It's another rather large day of tournament coverage, to which you are probably mumbling, "Well, DUH." Just to drive the point home: I had to wade through 38 pages of Google News results, and that's why the Slate is a little late today. We've also got a few other things besides basketball for you to ponder, including news of a death you may not have heard about.
Many of you have seen this already, as it was posted in comments yesterday, but The Star's Kellis Robinett reports on the long-term ties between Wesley Iwundu and Kentucky's Harrison twins.
Bob Lutz gnaws on his own toes, having been properly eviscerated by readers for ignoring K-State Sunday night. If you enjoy seeing Lutz eating small black carrion birds, have at it.
Via The Capital-Journal, the AP's Dave Skretta opines on the basketball hotbed that is the midwest; 12 of the 68 teams in the field are from Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, and the Dakotas. Also from the C-J, Kevin Haskin previews the three Kansas schools and also writes about how the Big 12, this year's Final Four host, would really like a Big 12 team to be there. And we've also got Ken Corbitt looking into the surreal absurdity of K-State being the "veteran team" on Friday.
With tongue in cheek, the Kansas City Business Journal notes that employees can work most of the day Friday, since none of the Kansas teams plays before 3pm.
Big 12 news and notes on the conference's NCAA teams from Wendell Barnhouse, and he's also got a quote dump.
Two articles from The Lexington Courier-Journal's Kyle Tucker: First, neither set of Wildcats is intimidated by the other, and adds to Robinett's article by noting that Marcus Foster played against Iwundu and the Harrisons as a prep, and that Kentucky's Willie Cauley-Stein was an AAU teammate of D.J. Johnson and Nino Williams. Friday's going to be a family feud, y'all. Tucker's second piece is a quote dump from John Calipari in which Cal breaks down K-State (and vents about Kentucky being underseeded, but that's not the important part to us).
Barry Horn of the Dallas Morning News on the problems Texas has keeping Texas talent in Texas -- not just AT Texas but anywhere IN Texas. Considering half the starting lineup in Friday's game against Kentucky is Texas boys... well, yes, I think that's a valid concern for the Lone Star State.
Lastly, some random bracket analysis. Bill Bender of the Sporting News observes that it's the low-seeded mid-majors that shine while the high seeds stumble, and The Oklahoman's Berry Tramel picks Florida to win it all. He also picked Kentucky -- but he's pulling for K-State.
The post-season is already underway, as Holy Cross knocked off Brown last night in the opening game of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT).
In lower-division post-season action, seven of the eight NCAA Division II regional finals take place tonight, including a central region clash in Mankato, Minn., between Central Missouri and Northwest Missouri State, and down in Springfield we've got Drury, on their home court, taking on Michigan Tech in the midwest final. The winners move on to the Elite Eight this coming weekend in Evansville, Ind. Also, the NAIA Division II final is set for tonight in Point Lookout, Missouri. Tenth-seeded Midland (NE) will take on fifth-seed Indiana Wesleyan for the title.
The post-season fields have been announced for Division I women's hoops. West Virginia and Baylor, both two-seeds, lead the way for the Big 12 in the NCAA Tournament. They're joined by Texas, Oklahoma State, Iowa State, and Oklahoma. TCU is the seventh Big 12 team to continue playing, heading to Boulder for the first round of the WNIT as the league's automatic bid into that event. The Women's Basketball Invitational, sadly, will have to get by without any Big 12 participation this year.
Everything else here except the NAIA blurb is referenced in this one informative dump from The Star:
In D-II, Drury, the central region's top seed, has moved on to the D-II Elite Eight in Erie, Pa. this upcoming weekend. Not moving on: Emporia State, number one in the midwest, was upended last night by seventh-seeded Concordia-Saint Paul, so the MIAA women are officially done for the year. As for the NAIA, tonight in Sioux City, Iowa, is the NAIA Division II final; Saint Francis (IN) will be a heavy favorite over College of the Ozarks, but the girls from Branson have always punched above their weight.
And dipping down so far even I don't really follow it, I had no idea until this morning that the NJCAA Division II women's tournament was being played at Johnson County Community College this week. So, if you're bored... tickets appear to be only ten bucks for the entire day's session, unless I'm misreading it.
Mitch Meyer is your Big 12 Player of the Week, after lashing out at a .538 clip with nine RBI over the week. The Cats begin a two-game set with Air Force at Tointon tonight, and it's on TV! That means Open Game Thread (even though I suspect many of us will be flipping back and forth between that and basketball).
K-State's women are currently in seventh place out of a 16-team field in the BYU Entrada Classic at Saint George, Utah. The team is 63 shots behind Wisconsin, the team leaders after two rounds. Carly Ragains is currently in fourth individually, nine strokes back of field leader Alexis Nelson of Wisconsin. The event concludes today.
Sad news, which may have been more widely reported but I only caught it via a release from New Mexico State, his alma mater: Sam Lacey has died in Kansas City at age 65. Lacey, who led New Mexico State to their only Final Four appearance, was the bedrock mainstay alongside Tiny Archibald of the Kansas City Kings during their first decade in town. I don't think it's possible to overstate the extent to which he was the true face of the franchise, and while the team's downfall was caused by shoddy management, Lacey's departure from the Kings was one of the pebbles which turned into a boulder as it rolled downhill. I was a kid then, and I actually got to meet Lacey. He was just the sweetest guy, always seemed to have time for the fans, especially the kids. So seeing this headline pop up in my news search this morning? Gutting.