Before New Orleans, thoughts from this weekend
The Kansas City Star
My flight to New Orleans is in a few hours, so the rest of the week I’ll be trying to avoid the stink of “God-ing up” Ray Lewis and the obsession of sibling rivalry.
It’ll be all Super Bowl all the time here — save whatever else you want to talk about on Twitter Tuesday, for which lines are now open — so before we get to that I thought we’d start the week with some thoughts on Kansas City’s teams from this past weekend.
Chiefs: I didn’t watch a second of the Pro Bowl. Not even highlights. That’s the proper level of interest for the Pro Bowl, even as I see many of you on Twitter and my email inbox are making the of-course-the-Chiefs-show-up-in-a-game-that-doesn’t-matter-and-is-played-without-tackling jokes.
Kansas: The Jayhawks may very well be No. 1 in the rankings this week, and Bill Self said his team is neither ready nor deserving of the “honor.” That’s probably true, but it’s also true of every other top team in the country this year. Any win in that environment in Manhattan last week is impressive, but otherwise, Kansas is more grinding out wins than dominating. I like this team, a lot, but I can’t get this thought out of my head: they’re not being pushed or challenged in a relatively weak Big 12 and it’s hard not to wonder if that will cost them in March.
K-State: They were probably a little overrated at 11, but if they drop too far after two losses this week they’ll probably be a little underrated. Either way, this is an interesting group. Rodney McGruder is handling the top-dog role better than I expected. They’re coming around on Weber’s motion offense (just about anything would’ve been an upgrade over some of those Frank Martin funks) and they’ve retained enough of that defensive and overall toughness.
Missouri: The hardest one of the three to figure out. Vanderbilt is really struggling, and Missouri hit a LOT of shots on Saturday, but that was still an impressive look by the Tigers. I mentioned this on Twitter the other day and achieved the rare honor of hearing that I both love and hate MU but I do believe it:
If healthy and playing their best, Mizzou is a legitimate Final Four contender in a wide open college basketball season. And there are other prolonged stretches where they’re an NIT team.
Also, I have the feeling that Ray Lewis is going to miss a tackle or something in what turns out to be a really big play on Sunday.