* I was able to watch a couple innings of the St. Louis Cardinals’ exhibition opener today while I was having lunch. It improved my mood.
* My mood needed improving because this was Tommy Thurber’s last day – at least for a while – working on our radio show, Sports Daily. I’ve spent two hours a day with Tommy for 10 years and for the past year it’s been just me and him in the studio. You really get to know a guy in that radio setting. And you really become friends. I’m a little surprised at how emotional I’ve been today about this. Then I remember how old I am and how sentimental I’ve become since I met my wife, Debbie.
* I know I play a hardened curmudgeon on TV, but my perception of me is as something different.
* Best of luck to Tommy, who is cutting back to just one job. And he promises to stop by radio on a semi-regular basis.
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* I just did a telephone interview with Ernie Moore, a great Shocker point guard from the early 1960s. I think I interviewed him a couple of other times, but it’s been years. It’s always fascinating to talk to these guys from the old days of WSU basketball who I grew up idolizing as a grade-school kid in Derby. Moore couldn’t have been more gracious during our interview, or more complimentary about the 30-0 Shockers.
* Can Missouri State, which had the Shockers on the ropes in Springfield in January before losing in overtime, possibly finish the deed Saturday at Koch Arena? I don’t think so, although I was as shocked as anyone Thursday night when Atlantic-10 bottom feeder Duquesne won on the road at Saint Louis. Wichita State has embraced being unbeaten. It’s come to define the Shockers, really. This is an accomplishment the team is proud of, not intimidated by. I don’t sense the weight of being unbeaten with the Shockers. I expect them to hammer Missouri State and win the Valley tournament in St. Louis next week. Then it’s on, folks.
* My exchange this week with CBS Sports Radio host Doug Gottlieb is one of the most bizarre experiences of my career. I blame Twitter.
* I hope I have the resolve to stop using Twitter when I retire, whenever that day comes. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. I sometimes enjoy Twitter and if you are a Facebook friend you know how often I post there. So I’m not one of those old guys who avoids social media like it’s a plague. I just don’t want to be checking my phone all the time when I’m finished working at the newspaper. I write this while seeing my iPhone out of the corner of my eye, by the way. So I’m as hooked as anyone.
* What I’ve been asking a bunch of former Wichita State players from the early 1960s and early 1980s, two of the great eras of Shocker basketball, is how this 2013-14 version stacks up. I think you’ll enjoy reading what they have to say in a column that will come out in our WSU basketball historical section next week. I’ve talked with not only Ernie Moore, but Lanny Van Eman and Dave Stallworth from the 1960s and Antoine Carr, Cliff Levingston and Coach Gene Smithson from the 1980s.
* As I’ve said all along, I’m going to be upset if Gravity wins the Oscar for best picture Sunday night at the Academy Awards. I just do not understand the hype surrounding that movie. It was OK. The special effects were tremendous. But the movie was just OK. Nothing special. Certainly not Oscar-worthy. I’m pulling for 12 Years a Slave and Nebraska, far superior movies.
* I’ve enjoyed professional wrestling since I was a kid. A group of us regularly attended the All-Star Wrestling events at Century II back in the day to watch the likes of Rufus R. Jones, Danny Little Bear, The Viking, Handsome Harley Race, Roger ‘Nature Boy’ Kirby, Bulldog Bob Brown and many others. It’s with that information that I inform you that today I purchased the new WWE Network for $9.99 per month. I have no shame.
* My son, Jeff, does a wrestling blog for prowrestling.net. He has no shame, either. Hey, it’s entertaining stuff. My cultured wife has even gotten the bug. And, no, we don’t think it’s real. Except my wife sometimes. I occasionally have to reel here in.
* Jake Bugg is an interesting young musician. I saw him on American Idol on Thursday night and we played one of his songs on the radio show recently. I like.
* Speaking of AI, I’m not sure I see a standout singer on the show this season. But it’s still early. There are three or four who might still have a chance.
* And don’t tell me that the singers on The Voice are better. I don’t care. My wife and I watch American Idol. Get back to me when that other show, which I have nothing against, produces a star.
* OK, it’s a little crazy how loyal I’ve become to American Idol. I need to look into this.
* Could Wichita State win college basketball’s national championship? Yes. But so could, in my estimation, 17 other teams. They are: Florida, Arizona, Syracuse, Kansas, Duke, Louisville, Villanova, Creighton, Cincinnati, Virginia, San Diego State, Wisconsin, Iowa State, Michigan, Kentucky, Michigan State and North Carolina.
* After that last item, I went and checked vegasinsider.com to check the odds for all of those teams. Here they are: Florida 5/1, Arizona 10/1, Syracuse 10/1, Kansas 7/1, Duke 10/1, Louisville 10/1, Villanova 22/1, Creighton 20/1, Cincinnati 60/1, Virginia 22/1, San Diego State 60/1, Wisconsin 25/1, Iowa State 35/1, Michigan 30/1, Kentucky 12/1, Michigan State 8/1, North Carolina 40/1. Wichita State, by the way, is listed at 12/1, same as Kentucky.
* Gregg Marshall should be national coach of the year. Is this even a debate? For Doug Gottlieb, maybe.
* Don’t forget about the quarterfinals of the Shocker Invitational coming up Sunday at Side Pockets. We’ll start at 2 p.m. and play four games, setting up the semifinals and championship on Selection Sunday, March 16. It should be fun and I hope to see a bunch of you there.
* Thanks for reading, everyone. Have a nice, cold weekend. And hopefully we can push the harshness of winter out the door soon.