* That Joe Lunardi, from ESPN’s Bracketology fame, is having some fun now, huh? In his latest Bracketology, out today, Lunardi is throwing the party of all parties at Kansas City’s Sprint Center come the third week of March. He is forecasting these eight teams for the NCAA Tournament’s second and third rounds in KC: Kansas (1 seed), Kansas State (3), Saint Louis (6), Missouri (8), Wichita State (9), Creighton (11), South Dakota State (14) and Northeastern (16).
* Can you imagine the party? Best yet, Lunardi is messing around with Kansas, which almost certainly would get by Northeastern in its first game. Guess who would be up next for the Jayhawks? Yes, you guessed it – the winner of Wichita State-Missouri. Can you imagine?
* Fan bases from Lawrence, Manhattan, St. Louis, Columbia, Wichita and Omaha all converging on Kansas City? That city would never be the same. Is there enough alcohol in Missouri and Kansas put together to withstand such an invasion? Are there enough police on the KCMO force? These are the things I think about.
* Lunardi, you are crazy, brother. Just plain crazy. But I love the way you think.
* First things first for Wichita State and Creighton, neither of which is a stone-cold lock to be in the NCAA Tournament, in my opinion. Saturday’s game between the two in Omaha is one of the biggest the Shockers and Bluejays have played in a long time. First and foremost, it’s for the Missouri Valley Conference championship. Second, it establishes the No. 1 seed in the Valley Tournament next week at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. Third, it affects seeding for the NCAA Tournament and could, depending on what happens next week, make it difficult for one of these teams to get to the Big Dance. Really looking forward to this one.
* My gut tells me Creighton, which has struggled for much of the second half of the Valley season, has regained a slight edge in momentum over the Shockers, who are coming off a disheartening loss against Evansville at Koch Arena on Wednesday night. I’m not selling WSU short. That would be foolish, and I’m anything but a fool. Right? Right??? I just think the Bluejays will be focused and ready on their Senior Day. This is for a title, y’all. Those don’t come along that often.
* To win, Wichita State needs a big game from 6-foot-8 senior Carl Hall. And I mean a big game. Something like 18 points and 10 rebounds.
* Will this be Creighton’s final regular-season game as a member of the Missouri Valley Conference? I think there’s a good chance it will. If Creighton receives an invitation to join the new Catholic 7 Conference, soon to be known as the new Big East, it has to jump. I understand there are reservations, but they’re miniscule compared to the opportunities, which include a much bigger TV deal with Fox and a chance to show your wares in places like New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Chicago and Milwaukee. Come on, let’s be real. If Creighton gets an invitation to this conference, Creighton leaves. If the Bluejays don’t, there needs to be an investigation.
* If Creighton does bolt, what about Wichita State? Well, what about Wichita State? You tell me. I don’t see any better options than to stay in the Missouri Valley, where the Shockers have been members for going on 70 years, and making it work. Who replaces Creighton? That’s the million-dollar question. I think the Valley would have to give the first opportunity to one of its football-playing members like South Dakota State or North Dakota State. How does a trip to Brookings, S.D., or Fargo in the middle of winter sound? And you thought Cedar Falls, Iowa, home of the Northern Iowa Panthers, was frosty.
* I didn’t think Seth MacFarlane worked as host of the Academy Awards. I know ratings were up. But the Oscars are supposed to be classy. A song-and-dance number about boobs isn’t classy. I can muck it up with anybody, but one night of tradition and style isn’t going to kill anyone. MacFarlane is a talented guy, but not a mainstream talent. Nor should he be. He has a massive audience as it is.
* There is no clear-cut best movie of the year for 2012. The six biggest categories went to six different movies. It was a great year for movies, but none of the really good flicks stood out from the rest.
* Here is my obligatory “American Idol” reference. I know you were waiting. Ratings are down this season and I get it. The show has been on for a long time now and is in the process of running its course. That said, there is major talent on AI this season. Trust me on that.
* I also like watching because judges Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey so obviously hate one another. The shots of the panel are priceless. I don’t see how both of them make it through the season, in fact. Such is the level of their disdain for one another.
* The older I get, the more I need sunshine. These past couple of days have been awful. Just awful.
* I have never had a slice of pecan pie. People tell me it’s really good.
* My wife and I are going over to Branson again this spring, for the second year in a row. Trust me, all of you younger people who snicker at the notion will someday be going to Branson. I promise.
* The Valley tournament is one of my favorite events of the year. But I’m bummed that I’ll be missing most of the high school state tournaments, which run concurrently with the MVC get-together in St. Louis. I will be able to get to the Wednesday boys games in Class 6A, though. So that’s a good thing. Have to see Conner Frankamp one more time as a North High Redskin.
* “The Following” on Fox scares me to death. But I keep watching. Speaking of television, are you watching “Justified?” If not, why not? Are you crazy? You need to go back and start at Season 1 and watch this series all the way through. You will not be sorry. In fact, you’ll thank me and there’s a small chance you’ll send me money.
* Creighton 70, Wichita State 65. That’s not to say the Shockers won’t prove me wrong.
* Thanks for reading, everyone. It’s March, even if it doesn’t look or feel like it. March is a great month. Maybe the best month. I was born in March. Have a wonderful weekend.