It was an inauspicious start for Shocker Baseball, striking out ten times in a 6-4 loss to Pittsburgh. The Panthers, which finished two games under .500 last year, are picked to finish seventh in the Big East.
The last time these two schools met, it cost Kansas State a spot in the National Championship game. I’m not sure football equates to hoops but, hey, whatever it takes. KSU has lost only once at home this season and four of its five losses have come to teams in the nation’s top 13. I’m not sure why I keep waiting for the shoe to drop in Manhattan. Maybe because they haven’t proven that they can play with KU and were blown out against two other high level teams in Michigan and Gonzaga. On the other hand, they took care of a Florida team that many are touting for a Final Four and they still own a share of the Big 12 lead halfway through February.
McGruder breathing rarified air---
The Wildcat senior is eighth on the program’s all-time scoring list and with 6 more points and rebounds will become the first ‘Cat in history with at least 1,400 points 600 rebounds and 100 steals. McGruder should pass Cartier Martin for 7th on the all-time scoring list, but isn’t likely to reach Steve Henson’s nearly 1,700 points. By the way, Henson is in the Big 12—on staff with Lon Kruger at Oklahoma. Also on that staff is former Wichita State star Lew Hill.
What about Baylor?
The Bears are 3-4 on the road and have only been blown once—at Kansas. They took Oklahoma State to overtime ten days ago, in a game they appeared to have won. They won at Kentucky earlier in the season and start today just a game back of the Wildcats, KU and Oklahoma State in fourth place of the Big 12. Baylor is looking for its first conference title since winning the Southwest Conference back in 1950. I think KSU-Baylor will be the most competitive game in the Big 12 this weekend, just edging out the Bedlam Series in Oklahoma.
Texas travels to KU---
How dominant have the Jayhawks been in the history of the Big 12 (from 1996)? Consider that today’s matchup in Lawrence features the two biggest winners in the conference’s history. But, even with that, Kansas has still won 46 more conference games than the ‘Horns over the last 16 plus seasons. In other words, KU has averaged more than three wins a year over its nearest rival in Big 12 play.
College Game Day is in town---
Jay Bilas is one of the nation’s best basketball guys on the air, while Digger Phelps likes to match his tie and felt pen. How long do you suppose it took him to come up with that shtick? What’s your over-under on how many times he mentions Notre Dame tomorrow? I think he and Lou Holtz have a friendly wager.
Withey is worthy---
After becoming KU’s all-time leading shot blocker in the win over K-State on Monday, Jeff Withey needs just one more to become the Big 12’s career leader passing Chris Mihm of Texas. This game looked a lot better when ESPN was making its coverage plans— it’s not so good now when they ‘Horns are coming off only their conference win of the season on Wednesday, but are still 0-7 this year on the road.