometimes I have to farm them out to the Answer Man because we are basically on the same wave length.
So these are the most-asked questions right now and A.M. will answer them to the best of his somewhat limited ability.
• Q. — What are your impressions of the McPherson High girls basketball team?
• A.M. — The Bullpups seem to be over their shooting woes, lighting it up against both Buhler and Winfield. They are incredibly athletic on defense, maybe even better than last year except that they don’t have a true rim protector. This is perhaps an even deeper group than last year as there may not be a team in the state that has a better 1 through 12 than the Bullpups — and that includes Derby, which has little bench as it relies mainly on four players. Thursday won’t be an easy game at Dodge City, but I think they should head into the Mid America Classic with just one loss. I really enjoy that on any given night, one of the 12 players could step up and have the biggest game
• Q. — What about the boys?
• A.M. — The Bullpups are 2-3 and Thursday’s game at Dodge City is a toss-up because of the way the Red Demons can put up points, though they’re generous on the defensive end. It’s a team still trying to find an identity, due in part to Jake Alexander’s ankle injury. When healthy, he’s a 20-point scorer, but right now he’s basically playing on one leg and desperately needs the holiday break to get healthy. Cody Stufflebean is a force on the inside, he just needs more touches and to avoid foul trouble. Max Alexander has had his moments, the highlight being the game-winner against Buhler and being a sophomore he'll only get better. Seniors Kyler Hoppes and Jace Kinnamon just need to be solid, while Seth Madron is wowing us with his athleticism for a freshman. The Bullpups aren’t going to beat teams by 20 or 30 as in the past, but should still win their fair share of games as long as they get on the floor for loose balls and play tough defense.
Q. — If you were put on the spot right now, who is playing for the Super Bowl?
A.M. — I know people are probably going to laugh, but I like the Bears in the NFC and Patriots in the AFC. Chicago is much like Philadelphia was last year as its defense is bringing it every game and it runs the ball well enough to make up for the erratic play of Mitchell Trubisky. The Rams suddenly look vulnerable and Jared Goff appears to have lost some confidence. New Orleans could make it, but it needs for Drew Brees to step it up. Minnesota is a long shot, it needs for Kirk Cousins to play better. In the AFC, I still really like the Chiefs, but their secondary simply won’t let them make it. The Texans are a sleeper and my pick of Pittsburgh at the start of the year doesn’t look good, but I picked them before Le’Veon Bell took a walk. Yet, don’t count them out. When in doubt, though, pick the tried-and-true Patriots.
• Q — What are Kansas State’s chances to win the Big 12 with Dean Wade out for 6 to 8 weeks?
• A.M. — This is a huge blow to a team that already hasn’t played up to expectations as it has yet to register what could be considered a quality win. Take out the 6-9 Wade and you don’t have a lot of size. Remember, Kansas State was having just an OK season last year when it got hot in the NCAA Tournament, aided by a favorable draw that saw it play a No. 16 seed in the second round after Virginia lost and then played a overrated Kentucky team. The Wildcats have to get something big done this year because coach Bruce Weber loses a big senior class after this season.
• Q. — Kansas is still undefeated and ranked No. 1. Thoughts?
• AM. — It’s never pretty, but the bottom line is the Jayhawks are 9-0. Dedric Lawson has been a double-double machine, Lagerald Vick has been big-time in big games and the rest of the Jayhawks have been wildly inconsistent. With two freshmen starting (at least for now), this team is going to experience a lot of highs as well as a lot of lows. It will help that it appears the Big 12 is down, especially now with Dean Wade out for Kansas State. The Jayhawks should make it 15 Big 12 titles in a row, but it’s definitely a year of transition in the conference.