Slate: WBB, MBB win games to end the year

Something something college football playoffs something something.

Basketball

Kansas State basketball closed out 2018 and non-conference schedule in winning fashion. First, the women’s team beat Northern Iowa 72-62 and needed a strong second half to do it. Early in the third quarter, UNI went on a 6-0 run to pull ahead 35-32, but the Wildcats fought back, going on a 16-5 run to put the game out of reach.

Three Wildcats finished the game in double figures. Peyton Williams had 22 points and 13 rebounds, her sixth double-double of the season. Kayla Goth, just 18 career points shy of 1000, had 12 points and seven assists, while freshman Christiana Carr had 11 points, including three from beyond the arc.

Kansas State will begin Big 12 play on January 2 at Iowa State.

The men’s team eked out a much-too-close-for-comfort 59-58 win over George Mason last night. The win helped Kansas State extend its non-conference home winning streak to 29.

The game began well enough. As Luke Sobba notes in his post-game recap, Kansas State looked ready for Big 12 play through much of the first half. Playing the same sort of stifling defense as they showed against Vanderbilt, the Wildcats stuffed Otis Livingston II. The Patriots’ star guard was averaging 18 points a game, but was held scoreless in the first half.

But what should have been a romp quickly turned into a nightmare in the second half. George Mason went on a 20-5 tear, narrowing Kansas State’s lead to just six points. Sloppy play and a Wildcat turnover led to a score of 56-53, but disaster was averted when the clock ran out.

Barry Brown’s defensive efforts owned the first half. He ended the game with 12 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists. It was Kamau Stokes’ effort that ultimately saved the game for the Wildcats though, and if that wasn’t a big enough deal, he also reached the 1000-point milestone in this game. He joins Brown and the injured Dean Wade as the first batch of senior starters at Kansas State to achieve that milestone.

Next up, the Wildcats host Texas for the season’s first Big 12 matchup.

Football

The College Football Playoff semi-final game were played yesterday, and Alabama and Clemson beat thoroughly overmatched Oklahoma and Notre Dame respectively to qualify for college football’s showcase game.

That’s the party line on the CFP. But—my personal distaste for the CFP notwithstanding—it’s hard to say if yesterday’s playoff games count as competition (though Oklahoma’s late rally was at least a yeoman effort). The games barely even count as entertainment. With these two key elements missing, what is even the point?

Don’t take my word for it. Others find the CFP wanting, and not just in a way that could be remedied by expansion or transparency.

— Dan Wolken (USA Today) notes that Alabama, and Clemson won, but the playoffs are losing.

— At the mothership, Jason Kirk notes the irony of college football hankering for a more egalitarian system only to end up with one that gives us Alabama and Clemson over and over again.

— Taking a more measured view, Bill Connelly suggests that college football has always been a bit one-sided, and this particular decade is no exception.

Meanwhile, college football’s silly season—coaching departures and arrivals—became even sillier overnight. As Kansas State fans, we should be happy we’re not riding the coaching carousel right now.

— Mark Richt, most recently the head coach at Miami, announced his retirement. With the departures of Bill Snyder, Urban Meyer, and now Richt, the sport has lost three of its winningest active coaches in the space of just three weeks. Dino Babers and Neal Brown are among the top candidates to fill Richt’s role.

Houston has fired Major Applewhite. Although this isn’t a total surprise, it may be the first domino in a chain reaction of coaching changes, especially if Dana Holgorsen decamps West Virginia to take the Houston job. (Also, Houston may be setting new lows for incompetence, so Big 12 fans, breathe easy).

Lincoln Riley wants to stay put, but that hasn’t stopped the rumor machine linking him to the NFL. If the Oklahoma job does open up, Seth Littrell could be the top candidate, which casts Kansas State’s recent decisions in a different light.

— Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald has emerged as a target for the Green Bay Packers. It’s not clear who the Wildcats would go after if Fitzgerald were to leave, but Evanston has to be among the least attractive destination for all the hot coaching names out there right now.

Miscellany

And finally, because the other kind of football is even more bizarre than the American kind, here’s how the beautiful game turned ugly.

Source: Bring on the Cats