This was going to be an editorial about the health care law. Or about the GOP presidential campaign. Or about the wackiness of this year’s legislative session. But why bother?
With the University of Kansas playing in the Final Four this weekend, and with the Wichita Thunder playing at home in the Central Hockey League playoffs, it’s difficult to concentrate on anything other than sports.
It’s been a great year for college basketball in Kansas. The KU, Wichita State University and Kansas State University men’s basketball teams each made the NCAA Tournament, as did the KU and K-State women.
Unfortunately, WSU had an off game and lost in the second round. But the KU men have kept the madness going throughout March, winning their regional and defeating North Carolina and former KU coach Roy Williams.
At the start of the season, few Jayhawk fans – even those who wear crimson-colored glasses – would have predicted that this year’s team could make it this far. After all, the squad is basically last year’s B team.
Yet under the guidance of coach Bill Self, who ought to win every national coach-of-the-year honor, the team quickly came together, winning yet another Big 12 title. It also exhibited an old-school approach to the game, with tough defense, extra passes and inside power.
It also helped that Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor had All-American seasons.
Given that the Jayhawks already have defied expectations, it wouldn’t be the end of the world if they lost Saturday to Ohio State University or in the finals on Monday. After all, it’s an honor just to make it to the Final Four and blah, blah, blah.
Yeah, right. KU is in it to win it, and anything less will stink.
Likewise, the Wichita Thunder aren’t just happy to be in the playoffs. The team had the league’s best record this season and expects to continue winning when it plays the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees tonight and Sunday at Intrust Bank Arena.
The team made a remarkable turnaround this year under new local owners Rodney, Brandon and Johnny Steven, and coach Kevin McClelland certainly deserved to be named CHL coach of the year.
So with the Thunder at the downtown arena and the Jayhawks in New Orleans, it’s going to be a great sports weekend. Let’s get this party started.
For the editorial board, Phillip Brownlee