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February 8, 2013

Friday musings

* Do Wichita State and Kansas bounce back Saturday and defeat Missouri State and Oklahoma? Great question. How can anyone who has been paying attention think it’s automatic. Kansas plays at OU and it won’t be easy. The Sooners are not a bad club and are getting better under Lon Kruger. Missouri State, meanwhile, is only 7-17, but is 5-7 in the Missouri Valley Conference. The Bears can’t score, averaging just 60 points per game. You would think this would be a relatively easy one for the Shockers. You would think . . .

* Kansas State could atop the Big 12 standings by Saturday evening, provided the Cats can beat Iowa State at Bramlage Coliseum and OU is able to top Kansas. I’m hoping both K-State and KU win Saturday to set up a Big Monday showdown at Allen Fieldhouse, a game that would be for sole possession of first place.

* Is K-State’s Bruce Weber a national coach of the year candidate? I think he’s in the discussion, at least. The frontrunner should be Miami (Fla.) coach Jim Larranaga, with Michigan’s John Beilein, Indiana’s Tom Crean, Florida’s Billy Donovan, Gonzaga’s Mark Few and Arizona’s Sean Miller also in the discussion.

* It breaks my heart that right-hander Chris Carpenter won’t be able to pitch for the St. Louis Cardinals this season. He’s my second-favorite Cardinals pitcher ever, behind Bob Gibson. Carpenter and Gibson shared an intensity that I admire. They were battlers and could be mean and nasty.

* I tried to be mean and nasty back when I pitched years ago. But my 82 mph fastball didn’t intimidate anyone. I did have a mean hook, though.

* Of all of my athletic endeavors – and let’s not make it out like I was some tremendous all-around stud because I wasn’t – pitching was the most fun. I loved the one-on-one nature of being on the mound. I still occasionally have dreams about being a pitcher and that feeling of trying to get hitters out by any means necessary.

* I was a decent shooter in basketball, although I never acknowledged defense.

* I could play some ping-pong, too, back in the day. But chicks, I discovered, don’t really dig ping-pong.

* If Alex Rodriguez never plays another inning of baseball, I think I’ll be OK. It’ll be tough, but I’ll do my best to persevere.

* The Grammy Awards might be my favorite awards show. Of course, it has nothing to do with the awards; I watch for the performances. It looks like there are a bunch of intriguing pairings for Sunday night’s show, including what should be a wonderful tribute to the late Levon Helm of The Band that will include Elton John, Mumford & Sons, Zac Brown, Alabama Shakes singer Brittany Howard and Mavis Staples, with T Bone Burnett on board as musical director.

* There will also be a Bob Marley tribute starring Bruno Mars, Rihanna, Sting and an as-yet-unconfirmed combination of Marley descendants that may include Ziggy, Steven and Damian. Should be interesting.

* I’m always torn at this time of the year, between my anticipation for baseball season and the excitement of the final weeks of the college basketball season leading up to the NCAA Tournament. I guess there’s room for both to excite me.

* This is a huge season for Wichita State’s baseball team, which hasn’t been to an NCAA Tournament in three years. But it’s a gargantuan season for the Shockers’ veteran coach, Gene Stephenson, who might need to get to the postseason to survive. This will be one of the biggest stories of the spring in Wichita.

* One of my favorite new bands is Alabama Shakes. Their lead singer, Brittany Howard, reminds me a little of Janis Joplin. That’s pretty high praise, I’m aware.

* We’re down to 43 male contestants in “American Idol,” and I’m picking three to go far. They are: Curtis Finch, Nick Boddington, Devin Velez.

* I think Scott Pelley is a terrific anchor for “CBS News,” and an even better correspondent for “60 Minutes.”

* I can’t wait to see Melissa McCarthy in “Identify Thief,” even though the movie is getting only lukewarm reviews.

* Are you watching “The Following” on Fox? Or is it too intense for you? My wife stuck with it for a couple of episodes before she had to give up. She now watches HGTV on the upstairs television while I watch Kevin Bacon chase killers, who so far have been able to separate themselves from getting caught by more than six degrees.

* That was a stretch, but I think it might have worked. Maybe.

* Valentine’s Day is so ridiculous. I treat my wife like it’s Valentine’s Day 365 days a year. I wonder if she agrees.

* I’ve tried to get an interview with Super Bowl official and Derby’s own Steve Stelljes, who was the head linesman for last Sunday’s game. But the NFL won’t allow Stelljes to talk to the media.

* When it comes to social media, I spend 75 percent of my time on Facebook and 25 percent on Twitter. Which makes me a Facebook guy, I suppose.

* It’ll be fun over the next few years watching the construction of the 13th Street bridge, which is going on close to where I live. That’s a game-changing project for Wichita’s west side. I know you east-siders don’t really care. But we’re pretty excited about it over here in the sticks.

* My phone just buzzed with the news that the Cardinals and third baseman David Freese have avoided arbitration with a one-year deal. My phone buzzes several times a day with news, some of which I care about. My phone pretty much owns me.

* Have you had just about enough of this Kobe Bryant-Dwight Howard nonsense?

* Thanks for checking in. I hope your weekend is good. I’ll be back with more on the blog Monday, before I head up to Lawrence for the Kansas-Kansas State game.

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