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Brownback: Governor’s Cup for Kansas college basketball?

Wichita State's Fred VanVleet scrambles for the ball against Seton Hall's Isaiah Whitehead in the second half on Tuesday at Koch Arena. (December 9, 2014)
Wichita State's Fred VanVleet scrambles for the ball against Seton Hall's Isaiah Whitehead in the second half on Tuesday at Koch Arena. (December 9, 2014) The Wichita Eagle

Gov. Sam Brownback floated the idea of creating a Governor’s Cup to pit the state’s college basketball powerhouses against each other.

Kansas State University and the University of Kansas have competed for the Governor’s Cup in football since 1969, with K-State winning the most recent matchup 51-13.

Brownback said this week that it would be great to do something similar with college basketball, but added that he would want to make sure Wichita State University gets to be part of the competition.

“Wichita State’s looking fabulous,” Brownback said about the Shockers’ 77-68 victory over Seton Hall on Tuesday, which he watched on television.

He ventured that WSU may even be strong enough to beat KU.

WSU is not scheduled to meet either the Jayhawks or K-State during the regular season. The Shockers haven’t played KU since 1993 and K-State since 2003.

Many Kansans hoped that the teams would meet in the NCAA Tournament last season, especially when K-State and WSU were placed in the same portion of the bracket. But the University of Kentucky dispatched both teams in the same weekend.

In the past, Sen. Michael O’Donnell, R-Wichita, has pushed for legislation to require the teams to compete. (KU and K-State, members of the Big 12, play each other twice a year in basketball).

Brownback would like to see such a competition take place, but he wasn’t sure that a statute was the best way to make it happen. He informally mentioned that creating a Governor’s Cup tournament, perhaps a round-robin competition, could be a possibility in the future.

Last year, the governor — who earned a bachelor’s degree from K-State and a law degree from KU — wore pins on his lapel to show support for all three teams during the NCAA Tournament.

Reach Bryan Lowry at 785-296-3006 or blowry@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @BryanLowry3.

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