Is there a better sports week of the year?
This clearly is my favorite. Especially with the amazing weather we are enjoying and the fact it’s now Daylight Savings Time — which leads to plenty of time on the links.
Of course, State Basketball Week is an entity all its own. And we’re fortunate in McPherson that both our teams most of the time are competing, though this year it’s the just the boys though the girls clearly deserved to be there.
And we’re also fortunate that we always have some area teams to follow. Hesston is trying to make history by having both teams repeat in the same year in Class 3A. The Moundridge girls are competing in the 2A Tournament and armed with the fact they played the No. 1 seed, Central Plains, earlier this season, a game they led by as many as 17 points in the fourth quarter before the Oilers made an historic comeback.
I always like to take in all of the first day at state, but with so much work to do I won’t see the first game and just part of the second. The game to watch today, however, is Andale and Miege, which play right after the MHS boys take on Chanute.
Andale was third in the state last year in 4A Division II and has its top six players back. I was impressed with it when the Bullpups squeaked out a two-point victory in Andale earlier this year, their closest game of the season. The Indians have physical athletes who can match MHS’ quickness.
But they might not have enough to overcome Miege, which is a private school and draws players from all over as it has a wide base (can you say recruit?) Meanwhile, the Miege girls are going to run roughshod over their side of the tournament. I don’t think an unbeaten Paola team will be able to keep up if they meet in the finals. It’s the Stags’ tournament to lose and they won’t.
It’s also Big 12 Tournament time. What an event this year as the Big 12 had the No. 1 RPI in the country. I still don’t think the conference has the star power of those teams in the ACC, but what separates it is the balance. I think seven teams are going to get in the NCAA Tournament, but I’ll be surprised if any of them get past the Sweet 16.
As for the Big 12 tourney itself, mark this down: Kansas will not win. Don’t be surprised if a West Virginia or Baylor emerges.
And we’re in the week where free agents can sign with new teams in the NFL. Let’s face it, the NFL is hands-down the top professional sport going. Baseball (which I happen to like) is too slow for many people and the NBA screams of boredom. Only transplants from Buffalo, Chicago and Detroit like the NHL in these parts. NASCAR probably is as popular as baseball and the NBA and dwarfs the NHL. Golf will fade now that Tiger is no longer viable (at least right now) and tennis has its particular niche audience.
There’s been a lot of wheeling and dealing so far the last two days in the NFL and there will be many new faces in new places when we kick of in September.