KU can close in on title Friday

By Steve Sell
February 17, 2017

Friday’s favorites...

• RACE COULD ALMOST BE OVER — Monday night should have taught us never to count out the Kansas Jayhawks.

KU’s roaring back from a 14-point deficit with less than 3 minutes left against West Virginia is proof of the heart this team has.

The Jayhawks aren’t like the KU teams of the past where they put teams away easily and the Tyler Selfs and Clay Youngs of the world would spend time mopping up at the end as comic relief. The way the games have gone in Big 12 play, Self and Young have virtually been MIA. And how many home games lately has the “Rock Chalk” chant cannonaded through Allen Field House when the clock hits 1:00?

For all its faults — lack of depth, lack of inside scoring, no rim protector — KU can almost wrap up its 13th straight Big 12 title Saturday with a win at Baylor.

I don’t see anyway KU can win. It’s weary and achey. The Bears know they can play their way right back into contention with a win. The hostile environment should rival a Trump press conference.

Baylor has the kind of team that can flummox KU with its length and inside presence. KU almost has to be spot-on from 3-point to win this game.

But it won’t surprise me if the Jayhawks win. They have defied the odds all season. Should they win, they would have a three-game lead with four left to play.

• LOSS FOR KSU DAMAGING,  NOT FATAL — Kansas State’s clunker against Iowa State on Wednesday was a shocking disappointment.

Iowa State dominated the game in the first half, then K-State finally showed up and made a game of it in the second half.

The loss, though, isn’t fatal for its NCAA Tournament hopes. While just 5-8 in the Big 12, the ‘Cats have five games left, three of them with bubble teams like themselves.

KSU goes to Texas, has Oklahoma State at home, goes to Oklahoma and TCU before coming home against Texas Tech.

I see no worse than four wins. That would give KSU a 9-9 Big 12 record and 20-11 mark overall. Add a victory, even two, in the Big 12 Tournament and that should get the ‘Cats in.

That is a lot of ifs. Kansas State fans are probably tired of playing the “what if” game, but at least it’s a lock for the NIT. Remember back when Wichita State missed the big tournament, then won the NIT? That set it off on quite a tear, including a Final Four trip.

• REMINDER — McPherson fans, wear pink tonight to the McPherson High basketball games with arch-rival Buhler.

I’ll have to scour my closet to find something pink, a color I don’t normally wear. Don’t hold it against me if I can’t find anything. But it would be cool to see the MHS side a blanket of pink.