Kansas and Kansas State face a Big Conference Tournament bracket where they both could be one-and-done.
The tournament will open Wednesday at the Sprint Center with Oklahoma State vs. Texas Tech at 6 p.m. followed by Baylor vs. TCU.
KU will play the winner of the Oklahoma State-Tech game at 2 p.m. Thursday and Kansas State will go against Iowa State at 11 a.m. The Cowboys are playing well with Marcus Smart back in the lineup and the Jayhawks may be missing their 7-foot freshman, Joel Embiid, who’s out with a sore back. Kansas State plays poorly on the road and must go against the hot-shooting Cyclones.
Andrew Wiggins scored a career high 41points Saturday at West Virginia but it wasn’t enough to offset the likes of Juwan Staten, Eron Harris and Devin Williams. The Mountaineers, out of the NCAA tournament bidding, won 92-86.
The victory was worth quite a bit to Coach Bob Huggins, too. His contract calls for him to earn a $25,000 bonus for beating KU in the regular season. It was his first victory over the Jayhawks and the first over Coach Bill Self.
“I thought Staten controlled the game,” Self told reporters in Morgantown. “Harris was terrific and Williams was by far the best big in the game. They were terrific and then we didn’t guard at all. We’ve gone through stretches this year where we haven’t guarded well, but that’s probably as poor as we’ve been.”
West Virginia actually won this game in the first half, building a 50-38 lead as Williams, averaging just 8 points a game, scored 18, Staten 14 and Harris, who wound up as the high scorer for the game with 29, had 13. The Mountaineers, who turned the ball over only 3 times, shot 63 percent in gaining its half-time lead.
Kansas State held a 12-point lead in the first half, but as is its nature, a drift into the netherworld allowed Baylor to get back into the game and eventually win it Saturday in Manhattan, 76-74.
What is it with the Cats? They had won every conference game at home and you would think they would be really sharp and focused. They were early and then poof. My gosh, they would leave sharp-shooter Brady Heslip wide open for treys. Seniors Shane Southwell and Will Spradling aren’t supposed to do the things they did — like throw errant passes on a whimsy, like clang open shots, like make such poor snap decisions.
Baylor, the second worst free-throw shooting team in the conference, made 17 straight to close out the game. Kenny Chery, who scored 29 points, drilled 10 a row during that stretch.
The charity parade allowed Baylor to score 51 points in the second half. And you want to call the Cats a good defensive team! Huh.
Oh, you know the worst free-throw shooting team, right? Yeah, K-State. The Cats did manage to shoot 71 percent Saturday, however.
Freshman Marcus Foster scored 29 points for the Cats, firing at will in the frantic drive to try to overcome the Bears. Thomas Gipson added 16 and Nino Williams 14. Williams also had 10 rebounds against the taller Bears.
Thus, the 15-game home winning streak ended for the Cats.
“I don’t know what our chances are in March Madness,” Gipson told reporters, “but we want to win the Big 12 tournament so that we have a chance.”
You hear these sports bromides all the time: it’s a game of inches, the half-point in the spread can kill you, he missed the putt by one roll of the ball.
Well, how about this? One-hundredth of a second cost a Pittsburg State football player $100,000. No bromide, but fact.
Wide receiver John Brown averaged out to a 4.34 40-yard dash in the recent NFL combine.
Brandin Cooks, an Oregon State wide receiver, ran the 40 in 4.33 and led to adidas Football awarding him with the six figures. He wore the 4.6 ounce adizero 5-Star 40 cleat. He also received $10,000 for the fastest at his position.
Other position $10,000 winners:
• Quarterback: Stephen Morris, Miami, 4.63
• Running Back: Henry Josey, Missouri, 4.43
• Tight End: Colt Lyeria, Oregon, 4.61
• Defensive Lineman / Linebacker: Kevin Pierre-Louis, Boston College, 4.51
• Defensive Back: Phillip Gaines, Rice, 4.38
Brown won nothing but he is down in Florida at a football camp with the hopes of getting a bunch of cash for a high draft.
This is really unfair to beer drinkers, unless you’re a Canadian. Hey, that qualifies Ted Cruz. Oh never mind.
This tidbit was in Sports Illustrated’s Sign of the Apocalypse: Team Canada had a Molson beer refrigerator at its Olympic house that could only be opened by scanning a Canadian passport.
SI also handed out accolades to Big 12 basketball players:
• Player of the year: Melvin Ejim, Iowa State — It’s a close call between Ejim and his teammate, DeAndre Kane, but Ejim was the more dominant performer. Besides leading the league in points he ranks fourth in rebounds, second in field goal percentage and sixth in free throw percentage.
• Coach of the Year: Bill Self, Kansas — How about coach of the decade? Self’s 10 straight league titles, three of which came after he replaced his entire starting lineup, is one of the more remarkable achievements in all of sports.
• Freshman of the Year: Andrew Wiggins, Kansas — No, he can’t walk on water, but he did get increasingly confident and aggressive as the season went on.
More from SI. Must have been the swimsuit issue. Nah.
SI says the KC Chiefs should draft Odell Beckham Jr., a wide receiver from LSU, in the 23rd spot. Coach Andy Reid has always preferred West Coast concepts as the driving force behind his offenses, but he also wants a deep vertical threat to take the top off of coverage. And from start to finish, there’s no better and more versatile speed receiver in this class than Beckham. He tore up the combine, running a 4.43 40 and nailing it in all the drills. Add in his value as a return man, and Beckham could redefine Reid’s offense sooner than later.
The doctor who made Tommy John Surgery a recognizable procedure died last week.
Local headlines were full that KC Royal pitcher Luke Hochevar might have to undergo the surgery after suffering an elbow injury.
Dr. Frank Jobe, a pioneering orthopedic surgeon who was the first to perform the elbow procedure that saved the careers of countless major league pitchers, died at age 88.
Jobe performed groundbreaking elbow surgery on John, a Dodgers pitcher who had a ruptured ligament in his left elbow. The injury previously had no solution until Jobe removed a tendon from John’s forearm and repaired his elbow. John went on to pitch 14 years after the operation on Sept. 25, 1974, compiling 164 more victories without ever missing a start because of an elbow problem.
Hochevar will undergo the surgery and miss the 2014 season.