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
I'm not ready for Big 12 Conference basketball play, are you? The league's conference slate comes a week earlier this year now that the Big 12 will play full round robin, home and away, 18 game schedule this year. No more down time from here on out for Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri. I guess I don't have to be ready … they do.
Missouri – looks the most league ready, despite some knocks for it's non-conference schedule. Those who have slammed the slate I guess haven't noticed that they have two wins vs the Top 25, the most in the league. And if you watched the Tigers even against lesser opponents, how could you not be impressed? Phil Pressey leads the league in assists and steals and is the consumate point guard going right now. They have a bunch of legit scorers highlighted by Marcus Denmon and they have clearly adjusted to new coach Frank Haith.
Kansas – has played the toughest non-conference schedule in the Big 12. They are tested, show some chinks in the armor, and have not been given the luxury of enough cupcakes to get enough out of their bench. But guess what? The Big 12 title still runs through Lawrence. The target in fact may be bigger this year as other teams may view the Jayhawks as vulnerable. Bill Self has hit the nail on the head for this team and it's energy. If they have it they can be very good, if not they can look very plain.
Kansas State – really good non-conference build up for the Cats. They had a steady progression of confidence building games and seem to be much better than advertised. They have depth, toughness, & good role players. What I mean by role players in this case isn't “lack of talent” but rather players who are doing what they need to do. Rodney McGruder picking up his scoring is huge, Jamar Samuels hopefully closer to night in, night out consistency, Angel Rodriguez being able to compliment and enhance Will Spradling and good early production from freshman Thomas Gipson. There's a lot to like in the Cats. Can we all acknowledge now that Frank Martin can really coach?