WICHITA, Kan. -

Bruce Springsteen was at Duke-UCLA game last night; I can guarantee you that he’s played a heck of a lot better at Madison Square Garden than either the Devils or Bruins.

Rants---

When an Athletic Director feels compelled to come to the defense of one of his coaches, chances are that coach has gone too far. So it was after Barry Hinson’s post-game melt down after his Southern Illinois loss at Murray State. While Hinson rolled off a bunch of strong one liners calling his team a bunch of “momma’s boys “and adding that, for years, he’s told his wife “size doesn’t matter”—but it was his boss, Mario Maccio, who might have stolen the show when he lauded Hinson’s passion, admitting that he was prone to those “Yosemite Sam bombastic outbursts”.

I didn’t have a huge problem with Hinson’s remarks; he’s an incredibly glib guy and it’s not the first time I’ve heard him go off after a game. He said he felt badly about calling out a player by name, but the only thing I found curious was him calling his team “uncoachable”. Whose fault is that?

Can’t be in cruise mode---

Quickly, there are 13 schools in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference---can you name one? The best of the lot is the team that’ll be at Wichita State on Sunday. North Carolina Central is 7-2, one of those wins was by 10 over North Carolina State and they have a top 100 RPI. Before the season this had the look of a buyout game, all of a sudden it’s not a bad one for WSU to be playing. The Shockers have had a tendency to start slowly at Koch Arena and after games with Tennessee and Alabama it’s easy to think you have a chance to exhale—but, chances are, the Shocks will have to play well for an extended period against the Eagles.

Meanwhile---

They’re done with finals in Lawrence and this is traditionally the time that Bill Self’s teams really improve, as they’re almost constantly in the gym. I’m most interested in seeing how the point guard situation plays out—Nadir Tharpe is getting the minutes over Frank Mason now, but he’s yet to prove that he can play without turning it over. I’m starting to wonder how, or if, Conner Frankamp fits into the puzzle at KU. Remember, Perry Ellis had all sorts of growing pains in his freshman season, but he was allowed to play through them, that doesn’t appear to be the case with Frankamp, who, literally, has to become stronger. What’s most disappointing is that we all know that Conner can shoot, but right now his shot doesn’t even look good. It’ll all work out, Frankamp is too talented and too hard of worker, more than anything his situation underscores how tough the jump from high school to high division one really is.

Cats n' Zags

Gonzaga comes to Wichita on Saturday to face K-State in the return game from a matchup last year in Seattle. The win over Ole Miss was a good one for the ‘Cats, but they’re still looking for that attention grabber in the non-conference and this is their chance. I don’t think it’s unfair to say that K-State is trailing the state’s arms race; a win against the Zags would certainly get them a seat at the table. It’s interesting that Kansas State was picked fifth in the Big 12, but right now, based on the non-conference, it would be hard to see them any higher than seventh. KU, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Iowa State, Texas and Oklahoma all have really good records and at least one really good win on their resumes—the kind that KSU could get this weekend against Gonzaga.