COVID greatly affects Invite, Classic

By Steve Sell
January 13, 2021

Wednesday’s ramblings…

INVITE PAIRINGS OUT – I posted the McPherson Invitational pairings earlier today and finally realized just how different the tournament is going to be this year.

The tournament, which begins next week, has two games each day, with the dates Monday, Thursday and Saturday, unlike the usual Thursday-Friday-Saturday format of four games each day. This year there’s also a JV division.

The Invitational, as well as the Mid America Classic the following week, are big deals for McPherson. Both tournaments usually draw big crowds and normally bring a lot of economic stimulus to the city because many teams stay in hotels, eat at our restaurants and shop in our stores.

But five teams backed out of the Invite due to COVID and concessions had to be made. MHS plucked a team from the Valley Center tournament to get to its field of four.

For the Bullpup boys, this is going to be a meatgrinder. Currently 5-3, they play three much-bigger schools, though all the teams in the field appear to be similar in terms of talent level.

The JV tournament is a nice addition this year as it will be played in the auxiliary gym.

Let’s pray that the snail’s pace of the vaccine rollout speeds up and we’ll have our tournaments back up and running to full capacity next year.

STILLWATER NOT KIND TO JAYHAWKS – KU coach Bill Self just seems to have trouble winning at his alma mater.

The Jayhawks again stumbled in Stillwater on Tuesday, going down 17 points before using a 21-2 rip to get back into the game, only to fizzle at the end in a 75-70 loss to Oklahoma State.

I didn’t see the game, but the stats paint a pretty clear picture. The Jayhawks were just 28 of 62 from the field, a miserable 5 of 21 from 3. They were perfect at the foul line, but took only 9 attempts, an indication there wasn’t much of an inside game.

From all accounts, David McCormack was a monster with 24 points and 12 rebounds. Ochai Agbagi tallied 14 and Marcus Garrett added 12 points, but Jalen Wilson and Christian Braun were basically no-shows. The bench gave very little and I continue to wonder why Mitch Lightfoot doesn’t get more minutes. He played only 8 and always brings good energy. Maybe Self might try playing Lightfoot with McCormack, but he’s committed to just one playing one big on the floor.

KU is now 4-2 in the Big 12 and the way Baylor and Texas are playing, it looks like the Jayhawks most likely won’t repeat as Big 12 champion and it would be only the second time Self has not won the title while at KU.

HARDEN, HOUSTON AT IMPASSE – The marriage of James Harden to the Houston Rockets appears to be heading for a divorce.

The superstar Rocket guard went off after Houston’s loss on Tuesday and while he didn’t demand to be traded, make no mistake he wants out.

Harden is an enigma. He is the NBA’s best scorer, but he also has a me-first mentality. The rest of his team often spends games watching him dribble the clock until finally putting up a shot.

Harden said he wants to play for a winner, but I’m not sure too many teams will pony up what the Rockets would want in return. And Harden would probably disrupt any team’s chemistry given how much he has to have the ball in his hands.

He’s too much of a talent, though, for somebody not to back up the truck and pay for his services. From all reports, though, teams aren’t exactly overwhelming the Rockets with a big-ticket offer.