No complaints about lack of news today. Basketball, golf and volleyball all chip in with storylines. Oh, there’s a football game in red dirt country on Saturday, too.
Monday’s big news was Kansas State landing at number 12 of the Associated Press pre-season basketball poll. This marks only the 17th time in history that the Wildcats begin the year ranked, and the ranking is K-State’s highest since 2010-2011, when they began the year No. 3 in the land. The AP poll is in line with other prognostications from NBCSports, Yahoo Sports, Sports Illustrated and others, all of which rank the ‘Cats between No. 11 and No. 14.
In other news, KU received the top ranking, setting their fans up for the usual dose of tournament disappointment to end the year. West Virginia (No. 13) and TCU (No. 20) were also ranked, with Texas Tech and Texas each receiving a few votes.
On the women’s side of the ledger, senior Kayla Goth, who converted to point guard out of necessity only last year, is one of 20 players at the position nationally to be nominated for the Nancy Lieberman award, which annually honors the best point guard in the land. The list will be narrowed to 10 in mid-February, then to 5 in March, before the award is announced at the end of the season.
Last week the football team learned that winning games can lead to individual performers winning awards. This week, the volleyball squad followed suit. Setter Sarah Dixon was named Big 12 Co-Offensive Player of the Week, and outside hitter Brooke Heyne earned Big 12 Newcomer of the Week honors. Dixon averaged 14.29 assists per set, while Heyne had 15 kills on .467 hitting efficiency against Baylor.
K-State Sports Extra featured senior Emma Wren, who reflected on her growth at K-State as her cross-country career winds down.
With two rounds complete at the UT-Arlington invitations, sophomore Darby Deans is in 17th place, at 12-over par, while freshman Heather Fortushniak is 26th, at +15.
The football writers are off their bye-week coffee breaks to churn out OU game previews. Kellis Robinett highlights past history, defense and the teams’ respective running games in his Five Things to Know column. It seems that Arne Green writes for everyone these days, but we’ll give the nod to the Hays Daily News version of his story about the post-Mike Stoops era OU defense, now led by Ruffin McNeill. The athletic department also posted its usual game week preview with stats and series trivia.
Fresh off his first professional appearance in his hometown of Kansas City, Cincinnati Bengals’ defensive end Jordan Willis visited with the press about the disappointing loss to the Chiefs Sunday night, his development in the NFL, and waiting his turn to be used as a pass-rusher.
Happy Tuesday, everyone!