No better game for fans than OU-ISU

By Steve Sell
January 19, 2016

ESPN has put most of its Big Monday eggs in the Kansas Jayhawks’ basket.

The Jayhawks through the years have dominated the weekly national telecast, with nearly half of the slots alotted. This year they’re on the docket for four of the eight weeks.

The reason being, of course, the Jayhawks have been the dominant team having won or shared the last 11 conference championships.

After all, does anybody really want to see Texas Tech against TCU? Or Kansas State against Oklahoma State? Fans of those schools, yes, but the national television audience? Not likely. It’s all about the mighty dollar for the folks in Bristol and games like those probably aren’t that profitable.

As much as I enjoy watching KU on Big Monday, however, you can give me Oklahoma against Iowa State every night of the week and twice on Sundays.

They say styles make a game and when you have two teams so similar like the Cyclones and Sooners, it makes for great theatre. Oddly, the teams already have completed their season series, but I wish they could play three or four more times.

Oklahoma had just ascended to the No. 1 spot in the national poll on Monday and hours later its reign was toppled. In another wild shootout, the Sooners couldn’t overcome Iowa State’s “Hilton Magic,” which will be on display again next Monday when the Cyclones host KU. My guess is the Cyclones will win and their fans will storm the court, just as every team in the Big 12 does when it beats Kansas.

The outcome Monday was hardly surprising, in fact, the odds-makers installed Iowa State the favorite. For all their greatness, the Cyclones are painfully shy on depth, as it was noted their starting five plays the second-most minutes of any team in the country. You have to wonder how long they can continue to ride their starting five as the grind of a five-month season can take its toll.

You don’t find Kansas State, Texas Tech and TCU on the Big Monday schedule. West Virginia, Oklahoma State and Baylor are there just once. ESPN has gone with KU four times, and Iowa State, Oklahoma and Texas three times. West Virginia has used that as motivation as it can play the “No Big Monday” card to get amped up.

That should serve as motivation for the other Big 12 teams as well. They know not being on Big Monday puts them at a slight recruiting disadvantage, though every game these days is televised. But being in the national game carries so much more weight.

At least one of the Kansas-Kansas State games should be on Big Monday every year. Of course last year’s game in Manhattan perhaps didn’t do the Wildcats any favors in the eyes of ESPN when the scene got ugly after a KSU upset. KU player Jamari Traylor was roughed up and it created some bad feelings when it became a somewhat dangerous situation as the fans were totally out of control.

Court storming to me is ridiculous. I can’t recall the last time KU fans stormed the hallowed Phog floor. When KU lost to West Virginia recently, the Mountaineer fans rushed the floor, even though it’s the third year in a row WVA had accomplished the feat. You’d think by now their fans would expect to beat KU at home since they have made it commonplace. I guess it’s going to take somebody getting seriously hurt before the NCAA cracks down.

That’s another story for another day. For now, ESPN looks like prophets by having KU, Iowa State and OU on so many times.