* I watch Olympic hockey not because I know the players. I watch for the patriotism. I’m for the guys in the red, white and blue even though I’m nowhere close to an expert on the National Hockey League and still have difficulty understanding the rules of the game.
* So it wasn’t easy to watch Friday as the U.S. simply never got anything going in a 1-0 loss to Canada in the Olympic semifinals. I was angst-ridden as I watched, frustrated that our guys could not score. And I’m not sure they would have scored if they had played a couple of more periods.
* Canada has allowed only three goals in five Olympic games. Good luck, Sweden. You’re going to need it in the gold-medal game.
* Frustrating. I love it when the U.S., where hockey is maybe the fifth or sixth most popular sport, beats Canada, where hockey reigns supreme and there isn’t a close second. But it didn’t happen this time. I suppose I’ll get over it.
* I’m still reading where Gravity, the paper-thin movie starring Sandra Bullock, could win the Oscar for best picture. I have a hard time this will happen. The movie, for me, carried no weight. Get it? Gravity and weight? Anyway, it was easy to enjoy the visuals of the movie. Well done. But the Oscar? For best picture? This cannot happen. It won’t happen, right?
* I watch as much television as the next guy. Maybe more. But there are still a bunch of shows I just can’t get to. I wrote down a partial list and I’m sure I didn’t get to them all. These are shows I wished I had seen or could catch up on, but just don’t have the time. Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, Shameless, Sons of Anarchy, The Blacklist, Persons of Interest, The Big Bang Theory, The Americans, Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, Community, Scandal, Bates Motel, Broadchurch, Episodes, Blue Bloods.
* That’s a lot of television shows. And there are some new ones coming up that I’d like to watch, like Fargo, Silicon Valley, Cosmos, Those Who Kill, Turn and Resurrection.
* Boston College was 6-19 when the Eagles won at Syracuse on Wednesday night, handing the Orange their first loss of the season. Is Drake capable of a like upset Saturday night when the Bulldogs meet Wichita State at Koch Arena? No. It won’t happen. The Shockers, unlike Syracuse, haven’t been surviving a bunch of close calls. WSU is pounding almost all of its Missouri Valley Conference foes, including Drake on the road in Des Moines last month. I prefer a little intrigue with my basketball, but there isn’t much with this one.
* As outstanding as the Shockers have been, they’re not a perfect team. What is going to make this year’s NCAA Tournament so exciting is that there are no great teams in college basketball. Wait? you ask. Doesn’t 28-0 automatically make a team great? I see your point and it could be that Wichita State is a great team. But it’s yet to be proven. If the Shockers can sweep through six games in the NCAA Tournament and win a national championship with a 40-0 record, that’s a great team. No ifs, ands or buts.
* Shocker concerns? There aren’t many, but the lack of perimeter depth is one. Nick Wiggins and Evan Wessel have been uneven for most of the season, although Wessel is showing some signs of life recently. Wiggins has been more consistent than Wessel, but still struggles with his shot at times. As his defense and attention to detail have gotten better, Wiggins’ shot has sometimes escaped him.
* If I got a vote for Missouri Valley Conference player of the year – and I don’t have one – I’d pick Wichita State point guard Fred VanVleet by a hair over Shocker teammate Cleanthony Early. I like VanVleet’s total game more. He’s a pure basketball player, through and through, with no weakness. He makes up for a lack of size with a huge heart.
* VanVleet and Early are locks for the All-Valley first team. But what about Ron Baker and Tekele Cotton? Listen, I think you could put all four on the first time and strongly defend the decision. But there are voters who cover every conference school and four Shockers on the first team just isn’t going to happen. I expect Evansville’s D.J. Balentine, Indiana State’s Jake Odum and Northern Iowa’s Seth Tuttle to round out the first team with VanVleet and Baker.
* I’m excited, I think, that Styx, Foreigner and the one and only Don Felder are coming to the Intrust Bank Arena on Feb. 14. I’ve never seen Foreigner, whose lead singer is Kelly Hansen. Not Lou Gramm, who was the lead singer when all of the band’s popular songs were released. Styx, of course, is best known for lead singer Dennis DeYoung, who had three stings with the band but hasn’t been around since 1999. The lead singer for Styx now is James Young, and sometimes Tommy Shaw. And Felder, of course, parted ways acrimoniously with the Eagles years ago. In a way, I’ve always felt bad for the guy. But, as the documentary History of The Eagles, spells out, Felder brought a lot of it on himself by being greedy. He would dispute that, of course, but I’ll take the word of Don Henley and Glenn Frey.
* So will I go to that concert? I would like to. Chances are, I will. But will I be happy? Chances are, I won’t. Thirteen of the 17 songs on Felder’s setlist at one of his recent concerts were Eagles tunes. And he’s not a very good singer. He won’t play that many songs as the warmup act for Styx and Foreigner, but I’m not sure I can take Felder singing Witchy Woman or Those Shoes.
* Kansas has a couple of interesting home games against Texas (Saturday) and Oklahoma (Monday) coming up. I still don’t know completely what to make of the Jayhawks. Their play confuses me at times. And if it confuses me, I can just imagine what it’s doing to Bill Self. I have never been confident in the Jayhawks’ chemistry. There is a leadership void. Try as he might, junior guard Naadir Tharpe is still too busy trying to find his own game to focus all of his energy on complementing the games of his teammates.
* I love waking up in the morning and reading about the St. Louis Cardinals at spring training. When I retire, one of the first things I’m going to do with my wife is make the trip to Jupiter, Fla., for spring training. I’d like to go to spring training in Arizona, too. I’ve been to a few spring trainings in my life and it’s one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had.