MARSHALL: Sun shines brightly on Kansas basketball

1/21/2014

Ok, now that we know Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos will have a chance to win a Super Bowl, we can go back and focus on a weekend that would make any state of Kansas basketball fan smile — as in big smile.

Ok, now that we know Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos will have a chance to win a Super Bowl, we can go back and focus on a weekend that would make any state of Kansas basketball fan smile — as in big smile.

Just in case you were off to the North Pole for an expedition and missed it, here's what happened on Saturday, and again if you were out shopping on Sunday and didn't catch it, what occurred on Sunday.

Early Saturday afternoon, Kansas State's men's basketball team routed West Virginia 78-56 and remained near the top of the Big 12 standings.

Later in the afternoon on Saturday, it was Kansas' Jayhawks turn to continue the sunshine day for college basketball fans. The Jayhawks played a great first half against top-10 ranked Oklahoma State, and then struggled, but survived to win 80-78, in a home game at Allen Fieldhouse, which was televised on CBS. Even Green Bay Packers' quarterback Aaron Rodgers put it on his to-do list to attend a game at the Phog, and I'm sure he wasn't disappointed.

Just about the time that KU was notching its big win at home, so too was Wichita State keeping its unbeaten record and winning streak alive.

The Shockers are now 19-0 following a 68-48 pummelling of a highly-regard Indiana State Sycamore team. New rankings were to be out later Monday and it would be expected the Shockers will be No. 4 and just one of three Division I unbeaten teams remaining. Doesn't hurt that Ron Baker, the Scott City whiz kid, is having a great sophomore season and continues to get rave reviews from television announcers.

But that's just the start of the great basketball weekend.

On Saturday night, in Manhattan, the Lady Wildcats of KSU knocked off No. 13-ranked Iowa State, 80-74.

It has been a bit of a struggle for coach Deb Patterson's Lady 'Cats this year, now with an 8-9 won-loss record. The good news is the Lady 'Cats have won their last two games and seemingly are gaining momentum.

And Wichita State's Lady Shockers won their 12th game in a row, an 80-47 rout of Northern Iowa, to improve their season record to 13-2. Their 12-game winning streak is the best in school history. Just a little more than 3,100 fans showed up to support the WSU women.

But things weren't finished for college basketball when Sunday afternoon rolled around.

Kansas' Lady Jayhawks had the final shining moment for the weekend, using a dominant second-half performance to knock off No. 7-ranked Baylor, 76-60. The KU women are now 9-9 for the season and 2-4 in the Big 12. It was a big, big victory for coach Bonnie Hendrickson's squad, and should boost the team's confidence as they head into the middle of the conference schedule.

Attendance for the two women's games saw more than 8,200 show up for the K-State women's upset of the Lady Cyclones, while there were 3,500-plus fans in Allen Fieldhouse for the big upset of the Lady Bears.

Of course, it comes as no surprise that more than 12,500 fans packed Bramlage Coliseum to watch the Wildcats bully West Virginia and former KSU coach Bob Huggins. Coach Bruce Weber's team is now 14-4 overall and 4-1 in the Big 12, erasing early doubts about how this year's team would compete. Weber has the Wildcats playing at a high level and they are positioning themselves as a serious contender for the Big 12 title. Kansas, meanwhile, is rounding into the form that many Jayhawk fans had hoped for. After a murderous schedule early, and now in the demanding Big 12 campaign, the Jayhawks find themselves 4-0 (before Monday's game at home against Baylor) and the lone unbeaten conference school. There were the 16,300 fans who continued the sellout record at Allen Fieldhouse.

We've always known basketball is big in the Sunflower State. But perhaps there have been few weekends where the sun has shone so brightly on every program. 6-0 is about as good as it gets. Let's hope things continue that way.

Sports Editor Brett Marshall can be emailed at bmarshall@gctelegram.com

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