Category: Sideline Slants

When snubbed, claim your own national championship

Not many teams can win national championships. That’s why they’re so special. They’re very hard to come by. Even KU basketball in the Bill Self era, for all of its amazing and ongoing success, has found that winning it all is hard to do, even with some built-in advantages, such as getting to play games in the Sprint Center whenever […]

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Coaches Ratzlaff, Knoll: success path is possible

Nineteen years is a long time to be a varsity coach at the collegiate level, or any level, for that matter. Amy Ratzlaff concluded that 19 was enough as the head volleyball coach at Tabor College. Her record at Tabor was 368-227 overall and a remarkable 266-84 in the KCAC, including eight regular-season conference championships, four post-season conference championships, three […]

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What we learned from this year’s Big Dance

Regardless of how your favorite team did in this year’s NCAA Basketball Tournament, here are some things we learned or relearned: 1. Being seeded high is no guarantee of success. 2.,n fact, being a No. 1 seed is no longer guaranteed a win over a No. 16 seed, thanks to UMBC’s victory over Virginia. 3. UMBC showed that even a […]

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Signs of the season: Hoops madness continues

The wannabes are dropping like flies. It’s one thing to make the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Winning it is another matter entirely. Cinderella is a good and fun story, but more often than not, Cinderella works better as a fairy tale than on the hardwood. Watching the major conferences duke it out in conference tournaments is fun, but what does […]

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A coach critical of officiating? What else is new?

Sorry, coach. We’ve all heard your tired story before, and frankly, it’s getting old. Hearing you criticize officiating after a loss is as sure as death and taxes, and it’s a whole lot easier than blaming yourself or your players. But what if the calls are so lopsided that you might actually be right? Sorry, as a former official, I […]

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Super Bowl, Winter Olympics, boxing keep things interesting

“I give up,” said analyst and former pro football wide receiver Cris Collinsworth, after a ruling on the field upheld a critical catch by the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl game against the New England Patriots. Collinsworth and broadcaster Al Michaels, along with millions of fans, watched a replay of a touchdown catch that they expected to be overturned. […]

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Behind the arc: Live by the three, die by the three?

The three-point line changed the face of basketball since the 1980s, although it had been tested to varying degrees before that time. These days, the 3-pointer is second-nature to basketball players and fans. It’s a safe bet that nobody under the age of 30 has any recollection of watching college or pro basketball without a 3-point line. When I played […]

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We are against violence in sports, unless …

When my agent I.M. Slick stopped by for a rare visit, he brought up a subject that was unusually profound, at least by his standards. Slick: So where do you fall on the spectrum of violence in sports? Joe: I’m generally opposed to it. Slick: Really? I find that most people enjoy the violent collisions in football and crashes in […]

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So, this is what happens when best-laid plans go awry

By now, most of us have broken our New Year’s resolutions, assuming we were silly enough to make them. But never fear. Those of us who call ourselves sports fans know what it seems like for best-laid plans to go haywire. Take Louisiana Tech football, for example. Early in the fourth quarter while trailing Mississippi State 57-14 last fall, Tech […]

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Tabor football: End of an era?

Isn’t winning fun? The football program at Tabor College has been living the dream. The Bluejays finished in a tie with Sterling for the KCAC championship with an 8-1 record. It’s the third consecutive year the Bluejays either tied or won the title outright. The amazing thing is how few games were close. Tabor’s margin of victory in the games […]

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