Lutz Blog

Bob Lutz: Friday musings on the Shockers, Cheick Diallo, Ann Wilson and more

Cheick Diallo is one of two high-profile freshmen yet to be made eligible by the NCAA Eligibility Center.
Cheick Diallo is one of two high-profile freshmen yet to be made eligible by the NCAA Eligibility Center. Kansas City Star

▪ November is a pretty good sports month, what with the MLB awards, football in full swing, basketball taking off. Hockey? I wish I had grown up with that sport. I have nothing against hockey and it seems like a great sport. I hear people talk often about how exciting the Stanley Cup playoffs are, but I just don’t watch a lot. When I do, it’s fine.

▪ So I start off the musings today beating myself up about not watching hockey? That’s not exactly where I intended to go. But it’s also what I like about the musings because I really have no intention of going anywhere. I just wander.

▪ The Shockers take on Emporia State on Saturday at Koch Arena in what will be an instructional scrimmage, more than anything else. That’s taking nothing away from the Hornets. But Wichita State needs to re-evaluate after Tuesday night’s 10-point loss at Tulsa. Gregg Marshall has a cupboard full of exciting young players, but they were off-kilter against the Hurricane. I especially expected more from sophomores Zach Brown and Shaq Morris and another soph, Rasheed Kelly, hasn’t blown me away yet. The freshmen are another story; they expectedly will have fits and starts. But the sophomores need to be better.

▪ I’m looking forward to Wichita State’s volleyball game tonight against Southern Illinois at Koch Arena with first place in the Missouri Valley Conference on the line.

▪ It was a bad night for the Missouri Valley Conference in men’s basketball Thursday. Missouri State lost by 34 to Butler; Illinois State lost by 16 to South Dakota State and Bradley was pummeled by 25 by No. 6 Virginia. On Wednesday, Loyola was beaten 75-51 by New Mexico. We’ll see about this conference. Northern Iowa appears to be a good team again and perhaps Indiana State will be one, too.

▪ I’m ready for some Hot Stove action. Following baseball in the off-season is a blast for me. This one should be particularly good with some big names about to change teams. The World Champion Royals — how does that sound, KC fans? — have some interesting decisions to make. I still think they’ll allow free agent Alex Gordon to sign with another team and I’m starting to believe they’ll allow Ben Zobrist to walk, too. As uncomfortable as that probably makes Royals fans, remember that a bunch of core players are due big raises soon as they hit free agency. Dayton Moore has proven himself worthy of trust now. Let’s see how he works.

▪ Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors is must-see television. He reminds me so much of Pete Maravich with his ability to shoot, pass and otherwise entertain the heck out of a basketball crowd.

▪ So freshman forward Cheick Diallo has been cleared by the NCAA to travel with Kansas to Hawaii for Maui Classic next week. That can mean only one thing and that’s that Diallo will soon be given the go-ahead to play, although the NCAA isn’t saying that. It’s Eligibility Center is continuing to examine Diallo’s academic case. But to not give Diallo the green light after getting everyone’s hopes up like this would be cruel and unusual punishment. And that’s the first time the words “cruel and unusual punishment” and “Maui” have been used in the same musing, I’m sure.

▪ I’m looking forward to the Heart concern at Hartman Arena on Dec. 9. I saw the band in Hutchinson at the State Fair three or four years ago and was amazed. It was one of the three or four best concerts I’ve been to. Ann Wilson is an incredible singer, in the argument as the best female singer of them all. Is that crazy thinking?

▪ Football season hasn’t been much fun in these parts, has it?

▪ The Chiefs, though, are still kicking in the AFC West, which is theirs for the taking if they can stay hot. Denver is in trouble now, although the Broncos still lead KC by three games. San Diego is gasping for air and does anyone really believe in Oakland? It’s not crazy to think the 4-5 Chiefs, winners of three straight after a five-game losing streak, could run the table given this remaining schedule: at San Diego, Buffalo, at Oakland, San Diego, at Baltimore, Cleveland, at Oakland.

▪ I love what the New England Patriots are doing in the wake of Deflategate, the biggest non-scandal in sports history.

▪ I’ll be in Orlando with the Shockers over Thanksgiving — poor me, I know — but will be looking forward to watching some football when the basketball is over. Here’s the Thanksgiving Day NFL schedule: Philadelphia at Detroit, Carolina at Dallas, Chicago at Green Bay. Not much of a feast, is it? There are no Thanksgiving Day games in college football, but the Friday schedule is robust. It includes Navy at Houston (what a great game you’d never expect), Iowa at Nebraska, Oregon State at Oregon and Baylor at TCU.

▪ There’s no denying how well Oklahoma is playing currently, which only makes the Sooners’ 24-17 loss to Texas on Oct. 10 one of the hardest-to-comprehend defeats in recent college football history. Could OU possibly be one of the four College Football Playoff teams after losing to a 4-6 Texas team? Remember, the Sooners come from a conference that hasn’t gotten a lot of CFP love so far.

▪ The last couple of weeks of the college football season will be telling. And we still won’t agree on the four teams that make it through to the playoffs. Somebody worthy is going to be left out and somebody who seems not-so-worthy will get in.

▪ Thanks for reading, everyone. Enjoy your weekend.