Head shaking preps---
It may have been the most bizarre scene in my 32 years of covering sports: Hutchinson, after a 33-31 win over Maize, hanging their heads as they walked across the field to shake hands—while the Eagles celebrated wildly. Such is the determining nature of point differentials in the four team district system in Kansas, a system which, for the second straight year, has delivered a one win North team into the playoffs. I point this out with no disrespect to North-- but the Redskins now become a sacrificial lamb for Derby, which runs the risk of a key injury playing in a game that has no competitive intrigue.
The irony of the system is that it promotes poor sportsmanship, the very thing that the Kansas State High School Activities Association rightly promotes the most. When point differentials decide who advances coaches have no choice—they have to run up scores. There may be no perfect system, but there has to be something better than the one which produced that scene Friday night in Hutchinson.
Ok, so they may have looked more like ZZ Top meets Duck Dynasty, but I couldn’t be happier for the Red Sox to be celebrating their third World Series title in ten years. I know there are plenty of haters out there and I get it—large payroll, lots of success etc. But you have to admit that the worst to first story was pretty good, if for no other reason than just to spite Bobby Valentine. Couple that with the tragedy of the Boston Marathon and the way the Red Sox welcomed the civic responsibility of trying to help a community to heal and there’s not much to not like about this team—unless, of course, you were a fan of the Cardinals.
Please get me to the real thing---
Bludgeoning’s like the one Wichita State gave to Oklahoma Baptist last night is exactly why Gregg Marshall would rather have closed door scrimmages as he did last week with 25th ranked Baylor. To the Shockers credit they managed to play a fairly clean game despite never being pushed. I’m sure it was nice to play in front of the home crowd, especially for the new guys and maybe Gregg got something out of the combination of players he used throughout the game, but I’m sure he gets far more out of a really good practice than he does a one-sided matchup with an overwhelmed opponent.
By the way, with charging calls going the way of the two handed set shot, expect a ton of dribble penetration this year in college hoops. Officials have already started piling up the blocking fouls so why wouldn’t guys get to the hoop? At the very least you’ll probably be shooting free throws.