Big 12 Morning Five: Halloween Edition

Posted by cwilliams on October 31st, 2011

  1. Jayhawk fans received some frightening news on the eve of Halloween (see what I did there?) when Bill Self announced Tyshawn Taylor and Elijah Johnson will be suspended for Kansas’ two exhibition games. While Self mentioned they have been “terrific since school began,” he stated they broke a team rule that he had warned carried severe punishment. Kansas will still likely coast in these exhibition games, but in a season where there are more question marks for the Jayhawks than usual, this is not the best way for KU to start its season.
  2. Missouri defeated Missouri Southern 114-68, in the One State, One Spirit Classic, in Joplin, Missouri. But the outcome of the basketball game was the least important aspect of the event. Despite the Tigers winning the actual game, score this one a victory for the entire state. The game provided a two-hour distraction from a community still suffering from a F5 tornado that devastated the entire city. What a way for the Big 12 college hoops season to kick off.
  3. Legendary Oklahoma and Oklahoma State play-by-play announcer ¬†Bob Barry, Sr., passed away on Sunday. Barry began his announcing career at Norman High School, where his unique voice and dynamic personality made him a local legend, and caught the eye of Oklahoma’s head football coach Bud Wilkinson, who eventually hired him for Oklahoma athletics. Barry, Sr., did basketball play-by-play for both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. OU President David Boren stated that Barry was “loved by Oklahomans across the state.” Rest in peace, Mr. Barry, and our thoughts and condolences are with your family.
  4. NewsOK.com has an article up stating that the Big 12 is not yet done with expansion, despite conference commisioner Chuck Neinas stating they were. Also, he goes on to say “don’t count out Louisville to Big 12 just yet”, and calls Neinas’ claim that the Big 12 has not considered expanding to 12 “utter nonsense.” If any of these allegations are true, one thing is for sure: Big 12 basketball would have another fantastic team in its conference.
  5. One of the more cleverly named college basketball websites, searchingforbillyedelin.com, has come out with their Big 12 preview. The article discusses how the Big 12 title is up in the air, and it’s attainability is realistic for almost every Big 12 squad. Also, they discuss how the Big 12′s recruits are getting better and more prestigious each year, especially at Kansas and Texas.
Share this story

Missouri Visits D-II Missouri Southern For Tornado Relief Efforts Sunday

Posted by cwilliams on October 24th, 2011

On May 22, 2011, tragedy struck in southern Missouri. A multiple-vortex tornado (I have no idea what that means, but it sounds intense) hit Joplin, Missouri, creating a devastating amount of damage. Experts tout is as one of the deadliest tornados in American history, and likely the most expensive the state has ever seen. Joplin officials estimate it will take $3 billion to rebuild the city, and the insurance payout is expected to be $2.2 billion. As the flagship university of the state, the University of Missouri has taken an active role in the recovery of Joplin. Whether it has been donations from boosters, athletic fundraisers, or apparel funds going to the tornado relief funds, Missouri has found a number of ways to help the struggling town. Perhaps the most interesting way, though, is the scheduled exhibition game called One State, One Spirit¬†between Missouri’s basketball team and Missouri Southern, the primary university located in Joplin. The Tigers are scheduled to battle MSSU next Sunday afternoon, October 30, at 5:47 PM CDT (a moment of silence will be observed at 5:41 PM, the exact moment of touchdown). This is unique for many reasons. Normally, powerful D-I programs like Frank Haith’s Tiger squad do not travel to play at a Divison II school’s campus. Additionally, ESPNU has picked up the game, the first time Missouri Southern has ever appeared on an ESPN network. All proceeds from the exhibition will go to the tornado relief funds.

Joplin Tornado Damage, Courtesy CSMonitor.com

What intrigues me, however, is the lack of focus on the actual game. Sure, it’s an exhibition, and sure, Missouri will probably earn an easy win, but that doesn’t stop the pundits from on-court predictions and projections. Even in an exhibition game, fans discuss which players will break out, who will look rusty, and any former AAU or high school teammates that make for intriguing match-ups. In an exhibition season opener where Missouri has more questions than answers, the focus during this basketball game will be on everything but basketball. And that’s exactly how it should be. When a national tragedy with massive local implications like the Joplin tornado occurs, it’s great to see a sporting event serve the purpose of a recreational distraction and a relief aid fundraiser rather than a serious competition. Both teams could shoot 12% next weekend and commit a combined 50 turnovers and this will still be a fantastic game because of what is underlying the game, not the game itself.

RTC will be courtside for this game next Sunday, and we hope you’ll join us for it.

Share this story