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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Sports Potpourri: Despite heartbreaking loss, KC's future is bright

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  • Even though Kansas City lost a heartbreaking 45-44 first-round game in the NFL playoffs, the Chiefs had a remarkable season.
    And, KC would likely have defeated Indianapolis if it weren’t for all the injuries they suffered.
    Even if they had beaten Indianapolis, KC probably would have lost in the second round because the squad is decimated by injuries.
    With head coach Andy Reid and general manager John Dorsey running the show, the future for Kansas City is bright.
    The following are the Chiefs’ biggest needs in the order of their priority: two big and fast and talented wide receivers; two cornerbacks and a safety to challenge for starting spots; three defensive linemen, including at least one pass rusher; and one running back.
    Kansas City is close to having a big-time NFL team — Reid and Dorsey will propel the Chiefs to the upper echelon of the NFL.
    Turning to basketball…
    Kansas State’s team started Big 12 play with a 74-71 win against nationally ranked and conference co-favorite Oklahoma State.
    The Wildcats are greatly improved after an inauspicious start.  
    Coach Bruce Weber’s Wildcats have won nine in a row and are 11-3 for the season — that’s impressive enough to deserve some national recognition.
    Freshman point guard Jevon Thomas (6-0, 180) has given Weber’s second K-State team a terrific boost.
    Thomas didn’t become eligible until the second semester and he wasn’t allowed to practice with the team before that.
    His play without any prior practice or experience has been extraordinary.
    Thomas has exceptional quickness and ball-handling skills and he’s already a capable on-ball defender.
    He adds a whole new dimension to K-State’s team.
    Kansas State had a quick team before Thomas came aboard; with him, Weber has the quickest team in the Big 12 and the Cats are playing stellar defense.
    KSU played TCU on the road Tuesday, but the score was not available at press time.
    KSU then faces KU this Saturday in Allen Fieldhouse.
    That’s a tough opening schedule for the Cats, but they sure got off to a great start by beating OK State.
    The only good thing about KU’s 61-57 loss to San Diego State is that it wasn’t a conference game.
    Another positive — in some respects — is the Jayhawks won’t have to worry anymore about their national ranking or eventual seed in the NCAA Tournament.
    Kansas opens Big 12 competition today at Oklahoma and plays their first of a possible three games with Kansas State on Saturday.
    Page 2 of 2 - KU and K-State have battled in some great games over the years, but don’t expect that this time around. Kansas has a big edge in talent, especially on the frontline.
    Thomas Gipson (6-7, 255) and D.J. Johnson (6-8, 250) are the only true inside players on K-State’s team, and they have to go against Joel Embiid (7-0, 245), Perry Ellis (6-8, 225), Jamari Traylor (6-8, 220), Tarik Black (6-9, 262), and Landen Lucas (6-10, 240).
    If either Gipson or Johnson gets in foul trouble, it’s going to put K-State in a real bind.
    KU’s frontline played poorly against SDS, but the Jayhawks will have a huge size advantage playing K-State. Nevertheless, Kansas State has evolved as the surprise team in the Big 12 and the Wildcats are capable of springing an upset.
    Wichita State is ranked in the top 10 in the nation and off to the best start (15-0 overall and 2-0 in Missouri Valley) in the school history. Coach Gregg Marshall has a well-coached and talented team that will breeze through conference play.
    The longer this one-and-done NBA rule continues in major college basketball, the more valuable experienced players are going to become.
    Wichita State is a perfect example: most of the Shockers’ key players participated in the NCAA Tournament last season and — because of that experience — the present ball club is better than the Final Four team.
    And circling back to football …
    Big 12 football teams had a bowl season that was alright. with 3 wins and 3 losses, but it was nothing special.
    Kansas State, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech were impressive while winning their games. Big 12 champion Baylor, Texas and Oklahoma State didn’t play well in their losses.
    K-State and OU came out of their bowl wins with the quarterback position set for next season.
    QB Jake Waters played his best game of the season for the Wildcats; his passing and game management were superb in the prestigious 31-14 win over traditional power Michigan.
    OU’s QB, Trevor Knight, had a fabulous game in the Sooners’ upset of Alabama. Waters and Knight will be two of the best QBs in the Big 12 next season.
    K-State coach Bill Snyder has most of his key players returning and the Wildcats will have a formidable ball club next fall. The 2014 season is promising indeed for Kansas State.

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