North bound and down, Shocks, KU and Toure plays

By Bruce Haertl, bhaertl@kwch.com
Published On: Nov 11 2013 08:14:31 AM CST
Bruce Haertl: For What It's Worth...
WICHITA, Kan. -

The early betting line on the Chiefs at Bronco’s next weekend: Denver minus 8 ½. Sure, it’s subject to change (depending on which team people are gambling on), but that’s a pretty significant spread and would make the unbeaten Chiefs the second biggest underdog in the NFL next weekend—that seems odd to me, I’d take the Chiefs with those points.

Try south next time—

K-State opens the football season with a loss to North Dakota State and then drops their hoops opener to Northern Colorado. This gives new meaning to the term ‘directionally challenged’.

I told you about football—I liked their chances at Texas Tech and think that they’ll close the season on a 6 game streak to finish 8-4. With the possible exception of Oklahoma State, there is no team in the Big 12 that has improved like K-State. Of course, Baylor hasn’t really needed to improve, although they took a nice jump defensively against OU. The Bears won that game in atypical fashion, going mainly to a ground game that featured the third string running back and timely bursts from quarterback Bryce Petty. Petty only hit 13 of 26 passes, yet Baylor was still able to win convincingly---proving, again, that really good teams can win in a variety of ways.

As for hoops---Northern Colorado is a veteran team, but they should have never been in the game with the ‘Cats. K-State is going to have some growing pains with three very talented freshmen playing their share of minutes, the key, right now, is getting the veterans to help them along faster. KSU didn’t look good in the half court against the Bears and they couldn’t keep them from getting big rebounds down the stretch, a fact that has to be troublesome from Weber whose squad is undersized by Big 12 standards.

It starts tonight---

With all due respect to Emporia State, which started their season with a win against UMKC, for all intents and purposes Wichita State opens tonight against Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers visit to the Roundhouse is timely, as Wichita State will unveil its Final Four banner. Western Kentucky also has a Final Four to its credit, in 1971 behind Jim McDaniels. The ‘Toppers beat KU in the third place game played down in the Astrodome that year.

Speaking of KU---

It’ll be great to see Kansas facing Duke this week; it’s great to see these kinds of matchups in college hoops where coaches actually gravitate to the marquee matchups in the early season. That’s because of the safety net of a 68-team national tournament, in football you simply can’t afford to lose if you’re to win a national title. College basketball hasn’t had an unbeaten champion since Indiana in 1976.

NFL---

How about the Rams beating the Colts and the Jaguars beating…anyone? Indianapolis was brutal at home against a Rams team that really hasn’t shown much horn this season and the Titans losing at home to Jacksonville? There just isn’t that much difference between the best and the worst in the NFL.

Quite a birthday---

On Friday former Shocker Toure Murry made his NBA debut, playing one minute on his birthday for the Knicks against Charlotte-- yesterday he scored his first points as a pro, dropping five in four minutes against the Spurs. Pretty cool stuff.