Tradition Has Graduated

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There are many things people love about sports.  The commitment, the competition and the excitement it brings are just a few that come to mind. Perhaps one of the greatest aspects of sports is tradition. Tradition fuels rivalries and provides for some of the greatest matchups in the history of sports.  Yankees-Red Sox, Lakers-Celtics, Packers-Vikings, and North Carolina-Duke are some of the rivalries we have remaining today. Some of the most historic rivalries, though, may never occur again in the modern sports era.

Midwesterners have had to suffer through the recent dismantling of the Big XII as some of the most historic rivalries have died through conference realignment. The departure of Nebraska and Missouri to the Big 10 and SEC, respectively, have ended some of the longest standing rivalries in American sports. Kansas and Nebraska, two of the oldest programs in college football first played in 1892.  It was the longest uninterrupted rivalry in collegiate athletics. They played annually from 1906 to 2010, making it the 2nd most played college football series ever, surpassed only by Wisconsin and Minnesota. Kansas also held the 3rd longest series with bitter rival Missouri, first playing in 1891, and every season since the inaugural Border Showdown. The rivalry held roots dating back to the Civil War when the free state Kansas “Jayhawkers” and pro-slavery “Bushwhackers” from Missouri actually fought during the Civil War. The rivalry carried over to the hardwood, providing one of the most entertaining and bitter rivalries in college basketball.

The East Coast has also been rocked by the recent realignment, with the Big East seeing storied programs Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame and Rutgers leaving for presumably greener pastures, with UConn and Louisville appearing primed to leave next. This could mark the end of the excitement of Big East basketball, which has been arguably the best conference for basketball over the past decade.   The glory days of the Big East tournament are coming to a close, which is perhaps the saddest part of it all.

Recent events in collegiate athletics are beginning to ruin college athletics. It’s naïve to think that money wouldn’t be the driving force in collegiate athletics, but the sad truth is that is.  The lifeblood of collegiate athletics has been these storied rivalries, but the driving force is the strength of the conference’s TV deals and the depths of their pockets. We may never see another 6 overtime thriller between two power-house Big East rivals like we did in the 2009 Big East quarterfinals between UConn and Syracuse. We will likely never see another Border Showdown between Mizzou and Kansas where National Title hopes are on the line, like we did in 2007. And with the future of the ACC uncertain with the departure of Maryland, who knows what will happen to rivalries like UNC-Duke.

It may be difficult for fans in certain parts of the country to understand the plight of fans in the Big XII and Big East alike. Just imagine if Michigan-Ohio State no longer played each other, or if any of the storied SEC rivalries like Auburn-Alabama or  Florida-Georgia were no more. Collegiate athletics has started down a slippery slop and it is beginning to seem like fans should be prepared for anything at this point, as tradition and proximity have been thrown completely out the window. And if you, the reader, still do not have a problem with all of this conference shift shenanigans, just ask yourself this one question: would a sensible person put San Diego State in the Big East?

Tommy Randolph

Edited By: Drew Agnello

KSU Steals one in Columbia

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When taking a step back from the battle that happened, I am going to review how Kansas State stole the game in Columbia. This game was crucial not only for bragging rights but for seeding in the NCAA Tournament. Going into tonight’s game in Columbia, I knew if K-State stood any chance against Missouri, they were going to have to do two things, pressure them on defense, and utilize their loaded front court against the Tigers by getting points in the paint. They did both. In the end, it was the Wildcats that prevailed for the second time this season, 78-68.

Kansas State is the first team this season to hand the number 3 ranked Tigers a loss on their home floor. Led by Rodney McGruder’s 24 points, Kansas State scored their second consecutive road win against a top 10 team. McGruder was able to get wherever he wanted the entire game. He split the zone and got open for numerous easy jumpers. As mentioned before, K-State really used their big front line to their advantage. Jamar Samuels was able to score inside and step out and hit the three, which is something he has done well over the past three games. Thomas Gipson seemed unstoppable at times with that jump hook over Kim English. K-State is getting hot at a time that it does every year under Frank Martin, February. If they want to make a run in the NCAA tournament, they need to stick to the game plan that has won them two straight road games against top 10 teams. as for Missouri, this is a disappointing loss that puts them 1 game behind KU in the Big 12 standings going into Saturday’s showdown in Lawrence.

Overall, this game is a big stepping stone for K-State, two games ago, they were on the bubble worrying about whether they would make the NCAA tournament, and a week later, they have all but secured their spot in March Madness. It will be interesting to see what seed the Cats can clinch if they win out for the regular season. Up next for Kansas State is Iowa State on the 25th.

Sam Young

Kansas State at Missouri Preview

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This Tuesday, the 3rd ranked Missouri Tigers will host the Kansas State Wildcats at Mizzou Arena in each team’s 15th conference game of the season. Missouri enters the game coming off a solid 9-point road win in College Station against the Texas A&M Aggies. The Tigers come in with an overall record of 25-2 and a mark of 12-2 in conference play, which is good for a tie at the top of the conference with the rival Kansas Jayhawks.

Kansas State comes into the contest off an impressive 1-point victory over the Baylor Bears down in Waco this past Saturday. The Wildcats are 18-8 overall, and an even 7-7 in Big 12 play, currently good for 5th place in the conference. Kansas State, one of only two teams to beat Missouri all year, looks to complete the season sweep of the Tigers for the first time since the 2006-2007 season.

Picture from: http://www2.ljworld.com/photos/2011/jan/18/

Backcourt advantage: Missouri
The Tigers arguably have the best backcourt in the nation, as they lead the country in offensive efficiency and are 2nd in the nation in field goal percentage at 50.3 percent. Look for Phil Pressey, Michael Dixon, and Marcus Denmon to feed off the energy of the crowd at Mizzou Arena and force Kansas State’s young guards into turnovers. On average, Missouri forces an impressive 15 turnovers a game at Mizzou Arena during conference play.

Frontcourt advantage: Kansas State
Kansas State definitely has the advantage here, as they can throw a plethora of bodies at Ricardo Ratliffe and Steve Moore down low. Look for Jamar Samuels, Thomas Gipson, and the seven-footer Jordan Henriquez to flourish on the glass Tuesday night. Ricardo Ratliffe should get his points, but Missouri is going to need quality minutes from Steve Moore. Kansas State dominated Missouri in the rebounding category back on January 7th, out-rebounding the Tigers 37-22 en route to a 75-59 victory in Manhattan. Expect Kansas State to have a similar advantage on the glass, but not by such a wide margin.

Bench: Even
While Missouri isn’t very deep at all off the bench, they arguably have the best sixth man in the nation in Lee’s Summit West product Michael Dixon. K-State’s bench hasn’t been all that productive, but at least they have more than 7 players that can come in the game and play effective minutes unlike the Tigers who can only turn to Dixon and Steve Moore off the bench.

Intangibles: Missouri
Tuesday’s contest is being played in Columbia, where Missouri has yet to lose a game this season. While Kansas State is coming off an energizing victory over Baylor, the Tigers and their fans can almost taste a Big 12 title. Missouri needs this game desperately to keep their Big 12 Championship aspirations alive. And don’t think that 75-59 trouncing of the Tigers in Manhattan back on January 7th isn’t on their minds when they take the court for this one Tuesday night. The revenge factor will be a big part of this game for Missouri.

Picture from: http://www.columbiatribune.com/news/2011/jan/25/spoken-like-a-true-king/

Missouri hasn’t lost a game at Mizzou Arena this season. Don’t expect that to change Tuesday night.
Missouri 71-62

Tyler Howard

The badass column: beginnings

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To all my readers, I’m sorry. With the recent start of school, things have been slowing down for me, and instead of writing a story, I’m taking notes for theology. I’ll let that sink in. Notes for theology.

Anyway, I’ve decided to make an executive decision. My column is officially a Snickers (Yes, I’m comparing my writing to a Snickers). Instead of writing two stories, a Tweet and Tell and then a What to Watch for the week, I’ve decided to scale back to one massive, awesome, incredible column.

So where does the Snicker metaphor fit in, you ask.

Ah, you see, Snickers is God’s gift to man kind. Its subtle combination of chocolate, nuts, caramel, and nugget makes it one of the best candies in the world. So too will this column, in a less subtler way, use the combination of tweets, predictions, videos, and my terrible jokes to form “the badass column.”

So without further ado…

I’m sure by now everyone has seen the “We are Mizzou” video. The video shows three college students with way too much time on their hands and way too little talent to exploit. And as sad as it was that these college students made such a terrible video, it’s even sadder that I actually like it. First it was just a watch through and some humming: nothing too big. Then I kept watching and watching. Before I knew it, I was belting “So who are you?!” in the shower.

In hopes to finding a cure to this pathetic addiction, I decided to watch six children in adult bodies  go out every night, pee themselves, and do absolutely nothing all day; I watched some Jersey Shore. Then I realized I was filling one pathetic addiction with another (God bless Snooki’s soul).

So that didn’t work. At this point it was getting pretty bad: I had just downloaded the song onto my Ipod and had put it on repeat when working out at the gym (I got some pretty weird stares, I think it was when I yelled the line, “say your grace!” that did it). I had hit rock bottom. Then I went back to the source, youtube, and incredibly, I stumbled upon other videos made by other college students

As you can see, this video was actually pretty good. The response, of course, was a Purdue video.

I now have a playlist titled “Awesome college songs” on my Ipod, right below my “Justin Bieber” playlist. Yes, life’s good.

However, for Kansas fans life isn’t very good. In last night’s game, I watched Tyshawn Taylor suddenly morph into the ghost of Christian Moody and flat out brick those two big free throws. With those misses, Mizzou went on to win the game and defend its home floor. And while the game on the court was a fun battle between two top tier teams, heading into the game, there was a battle raging off the court, on Twitter. It was the #thingsbetterthantheotherteam battle, and might I say something, as a totally independent, non-biased 3rd party, this was some of the most entertaining things I’ve ever read. Thank God for sports

KU fans, let’s see what you got.

Turner Gill #ThingsBetterThanMizzou

Brett Shaw@Bshaw722

#ThingsBetterThanMizzou Evangelical Republicans

Jordan Jacobson@jdever12

Public bathrooms #thingsbetterthanmizzou

Cassie Mann @coolcass01

#ThingsBetterThanMizzou Anthony Davis’ unibrow

-Alex Todd@TheAlexTodd

Missouri fans, your turn.

Holly Rowe’s makeup artist. #ThingsbetterthanKansas

– FakeNedYost@fakenedyost

Where was Erin Andrews last night? Honestly...

Running out of toilet paper #thingsbetterthankansas

– Lucas Vincent@The9extBi6Thing

The WNBA #thingsbetterthanKansas

– The Antlers@The_Antlers

Tyler Palko #thingsbetterthankansas

– Romeo Crennel@Grandpa_Romeo

The winner: fans like me, who get to witness this hilarious Twitter war.

The Super Bowl

            Someone up in Congress needs to make the Super Bowl a national holiday. They’re making laws to get rid of Facebook and Twitter (see SOPA), the least they can do is make the Super Bowl a national holiday. I was thinking the law would be called Protecting Against Abusive Super Bowl Practices. The law would effectively make it illegal to have school on the Monday after the Super Bowl, teachers could not assign homework the weekend of the Super Bowl, Super Bowl parties must include conversations related to sports unless the conversationees move rooms, therefore to not allow for distractions, commercials must be watched by viewers, and terrible halftime shows would be made illegal. If you’re interested in starting a petition with me for this piece of legislation, feel free to contact me. This can happen America! Believe in Hope and Change (I think I’m getting a little carried away).

As for the actual game, I think it will be an interesting matchup. The pain of losing to the Giants in the Super Bowl four years ago must be devastating for the Patriots, and as much as they say they haven’t thought of it, they have. That’s like saying athletes don’t think of individual awards or they don’t care about the money (please, spare us all, you’re not fooling anyone. You’re an athlete not an actor).

This game will go down to the wire. That I’m for sure. As for everything else, I have no idea. The Giants have that “it” factor this year that the Packers had last year and they had four years ago. Ultimately, the “it” factor (whatever “it” is) will win this game for them.

Giants- 24 Patriots-21

Blase Capelli