KU Hoops

Well, I was hoping to post another Jayhawk Talk entry this week. I was looking forward to seeing how KU played three days after struggling to put away a Stephen F. Austin team that exposed some of their deficiencies. Alas, Colorado had some players test positive, the game got wiped from the schedule, and the Christmas break begins early for the Jayhawks.

Which leaves the big KU hoops news of the week the announcement that KU will play Indiana the next two years. It took 19 years but it’s finally happening: the Jayhawks vs. the Hoosiers on campus!1 What timing, too. KU will come to Bloomington in December 2023, when I just might have a freshman on campus. Wacky, wild stuff!

The 1990s series between the schools was great. Well, for KU fans it was, since the Jayhawks went 5–1 against the Hoosiers, including two wins in the NCAA tournament. The game in Lawrence in December 1993 – the Jacque Vaughn game – was the best game I’ve ever attended.

Covid and Sports

All sports leagues are struggling at the moment, as both the protection offered by vaccines begins to waver for those who got their shots last spring and the Omicron variant takes hold. Once again we are seeing how well-meaning policies and guidance have often been short-sighted. Protocols that were put in place over the summer now seem hopelessly outdated and ineffective because, to go back to a favorite phrase from the spring of 2020, the situation is fluid. Leagues, rightly, are reluctant to move too quickly in making adjustments as they wait on advice from government and health officials and a better idea of exactly how dangerous Omicron is.

I’m not sure what the right answer is. Allowing fully vaccinated players who test positive but show no symptoms to continue to compete seems like the right move at first consideration. But aren’t those players still able to spread the virus even if they have avoided its worst effects? So do we start limiting crowds again? Or only letting in fully-vaccinated fans to prevent the spread if we let those players on the court?

Or should leagues hit the pause button, as the NHL has done? Would stopping games for 10–14 days allow this rapidly spreading wave to subside a bit, give officials a better idea of exactly what we’re facing, and perhaps prevent a longer delay after the holidays pass?

While their policies may be frustrating, at least professional sports are controlled by a central body that keeps everyone on the same set of rules. In college sports it’s totally different, with each conference having slightly different standards. College sports, subject to the political whims of all 50 states and the various priorities of dozens of different conferences, are a mess. The NCAA has provided all kinds of guidance, and is working closely with the CDC to adjust that guidance as needed. But the fact remains that an organization that is quick to jump in and control what schools/conferences do when there is money to be made (and take their large cut in the process) is largely toothless when it comes to protecting players, coaches, and fans.

BTW, S and I are boosted. M gets her third shot next week. We did have a scare in the house a couple weeks back, but the Covid test was negative and we think the kid in question had either the regular flu or just a terrible cold. Fortunately it never hit the rest of us.


We had a fairly busy weekend so I wasn’t able to watch any of the PNC Father/Son golf tournament. Which bummed me out because my Twitter feed was electric about Tiger and Charlie Woods putting on a show all weekend. I don’t know what people were more amazed by: the fact that Tiger was upright and playing good golf, or how freaking good his kid is.

Who knows how healthy Tiger actually is and if his efforts are repeatable. He rode in a cart all week; doing so in a regular tour event will require approval from the PGA. I imagine they would jump at giving him one, ironic given how hard they fought to keep Casey Martin out of one 20-some years ago. Whether Tiger’s body can hold up to 72 holes of high-level golf is another matter. Regardless of his future, it is stunning that he had been able to recover to this level.


The Pacers are kind of a mess. Which is unusual. Aside from the mid–2000s, post-Brawl era, the franchise is usually pretty boring and steady. They are always solid, occasionally great. They never get a high lottery draft pick. They don’t make much news that draws attention nationally.

This year has been different. There seems to be a lot of discontent in the locker room. There are players who don’t like their roles, some who are frustrated by not winning, and others who have issues with the front office.

It reached the point where owner Herb Simon had to meet with select media last week to ensure them he loved this team and that he thought they were fully capable of getting their shit together and winning some games. This came just as there were reports that he might finally relent from his long-held policy of refusing to tank for a high draft pick. He has said he would rather be mediocre and sell as many tickets as possible than tell the fans the team is going to suck for a few years and deal with a huge attendance loss.

The chatter is he may be wavering because the Pacers’ attendance this year has been near the bottom of the entire league. I think there’s also finally some acceptance that while they have a lot of nice players, they have the wrong mix of nice players. Too many guys who do the same thing and no true stars. There’s no Jermaine O’Neal, Danny Granger, or Paul George on this roster: a young, talented player who can blossom into a top 20 player if the team is patient enough.

The Colts are the far more important franchise around town these days, and have been since Peyton arrived. But I’ve talked to a few guys who have been big Pacers fans their entire lives who are pissed about where the team is. When you have such a small, loyal fan base and they begin to turn on the team, it seems like ownership has to do something drastic to keep their interest and to have any hopes of grabbing the attention of the rest of the city.


My attention given to the Colts this year has been waaaaay less than last year. I’m not sure why. I’ve watched way less of the NFL in general this year. Again, I’m not sure why.

The Colts seem to be rolling, though. And my limited viewing tells me that this may be the widest open playoffs in recent memory. So perhaps the Colts can overcome that brutal opening stretch of the season and make some noise in the playoffs.

Ha! Very funny! You can’t trust Carson Wentz in the playoffs!

Forget Covid and who may/may not be available: is there a single team you really trust to win 3–4 games in January? I would assume the Chiefs are, once again, the favorite as they’ve righted the ship from their mid-season swoon. But each time a team seems poised to stake a claim as the clear best team in the league, they lay a big fat egg. So maybe that means the Chiefs play a Wild Card in both the AFC title game and Super Bowl? I don’t know; I haven’t watched enough to have any idea what to expect.

1. The only time the schools have played since I moved to Indy was in Hawaii in November 2016 with the Hoosiers winning in overtime.