As I suspect you've heard, this has been quite a college basketball season so far in Kansas.
The Jayhawks are ranked No. 3. Kansas State is 10th and ready to take a nice leap and Wichita State is 17-3 and starting to get noticed.
It must mean there are a lot of good players in the state, and your job today is to pick the 10 best. Or, at least the 10 players from the Big Three that you would put on your team.
Pay attention to positions; it wouldn't be prudent to have an all-guard team. We're trying to win something here. What, exactly, I'm not sure.
Never miss a local story.
But you get the idea.
Starting five: G Sherron Collins, Kansas (duh! He plays the point and does whatever he wants); G Jacob Pullen, Kansas State (do you know of a tougher backcourt?); F Marcus Morris, Kansas (one of the nation's most improved players); F Graham Hatch, Wichita State (are you surprised? I knew you would be. But I need a guy in this lineup who does the little things and there is nothing Hatch doesn't do); C Cole Aldrich, Kansas (he's not having an All-America season, but he's plenty good for my team).
Second five: G Clevin Hannah, Wichita State (takes care of the ball, shoots the ball, likes the ball); G Denis Clemente, Kansas State (love his emotion, as long as he keeps it in check); F Jamar Samuels, Kansas State (is there a better sixth man in the country?); F Xavier Henry, Kansas (yes, the acclaimed freshman has a spot on my team); C J.T. Durley, Wichita State (undersized, but great in the low post).
What do you think? I'm sure a lot of you wonder about my Hatch pick and think I stretched to get a Shocker in the starting lineup. Wrong. I love Hatch's game and he'd be great in a lineup with that much talent.
* I'm beginning to wonder whether the St. Louis Cardinals really thought it through when they brought on Mark McGwire as hitting coach.
True, McGwire did come forward a couple of weeks ago and admit to using steroids. But he didn't say he believed steroids helped him hit home runs; he only said he used steroids to improve his ability to recover from injuries and improve his overall health.
Since we all pretty much knew McGwire used steroids, even as he was keeping his mouth closed during congressional testimony, his admission isn't enough. An acknowledgment that his home-run numbers are tainted and maybe even a sham is what we want to hear from McGwire.
It's never going to happen.
McGwire, I'm sure, recognized the importance of his admission to using steroids since he wants to be the Cardinals' batting coach. No admission, no return to baseball. It's as simple as that.
I suspect, though, that McGwire will never cop to another fact we all know — that steroids use helped him hit the baseball farther than he had ever hit it before. Why? Because it diminishes his accomplishments and no professional athlete ever wants to do that.
If McGwire says steroids are the reason he hit 70 home runs in 1998, or 65 in 1999, or 583 in his career, he's nullifying everything he accomplished in baseball. Imagine how difficult that would be.
It might be the right thing for McGwire to do. But with a cost of pouring his career accomplishments down the drain, it's not reasonable to expect.
* Dave Stallworth just turned 68, which amazes me. Stallworth, for my money the greatest player in Wichita State basketball history, will forever be 20 in my mind, making jump shots and gliding to the basket with grace and artistry that belies a man who is 6-foot-7.
I look for Stallworth at every Wichita State game, and he's almost always there. But not lately.
Stallworth said a painful blister on his right foot has made it impossible for him to get around much lately and it's been a few weeks since he's been inside Koch Arena to watch the Shockers.
"It's a bad blister,'' he said. "But I'm doing OK. I've been slightly under the weather, but I'm OK. It's just been hard to get out and walk around.''
Stallworth has kept up with the Shockers though, watching games when he can and listening when games aren't televised.
"And oh, man, they're playing well,'' Stallworth said. "They're not giving games away, they're finishing games. And that was really the thing they were lacking last year, an ability to finish.''
Stallworth remains a basketball junkie and says he watches Kansas and Kansas State whenever he can, too. He's been particularly impressed by K-State's ability to defend and thinks the Wildcats have staying power.
"That's a rugged team, tough on the boards,'' Stallworth said.
Dave the Rave, as he was nicknamed during his Wichita State career in the early-1960s, said he plans on being at the Shockers' next home game, Wednesday night against Illinois State.
"Looking forward to it,'' he said.
* Two words for KU guard Tyshawn Taylor: Shut up. OK, some more words: Please stop talking. The more you say, either in person or allegedly on your Facebook page, the more ridiculous you sound.
You don't understand your role? I believe your role is easily explained. When you're on the floor, don't screw up. Play defense and get the basketball to the right people.
And if it's true that you're thinking about leaving Kansas, three more words: There's the door.
* Because of my powers of prognostication, people are clamoring for my NFC and AFC championship game picks.
Let's start with the Minnesota-New Orleans game in the NFL. I like the Saints because they're at home. And, really, that's about the only reason.
Minnesota has a much better defense. Adrian Peterson is a better running back than anyone the Saints have. And there's the Brett Favre factor. Love him or hate him (and I despise him), Favre is having a season for the ages at the age of 40.
Minnesota is the best team on paper. But the teams are playing in the Superdome and that should be enough of an edge to put New Orleans over the top.
In the AFC, how can I pick against Indianapolis at home against the New York Jets?
I can't, but it's tempting. There's just something about the Jets that makes it difficult to pick against them. But there's also something about Indy _ Peyton Manning. As good as New York's secondary is, I think Manning will be able to pick his spots while the Colts' defense limits what New York can do offensively.
* Thanks for reading, as always. Saturday night, I'll be at the Thunder opener at the Intrust Bank Arena. And it'll be another busy week of basketball, with KU's home game against Missouri on Monday night and the Shockers at home against Illinois State on Wednesday.