Josh Klingler is the co-host and update anchor of "Fescoe in the Morning," heard weekdays 6a-9a on 610 Sports Radio. Perhaps the busiest sports personality in Kansas City, "Kling" also hosts pregame and postgame for KU Football and Men's Basketball broadcasts on the Jayhawk Radio Network and does morning sports updates on News Radio 980 KMBZ. He brings you his insight each Thursday on 610sports.com
As if they weren't circled already, circle February 4th and February 25th on your hoops calendar right now. KU-Mizzou1 and KU-Mizzou2 in Big 12 ball.
We are just at the 1/3rd marker of the Big 12 season but it already looks like the collision course is there for the Border War matchups to have even more on the line than just bragging rights and farewells.
The top has separated early in the league race with Kansas getting the opening salvo vs Baylor and Missouri with a crack at them this weekend, it already looks like a three horse race for first. I'm not ready to annoint a champ just yet, but I clearly know who the three best teams are and I'm hoping it comes down to head to head for KU & Mizzou.
Missouri still has to prove that it can be a consistent road team. They've already matched last year's conference road win total (prior to Saturday) with 1, but they'll need to be around .500 in order to win the league. The Tigers do have a solid road win at Iowa State. The Cyclones appear to be in a small group of teams vying for #4 when it's done.
Kansas has proven in past years that it's usually up to the challenge of winning on the road. But this year's stretch in early February includes at Mizzou (Feb 4), at Baylor (Feb 8), and at K-State (Feb 13) in a four game span. This will be the telling run for the Jayhawks.
Is the jury still out on Baylor? I'm not sure how a #3 team in the country can have so many doubters in Big 12 land. Getting 18-pointed at KU shouldn't be an indictment, but clearly the consensus is that the Bears are entering 'first time' territory in being a contender .. they have to do it before we'll believe it.
I still like K-State and they could still factor in to this thing, but I really see them in a battle for 4th. They shouldn't be counted fully out because they have played the big 3 of KU, MU and Baylor, and went 1-2 and Rodney McGruder is starting to put a pretty solid string of games together. I'm reserving judgement for a couple more weeks in which they have a very winnable run of games. (at OSU, at TT, v OU, at ISU, v A&M, v TT)
It's been a fun early run, and it's darn near over. Surprisingly I have just 6 more games to cover this season at Allen Fieldhouse. I've definitely circled February 25th.