Archive for Thursday, March 9, 2006

The Fly Route

March 9, 2006

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self filed an official complaint with the Big 12, citing his team did not receive the same recognition Texas did upon officially wrapping up a piece of the Big 12 title.

I agree. He should be angry. While I doubt he really cares whether his kiddos got to raise a trophy or not -- I suspect the whole crying about respect thing is more of a gimmick to inspire his players than a real sign of emotional instability -- he is right. KU should have been recognized as a Big 12 champion at the end of its final regular season win Saturday in Manhattan.

He's right under the current rules of the Big 12, anyway. Those rules are insane, however, and should be changed. It's ridiculous that any sports league recognizes co-champions and the Big 12 needs to stop.

KU's problem is Texas. The Longhorns annihilated the Jayhawks, 80-55, when the two teams met in Texas. Both teams went on to log 13-3 records in the conference, but that head-to-head matchup, while aggravatingly indecisive in the conference championship hunt, will give Texas the No. 1 seed in this weekend's Big 12 tournament.

If KU wanted to be crowned conference champion, perhaps it should have shown up against Texas. Or heck, it could still have lost to Texas and not dropped back-to-back games to Kansas State and Missouri.

Either way, you can't split a title with a team that beat you by 25. What kind of sense does that make?

While this year's conference bugaboo fueled this column, my beef doesn't just lie with the 2005-2006 Jayhawks. Last year's KU squad didn't deserve a share of the Big 12 title either. Those Hawks squawked against co-champ Oklahoma, 71-63.

Kansas State's women's team won a conference title in 2003 despite finishing tied with a team it lost to. The Wildcats' football team claims a number of co-Big 12 North championships, adding in years when the team finished tied for the top spot despite losing the tiebreaker, thus not making an appearance in the Big 12 championship game.

The Cats don't deserve any of those titles.

The reasoning behind recognizing these teams as "co-champions" is the schedule is inherently unfair when one team has home-court advantage.

That's just tough cookies though. Yeah, home court is a big deal. Texas is a monumentally better team on its home court, winning by 21 more points than it does on the road and scoring 17 more points per game.

All of the Longhorns' losses were on the road, and two came against teams KU thumped.

This year, holding home court advantage was a big deal for Texas and there's no way to even that out this season. But it evens out over time . While it may have worked in Texas' favor this season, it didn't last, and it won't next.

Playing on the road is a part of sports. It's tough to do. But sometimes you have to do it to become a champion.

I don't care that KU beat the teams Texas lost to. The two teams ended up tied, so why should Texas A&M or Oklahoma State have any influence in breaking that tie?

KU had a great season. The young players showed their stuff and came a long, long way.

In fact, they almost came far enough to truly be able to claim themselves the champions of the Big 12.

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