View Mobile Site

The calendar says March so bring on the Madness

At the mike

POSTED March 7, 2018 5:24 p.m.

It’s a basketball junkies’ best month of the year. March is here. Tournaments here and tournaments there. Tournaments everywhere. From Central Plains going for two state titles to Barton’s run in the Region VI tournament. From St. John boys’ and girls’ headed to Hays to the Big 12 tournament and eventually the Big Dance.
It is a month of sneaker-squeaking, ball-bouncing, buzzer-beating, crowd-cheering fun. It is fun to watch as a neutral observer but it is even more fun when you are vested in a team. Fun, that is, until that team eventually loses.
And make no mistake, chances are your favorite team will lose that final game, unless you are Central Plains. The most difficult thing in sports is to win that last game of the post season. No matter what level, unless there is a third place game, only one team gets to win that last game in the playoffs.
So hopefully if you have a favorite team you have enjoyed the journey to this point and may that favorite team of yours win that last game.

Prep Thoughts
A few predictions for the state basketball tournaments. First, the hard ones. Central Plains boys and girls will win state in 2A. Yep, that’s a mighty small limb I’m on, but, hey, no guts no glory right. There will be some road blocks. Sacred Heart is in the same half of the bracket for the boys and they are the defending state champions. Olpe and Hill City are pretty solid teams on the girls’ side. But I predict two titles for the Oilers.
How about St. John, can the Tigers also bring home two state champions in 1A-DI? That might be a little tougher. The boys will have to go through unbeaten South Gray in the top half of the bracket while Osborne and Hanover are good on the bottom side. The girls’ will have tough trek as well with Thunder Ridge, Rural Vista and South Central all in the mix. I think the boys will make a serious run at the title and if they can get by South Gray in the semifinals, will be state champs. The girls’ I think will slip into the third place contest.
The Otis-Bison boys could also make a run at the state title in 1A-DII. But the field may be too difficult to navigate. The Cougars have had a tough schedule to work through this year but are playing pretty good right now. It wouldn’t shock me to see them playing for the title but I will predict a third place game for them.

Former Barton Athlete/Coach update
Okay, post season update on some former Barton coaches.
Steve Forbes just missed a second straight trip to the NCAA Tournament, as East Tennessee State lost in the finals of the Southern Conference tournament. It marked the third straight year – all three years he’s been the head coach at ETSU – the Buccaneers made it to the title game. UNC Greensboro ended their season.
Former Barton assistant coach Jack Owens will lead Miami (Ohio) in quarterfinal play tonight in the MAC Tourney. The RedHawks (16-16) are the No. 7 seed and will take on No. 2 seed Toledo in the quarterfinals. Owens is in his first year at Miami. The RedHawks were 11-21 last season.
On the women’s D-II side of things the MIAA semifinals proved to be an elimination game for the NCAA D-II tournament. Former Barton head coaches Tony Hobson and Lane Lord hooked up with Hobson’s Fort Hays team besting Lord’s Pittsburg State club.
Heading into that game, the Gorillas were ranked No. 5 in the all-important Central Region rankings and the Tigers 9th. But Fort Hays, the third seed in the tournament, won that game, making the Tigers 2-0 head-to-head over second seed Pitt State. Unfortunately for Pitt State, Lindenwood, the 9th seed in the tournament, won the automatic bid.
So when the brackets were released Sunday, Fort Hays got an at large as the 6th seed in the Central Region. The will play third seed Southwest Oklahoma Friday in the quarterfinals at 1 pm in Sioux Falls, ND. The last at-large in the region went to Moorhead State – a team that was slotted two spots below the Gorillas in the final regular season region rankings.
For what it’s worth, Moorhead State (23-5) had completed its season when those final regular season rankings came out that had them at No. 7 and Pitt State at No. 5. After that, Pitt State (23-7) lost in the semifinals of the MIAA to Fort Hays. Evidently in the selection committees eyes, that lost to Ft Hays was enough to move the Gorillas below Moorhead State.

And Finally
Not only is March a month of madness for basketball, it can also make one mad with the weather. Let’s be honest, the wind earlier in the week could easily drive one mad. You can’t do anything outside in wind like that. And, no, you couldn’t even have flown a kite in that wind. Just driving in it wears one out.
Depending on where your door was to get outside, opening it was even tough.
It was so windy that I bet if you let me start at the north goal line at Memorial Stadium and had Tyson Gay start at the south goal line and we raced to midfield it would have been close. Well, maybe not. I’m not sure a mere 40 mph wind would have been enough.
Only indoor activities were preferred. Like curling. I’ve checked, it seems the closest Curling Center is in Kansas City. On the Missouri side, but, oh well. I want to give it a try. My brother-in-law lives in Tonganoxie. Maybe he can check into for me.
Anyway, back to the weather. It seems no other month brings weather quite like March. My wife, she doesn’t like bad weather. Crystal hates it when a tornado is even remotely close.
And me, I don’t like the sound the weather radio makes when it goes off. That high-pitch squeal it makes. Drives me crazy - not that crazy is a far trip for me. It’s so close, in fact, I visit it quite often.
They say March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. Perhaps that is true. But in between I think the weather can be just about every animal known to Marlin Perkins. I always like the fact Marlin Perkins explained how dangerous the animals were while Jim was doing the dangerous stuff. It usually went something like this ‘While I play with the baby cougar cub, Jim will be holding off the mother cougar with a chair and a whip while in a rattlesnake pit. Isn’t the cub just precious.’
So be like Marlin Perkins and only go outside when the tame weather is a lamb. Send Jim, or your wife or husband or child or whomever, out to to tend the lions.

Mike Marzolf is a guest columnist for the Great Bend Tribune and his views don’t necessarily reflect those of the paper. He can be reached at


  • Bookmark and Share

Commenting not available.
Commenting is not available.


Please wait ...