Our load is a bit lighter, as it always is on Wednesdays, but this week that just means it's "manageable" rather than "light". We've got even more NCAA hoops news, a new hire, baseball pr0n, and other goodies. Let's dive in, shall we?
You won't want to miss Ahearn's chat with USA Today's Nicole Auerbach in this week's installment of Bring on the Podcast.
Some might think my alleged fixation on the 1951 NCAA Championship game is misplaced. There's one guy for whom it most certainly is not, though, because he was, well, you know, there. Vahe Gregorian of The Star checks in with Mr. K-State himself, Ernie Barrett, who by damn wants revenge.
Speaking of history, fifty years ago the Wildcats pulled off a shocker -- knocking off fifth-ranked Wichita State in the Midwest Regional. Mark Janssen looks back in Sports Extra.
In a story which may have been exclusive to the Wichita Eagle, Kellis Robinett says Bruce Weber is reminding the team what happened the last time they stepped on a court with a big blue NCAA logo on the floor.
An uncredited piece from the AP, courtesy the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch, focuses on the K-State and Kentucky players from Texas as its fulcrum in a story about how the college basketball world is becoming more of a small world after all and haha now you have an earworm.
David Purdum of The Sporting News takes a look at some betting trends.
The Big 12's post-season contingent has been reduced by one, as Georgetown knocked off West Virginia 77-65 in the first round of the NIT.
Finally, your lower-division update. Central Missouri survived overtime with Northwest Missouri State in the Division II Central region final, and Drury knocked off Michigan Tech in the Midwest final. Both move on to the Elite Eight in Evansville, with the Mules drawing East region champs Southern Connecticut State and Drury paired up with ECAW's favorite team, Atlantic region champions West Liberty. Also in the final eight: Tuskegee, Metropolitan State of Denver, South Carolina-Aiken, and Cal State-Chico.
In the NAIA, your 2014 Division II men's champions are the Indiana Wesleyan Wildcats, 78-68 winners over Midland last night. Today, the Division I tournament kicks off at Municipal Auditorium, so if you've got nothing better to do you can go watch eight basketball games in one day.
Tomorrow, the WNIT and WBI begin. The only women's action in the lower divisions last night was the NAIA Division II final in Sioux City. Saint Francis (IN) topped College of the Ozarks 75-68 to claim the national championship.
Three takes on last night's destruction of the United States Air Force (Academy) by a horde of purple barbarians: our own post-game from JT VanGilder, the K-State official post-game, and Air Force's brief and brutal recap. The teams meet again tomorrow afternoon. The Cats have crossed the plate 62 times in the last four games, which -- when you consider the BatCats haven't batted in the ninth inning during that stretch -- is 1.94 runs per inning. That's 17.4 runs per nine innings. YIKES.
Although Carly Ragains slipped a spot on the leaderboard to finish 15 strokes behind individual champions Alexis Nelson of Wisconsin and Anna Laorr of Minnesota, that slip was still good for a tie for fifth (her best finish, and the best finish by any Wildcat, of the season). The team as a whole finished 89 over par, 22 strokes back of champs Minnesota, but they posted a pretty decent 314 in yesterday's final round to climb two more spots to finish in fifth place -- again, their best finish of the spring season. They're off until next weekend, when they'll head to Tucson for the Mountain View Collegiate Invitational.
The ladies will hit Santa Barbara on Saturday for a match with UCSB, where Petra Niedermayerova will be looking for her 100th career victory.
Big 12 campus correspondent Ricardo Ruiz delivers the most recent Big 12 Student-Athlete Spotlight, talking with K-State's star rider Rachel Webster.
We neglected to report this Monday: the Kansas high school basketball champs. In 6A, Blue Valley Northwest beat their rivals from BV North for the boy's title, while Wichita South defeated Maize for the girls' title. Lansing took the boy's 5A title over Highland Park, while the Leavenworth girls defeated Salina Central. 4A-D1 went to Bishop Miege (boys, over Wamego) and McPherson (girls, over Topeka-Hayden); D2 saw the Carbondale boys top Frontenac and Eudora's girls defeat Scott Community.
Hesston swept the 3A titles, the boys beating Beloit and the girls Lyons. Claflin-Central Plains win the boys 2A title over Winchester, and St. John-Hudson beat Plainville for the girls' championship. 1A-D1 went to the Melvern boys over Hoxie, but the Hoxie girls prevailed over Blue Rapids. Finally, in 1A-D2, Beloit-St. Johns/Tipton knocked off Sharon Springs-Wallace County in the boys' bracket, and Baileyville B&B claimed the girls' title over Rexford-Golden Plains.
Finally, Kirk Schulz -- a member of the seven-person NCAA Division I Steering Committee -- spoke to Dennis Dodd about his desire to have media transparency in the NCAA's governance discussions, especially as the organization struggles to reconcile the needs of the Big Five with the remaining schools in Division I. As in, he wants media right there in the room when they meet. An interesting idea, to say the least. and one which is going to endear our dear President to the media.