The Norman Transcript

Sports

March 18, 2014

Hotbed of hoops: Basketball on the rise in the heartland

(Continued)

LAWRENCE, Kan. —

The result? Turn on the tournament this week and you’ll see Oklahoma against North Dakota State in a second-round game. Wichita State and Kansas State could meet in the third round, as could Nebraska and Creighton, a tantalizing matchup that just might generate as much interest in the state as Cornhusker football does on an autumn Saturday.

“If we’re going to go and play and Nebraska is going to the NCAA tournament, why not go to the same place,” asked Bluejays coach Greg McDermott. “I think it’s going to be a great deal of fun.”

McDermott’s son, Doug, is the odds-on favorite for national player of the year. Those teams from the heartland? They’re not short on talent, even if they often have to get creative — and go to great lengths — to land some of it.

Kansas star Andrew Wiggins is a freshman of the year candidate and potential No. 1 draft pick. So is the Jayhawks’ Joel Embiid, who will miss the first part of the tournament with a back injury.

Oklahoma State features a dynamic guard in Marcus Smart. Iowa State has Canadian forward Melvin Ejim, the Big 12 player of the year. Iowa’s Roy Devyn Marble and Oklahoma’s Cameron Clark are game-changers. Kansas State has a talented freshman in its own right, Marcus Foster.

It’s enough to make more traditional basketball states such as Indiana and Illinois — both of which were shut out of the NCAA tournament — feel just a wee bit jealous.

“There’s great basketball in this area,” Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford said. “You look at the Big 12 and what we’ve done this year being the No. 1 basketball conference in America, by far, I think it says a lot about the basketball in the Midwest right now.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • 498415327SB20543_Sky_Shock Paris didn’t give up when instant success eluded her

    TULSA — It looked like it came easily to Courtney Paris. The minute she stepped foot on the campus at the University of Oklahoma in 2005, it seemed she was already an All-American and destroying the competition in the Big 12 and across the ...

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sooners will have to do the right thing eventually

    Don’t read anything into the non-suspension suspension Oklahoma leveled at true freshman running back Joe Mixon Wednesday....

    July 31, 2014

  • In this case, Sooner fans can rest easy

    OKLAHOMA CITY — The Sooner Caravan ended its summer run at the Jim Thorpe Museum and Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame Wednesday night. OU coach Bob Stoops did not take questions, but one of the major topics was the $370 million renovation to ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Three Tigers competing for quarterback

    While some teams have had questions surrounding the quarterback position in recent years, Norman High has seen relative stability. Thanks to a three-year run by Zach Long followed up by Jakcob Dean’s ascendance last season, the Tigers ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Indians trade Justin Masterson to Cardinals

    CLEVELAND — The Indians had little choice but to give up Justin Masterson. The trade doesn’t mean they’re going to surrender the season....

    July 31, 2014

  • Cowboys sign tackle Smith to 8-year extension

    OXNARD, Calif. — Tyron Smith has a new contract that will probably make him the most important blocker for the next Dallas quarterback after Tony Romo....

    July 31, 2014

  • Quarterback questions abound with big stars gone from SEC offenses

    MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Quarterback battles and signal-caller questions abound in the Southeastern Conference going into preseason camps around the league. Big names, not so much....

    July 31, 2014

  • Jones says Brent out of rehab, NFL question next

    OXNARD, Calif. — Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says former defensive tackle Josh Brent is out of rehabilitation and could have his future with the NFL resolved before the team leaves training camp in California in two weeks....

    July 31, 2014

  • Ives to crew chief for Dale Jr. in 2015

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — There was no shortage of candidates to replace Steve Letarte as Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s crew chief The list of applicants was long, but Hendrick Motorsports has always liked to groom its own talent. So the organization ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Gustafson wants Gordon’s team focused on Chase

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Jeff Gordon viewed his Brickyard 400 win as a turning point for his race team. Confidence had been building with every strong run, but his victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway pushed his crew to another level. It was ...

    July 31, 2014

Facebook