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King of the Road: Coaches of the Year

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Five players make the All-American squad each year – and 10 more are selected to the second and third team.

A handful of standouts earn honorable mention accolades while plenty of others are named all-conference or all-district.

Some leagues have the All-Defensive and All-Underrated teams while others vote for All-Reserve, All-Freshmen or All-Improved. Sheesh!

I realize it's all about the kids. But I've always thought the guys stalking the sidelines should get some additional recognition, too. Especially this season, when a game of "Eeenie-Meenie-Miney-Moe" could be used to pick college basketball's National Coach of the Year.

Seriously, there are that many strong candidates. Here are my Top 15:

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FIRST TEAM

Rick Barnes, Texas – Last weekend's inexplicable loss to a brutal Texas Tech team almost caused me to strip Barnes of the honor, but he still has my respect because of how the Longhorns performed in an ultra-tough league – after losing Kevin Durant. No team in the country will enter the NCAA tournament with a more impressive resume than Texas, which owns victories over potential No. 1 seeds Tennessee, UCLA and Kansas. The victory over the Jayhawks was particularly impressive. This is the best team Kansas has had since 2002-03, yet Bill Self's squad will probably end up sharing the Big 12 title with the Longhorns.

Keno Davis, Drake – About the only problem with Davis' inaugural season with the Bulldogs is that it will be tough for him to improve in year No. 2. Davis - who replaced his father, Tom – led Drake to its first Missouri Valley Conference title in 37 years. Oh, did I mention the Bulldogs were picked to finish ninth in their league?

Tubby Smith, Minnesota – The Golden Gophers have gone from 9-22 to 18-10 under the former Kentucky coach, who seems re-energized since escaping Lexington's spotlight. Maybe we shouldn't be surprised. Remember, the guy has a national title ring, and it's not like he bought it at a pawn shop.

Billy Gillispie, Kentucky – More than any coach in the country, I've enjoyed watching Gillispie's progress. Two months ago Wildcats fans were calling for Gillispie to be ousted after Kentucky's 7-9 start. But a victory over Tennessee kick-started a stretch in which Gillispie's squad won nine of its next 10 games. The Wildcats were 10-3 in the SEC before their season basically ended when standout Patrick Patterson went out with a stress fracture. Not bad for a coach who inherited a team with just two good players.

Scott Drew, Baylor – You can't say enough good things about the way Drew has revitalized the program in the wake of the Patrick Dennehy fiasco in 2003. The Bears have won 20 games for just the fourth time in 102 years and will likely make their first NCAA tournament appearance since 1988. Still, as impressive as he's been, I'm not all that surprised Drew is having success this season. Baylor's top three players – Curtis Jerrells, Henry Dugat and Kevin Rogers are all battle-tested juniors who exhibited loads of promise in their first two seasons. In other words, Baylor should be winning.

SECOND TEAM

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Calipari

John Calipari, Memphis – Hard to say many bad things about a guy who loses one game all season. I know, I know. Conference USA stinks. But Memphis also owns wins against Connecticut, Arizona, Oklahoma, Cincinnati, USC and Gonzaga. So don't say the Tigers haven't played anybody.

Rick Stansbury, Mississippi State – Can't get much sweeter than clinching the SEC West title by winning on the road against defending national champion Florida. The Bulldogs have won six of their last seven.

Trent Johnson, Stanford – Currently ranked No. 7, the Cardinal has regained the level of respect it had under Mike Montgomery.

Frank Haith, Miami – Hurricanes are 20-8 and 7-7 during a season in which they were picked to finish last in the ACC. They've also won five of their last six games, including a victory over Duke.

Mike Krzyzewski, Duke – With almost no post presence, this Duke team would be mediocre if not for the guidance of one of college basketball's all-time greats.

THIRD TEAM

Tim Jankovich, Illinois State – Redbirds could be NCAA tournament-bound in Jankovich's first season.

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O'Neill

Kevin O'Neill, Arizona – Inherited a difficult situation when Lute Olson took a leave of absence in November. Wildcats are on the NCAA tournament bubble despite playing the country's toughest schedule.

Steve Alford, New Mexico – Biggest accomplishment in his first season was getting the most out of talented but troubled senior J.R. Giddens.

Brad Stevens, Butler – One of the country's youngest coaches certainly doesn't show his age.

Sean Miller, Xavier – Could soon be on his way to bigger and better things.

FIVE DUDS

Ernie Kent, Oregon – Despite returning four starters, Ducks may miss the NCAA tournament.

John Brady, LSU – Two years ago Brady was coaching his team in the Final Four. Now he's out of a job. How quickly the mighty have fallen.

Paul Hewitt, Georgia Tech – The Yellow Jackets are 12-16. Could Hewitt be in trouble?

Mark Turgeon, Texas A&M – Seemed overwhelmed during his first season as Gillispie's replacement.

Bruce Weber, Illinois – You've heard it before: Excellent coach, terrible recruiter. You've got to have players to win.

(Photos by: Duane Burleson, Charlie Neibergall, Phil Coale, James Crisp, Duane A. Laverty / AP Photos)
Sizzlin

Juicy – That would be the name of the 6-year-old brother of Kansas forward Darrell Arthur. And get this: The lil guy is already sporting a pair of gold front teeth.

Avril Lavigne - Laugh all you want, but I've always been a fan. And you will be, too, once you see her latest Maxim spread.

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Eaton

Byron Eaton – Oklahoma State's point guard is one of the country's hottest players- but will he be good enough to beat Texas in Austin Saturday?

Cheddar Jalapeno Cheetos – And I thought the Flamin' Hots could never be beat!

Pat Knight – The Texas Tech coach offered up a gem after Monday's 109-51 loss at Kansas: "I feel like someone put a meat necklace around my neck and threw me into a lions' den."

Nick Calathes – Overshadowed by Florida's struggles is the fact that the standout freshman is averaging six assists.

Chevy Chase impersonations – Busted out with another good one earlier this week, when the boss said he had "a proposition for me." My response: "Does this proposition entail my dressing up as Little Bo Peep?" Boom!

My new cell phone – Don't need Mapquest anymore thanks to the "Navigator" function on my Verizon LG. Definitely worth the extra 10 bucks a month.

Love-Lopez – Can't wait for Thursday's showdown between UCLA's Kevin Love and Stanford's Brook Lopez in a game that could decide the Pac-10 title.

Wrestling Observer – Just re-subscribed to Dave Meltzer's weekly newsletter, which also includes excellent coverage and analysis of MMA. Seriously, folks, if you're a fan, do yourself a favor and check it out.

My former co-worker – Missouri beat writer Mike DeArmond had a hilarious video blog – at least I thought it was - on The Kansas City Star's website last week. Check it out, and make sure you don't give up before the 1:01 mark.

Goin Stale

Semi-Pro – I'm a big Will Ferrell guy, but his new movie isn't even semi-funny.

Theater etiquette – Speaking of movies, how rude is it when someone walks into a half-empty complex and plops into the seat right in front of you? I can understand when the joint is full but, damn, when other seats are available, don't mess with a man's footrest.

Mock NBA Drafts – Paying attention to these things at this point in the year makes about as much sense as eating a chili dog before a three-hour plane flight. Still, for some reason, I'm addicted.

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Patterson

Patrick Patterson – I feel terrible for Kentucky's standout forward, whose season came to a premature end last week because of a stress fracture. He was easily among the five best freshmen I saw all season.

Thick & Chunky Salsa – The only thing that makes me cringe worse is spoiled, rank ketchup or an overabundance of tomato sauce on pizza.

Indiana – Just when you start to feel good about Dan Dakich, the Hoosiers get annihilated 104-73 by Michigan State. Indiana is a good team, but not a great one. Their NCAA tournament run will not extend past the Sweet 16.

Scales – Keep me away from them for the next month, please. Chips, dip, hospitality rooms and late night meals. Something about the NCAA tournament brings out the worst in me, and I don't think I'm alone.

Talking on the cell phone while exercising – Aside from being incredibly annoying to the person on the adjacent treadmill, doesn't it kinda defeat the purpose?

Spicy dish

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Willa Ford.
(Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

She was once known as "The Bad Girl of Pop," she's appeared in pages of Playboy and will soon be portraying Anna Nicole Smith in a made-for-television movie.

There aren't many entertainers as attractive as Willa Ford – and there certainly aren't many as versatile.

On Tuesday Ford and I discussed her Top 10 hit "I Wanna Be Bad" and also talked about her recent marriage to Dallas Stars center Mike Modano. Ford also offered up some opinions on Britney Spears, tennis, "Dancing With the Stars," posing nude, Chuck Liddell and, of course, her future plans in the entertainment industry.

Read on for what may be the most interesting Spicy Dish interview to date:

KOTR: What's it like being married to such a high-profile athlete? Is it different than dating a well-known musician or actor?
FORD:
There are a lot of similarities. The difference is seeing the pressure that comes from being an athlete and the things that people expect from them day-in and day-out with their jobs. Hockey players play, like, every other day. If you have a bad game, that's a bad day overall. It puts a haze over their head. It's interesting to see how he copes and deals with it. He does a good job, a lot better than us ordinary folks could ever imagine. I can't imagine being under that kind of stress all of the time.

KOTR: As a wife, how do you handle it?
FORD:
It's a wife's job to ignore all the negative stuff that may have happened that day and talk about the other things in life, the positive things. When it comes to hockey, I try to talk in a positive manner and point out all the things he did right that night, because if there's anything negative he's already heard it from his coaches and the press. You really want to stay upbeat and positive. It's hard sometimes. You hear people talk and whatnot. It takes a toll on you, too. You love your husband so much. You hear people talk about him and you just want to smack 'em.

KOTR: You're not exactly a stranger to the spotlight, either. Can that benefit the relationship?
FORD:
It's definitely beneficial in one way, because I understand the press and those kinds of situations. You have to take it with a grain of salt. Tomorrow, if the tide changes, they're going to change their opinion of you. That's just how it is. Dealing with fans in general is another issue. In the sports world fans are so gracious. They're great. Mike's fans are pretty phenomenal. They stand by him during the good times and the bad.

The only aspect that's difficult is that fine line you have to walk. In my career I was able to express myself very openly and I prided myself in not holding back what I felt. I said what I wanted to say in a non-diplomatic fashion. In the sports world, everything is so diplomatic and so P.C. Everything has to be said the right way. I've had to learn to bite my tongue on some things. It doesn't help my husband to lash out at people (laughing).

KOTR: Were you a sports fan before you met Mike?
FORD:
I was always around sports. In the entertainment industry you rub elbows with a lot of cool sports people. So you really do pay attention to that world as much as you can. Growing up in Tampa, I paid attention to football. I didn't know anything about hockey. I'd be lying if I told you I'd been to more than one game before I met Mike.

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Mike Modano of the Dallas Stars with his wife Willa Ford during a pre-game ceremony honoring him as the American Born Scoring Leader on November 21, 2007.
(Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)

KOTR: I noticed you played in the Lingerie Bowl on Pay-Per-View. What's your athletic background?
FORD:
I played softball when I was younger for four years. Unfortunately I was going through that awkward age. I was pretty brutal. I kept getting hurt. In those four years I dislocated my jaw and I fractured my nose, so my parents pulled me out of softball and got me into singing and dancing.

KOTR: Tell me about your experience on "Dancing With the Stars."
FORD:
That was the most pressure at one moment that I've ever felt. Anytime someone says the word 'live' … that always brings a lot of pressure. The athletes (such as Emmitt Smith) handled the show rather well just because, day in and day out, they work in that kind of life, with make-it-or-break-it pressure. For the people that do things taped and recorded, we have a little more time to fix mistakes. It was a little scary, but it was fun.

KOTR: Before you married Mike you hosted "Ultimate Fighter" and dated Chuck Liddell. What can you tell our UFC readers about him?
FORD: He's one of the nicest, most fantastic human beings you could ever meet. I don't think there are many people out there like him. It's interesting to watch someone go into the ring and act like such a champion and turn it on the way he turns it on. It's all business for him in there.

When he steps out, he's amazing with his children. He's a fantastic father. He's amazing to all of his friends. People he doesn't even know on the side of the street … if they ask for something, he's the kind of guy that stops and gives them more than they asked for. He's the kind of guy you'd want to leave your kids with. He'd take better care of them than your grandma. He's that kind of a guy.

KOTR: Do you like being referred to as "The Bad Girl of Pop?"
FORD:
It's fine. It's a part of me, part of my life. It was honesty that I prided myself on. I was always going to tell people how it was. If I didn't like what my record company wanted I was going to tell them where to stick it.

I stood my ground and did my thing. I don't regret it at all. That niche that I had at the time was the only true way to break into the pop scene as a blonde girl, because it was very saturated.

KOTR: What do you mean by that?
FORD: At the time Britney Spears' raciest video was 'Oops I Did It Again.' Christina Aguilera had "What a Girl Wants." Everyone knew Jessica Simpson was the wholesome girl.

But then "I Wanna Be Bad," dropped and all of a sudden Jessica dropped "Irresistible" and Christina dropped "Dirrty" and Britney dropped "I'm A Slave 4 U." There was a complete shift. Suddenly girls that looked like us had a place in the music industry that involved a more sexual image. I feel like I played a part in helping change the genre to where people started saying, 'OK, maybe we need to grow up a little bit and become a little hipper.'

It's a flattering compliment when you help change the scene, in a way.

KOTR: What did "I Wanna Be Bad" do for your career?
FORD:
People can say it was a one-hit wonder situation, but I don't look at it that way. For me, it was a stepping stone toward the rest of my career. Still, what a remarkable thing to say: I had a Top 10 single. Most people never even have one. It's a high goal for anyone and I was happy to be able to achieve it. The guys always play it in the locker room to give Mike crap before the game. But that song helped put my life to where it is now. I'm gracious for it.

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Willa Ford at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards.
(AP Photo/Suzanne Plunkett)

KOTR: So have you officially given up music to concentrate on acting?
FORD:
I wouldn't say I'm done. But right now I'm focusing on opportunities that are better for me, better for my life, better for the my future and what I want in my life, which is a healthy environment. I don't want to have a family that's going to be on a tour bus all the time.

KOTR: How did you approach things a few years ago when you were asked to pose for Playboy?
FORD:
There were several ways to look at it. One was, 'This is an iconic magazine, and this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.' I was at a place in my life where I didn't have to answer to anybody. It just felt right. I come from a Christian background and more recently have re-committed myself. I look back and say, 'Would I do it now?' Most likely not. But I thought about it long and hard when they asked me, and my thoughts were, "I'm really not doing anything bad."

To me, if you're posing nude in the middle of a library with glasses and a tie on, that's pornographic. Whereas, if you're on a beach and you're nude, that's natural. It was exciting to be in Playboy. To be able to have those pictures for the rest of my life is kind of neat. I also looked at some of the people that had done it before. Sharon Stone, Cindy Crawford. People that we respect and love to this day. Nobody ridiculed them.

KOTR: How do you stay in such good shape?
FORD:
Once "Dancing With the Stars" was over I knew I needed to pick up another hobby – a hobby that would keep me active. I don't want to (join) a gym. It's hard for me to get up and go to a gym, so I started playing tennis. I figured, 'Hey, all those tennis girls have pretty nice bodies.' Now I play at least four times a week for at least an hour. It's a good release, a good workout, a good social activity. I play with other people I know and meet new friends doing it. It's fun. You play, go to the clubhouse, have a drink and eat lunch. I guess it's a cheesy, country club kind of thing, but I enjoy it.

I try to stay physical. It really helps when you marry someone that has to stay in to eat. You eat healthy together. You ride bikes and walk together.

KOTR: Surely, though, there are some good restaurants in Dallas that are tough to resist.
FORD:
Oh yeah. We love Bob's Steak & Chophouse, obviously. You can't beat the steak there. Javier's has good Mexican food. The Porch is very good near Henderson and Knox.

KOTR: I understand you've completed filming for the Anna Nicole Smith movie. When will it appear on television? FORD: I don't know what's going to go down with that. I don't know if they're having a hard time finding a network that wants to play it or what. It's a very sensitive topic.

KOTR: What did you learn about Anna Nicole as you prepared for the role?
FORD: Some people like drama in their life. I've known plenty of people that, at times, have become that person in this industry. It's just hard sometimes, because when you don't have a real genuine person to bounce life off of and hold you accountable, you slope downward. I feel like that's what occurred with her.

It's very sad, because everyone that knew her loved her. Granted, she wasn't the smartest tool in the shed. But she was a good person, a nice girl. She wasn't going to turn around and hurt someone. She was the kind of person who lashed out at herself more than anyone.

Everyone used to say, 'I'm so sick of her. She's a dum-dum. This and this and that.' She was just a really poor girl trying to get ahead.

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Smith

KOTR: Are there similarities between Anna Nicole and Britney Spears?
FORD:
I knew Britney, and, yes, I think there are similarities. Britney is a little more aware of her situation. She didn't come from poverty. I think the similarities involve the usage of drugs. Britney was pretty clean until she got dancers. These (dancers) are people who have lived in LA and have been around that scene. The next thing you know they're your best friends because they're on the road with you. The next thing you know they're bringing drugs on your tour bus and offering them to you after you've had a bad day. My mom was my tour manager. We kicked a dancer off the road for it. She kept a tight ship as far as keeping drugs away from me.

KOTR: Any other thoughts on Britney?
FORD:
There are a lot of chemical imbalances that occur from bad travel, bad food, tough schedules. If you don't get treated properly you tend to become a different person. She's not herself right now. We can't hold her accountable for anything. We've got to let her figure things. Once she does she'll come out of all this and say, 'I can't believe that was me.'

I know people are already writing her obituaries and stuff, and that's ridiculous. The girl stands a chance. She's got what I think are good parents to help her. There are people that are behind her and want her to do well.

There's a saying in the entertainment industry that says, 'You can throw a hard punch, but one of the most important things you need is a heavy head.' That means you can take a punch and just keep going. Some people are strong and have the personalities to do that. Those people are the Madonnas of the world. Then there are people that are a little sweeter and a little more susceptible to the things people say. Those are the Britneys of the world.

KOTR: What about your career makes you proud?
FORD: I'm just proud of the diehard attitude I've had since the first record came out. If one door closed, I would find another door to open. I'm not in the box of only being able to do one thing.

PREVIOUS SPICY DISHES
Campisi | Boatwright | Kramer | Wilson | LaForce | Cobb | Finch

May I Suggest

I've written about an obscure hamburger joint in Bloomington that many of you will never visit, and I've bragged about chicken fried steak in Waco and flapjacks in Hollywood that you may not get the chance to eat.

So this week I figured I'd use this space to review a place we can all enjoy. Well, most us.

Texas Roadhouse has more than 260 locations in 44 states and, buster, if you haven't been, you're missing out.

Before we start let me make one thing clear: I'm not about to sit here and tell you that Texas Roadhouse offers the same kind of high-dollar steaks you'll find at the five-star, $20-per-bite restaurants in the high-fallutin sections of town. They don't.

But if you're the laid-back type who likes The Outback or Lone Star, you may be a Texas Roadhouse kind of person, too. I actually like it better, and here's why.

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(Photo courtesy Texas Road House)

First and foremost, the steaks at Texas Roadhouse are as flavorful as can be. They obviously marinate their meat in something – I've never asked what – that gives it a taste-bud tingling, 'no-steak sauce needed' kind of flavor. T-bones, Ribeyes, KC Strips and Filets. The steaks come in every size and cut. If you're a show-off like me, go ahead and order the 16-ounce Cowboy cut sirloin. It's a big hunk of meat but - much to the disappointment of my poor dog, Eddie - I've never left with a doggie bag. Some things a man jus doesn't share.

Texas Roadhouse is also extremely affordable. The Cowboy cut, for instance, is just $16.99 and includes two sides. There's a steak and chicken combo for $13.99 and a steak and rib combo for $15.99.

You can't go wrong with a big glass of sweet tea, and the Cactus Blossom appetizer is fun for the whole family. Speaking of family, my father-in-law, Chip, is a big fan of the all-you-can-eat rolls at Texas Roadhouse. Or maybe he just likes the cinnamon butter, which I once saw him eating by itself with a fork.

Texas Roadhouse is so popular that you sometimes have to wait 20 or 30 minutes for a table, but it's really no big deal when you consider that they have barrels of peanuts to help tide you over. Feel free to toss the shells on the floor, kinda like I used to do at my old apartment. I also love the casual, relaxed feel of the place. There's nothing like listening to a little Martina McBride or Sammy Kershaw while you're gnawing away at some beef.

Don't know what else to say except that, for so many different reasons, Texas Roadhouse is one of my favorite chain restaurants of all-time, right up there with Tony Roma's, Pappadeaux and Cici's. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Table Scraps

"Santitas" corn chips – Quite possibly the most underrated food item of all time. They don't advertise, folks, but don't let that fool you. Buy your self a bag and a can of bean dip and go to work.

Butterfinger Crisp – Creamy wafers make this a tad bit better than the original Butterfinger. Also much easier to eat in the car because the candy bar doesn't crumble with each bite, which means no chocolate flakes staining the seat of your rental car.

Spaghetti O's with Meatballs – Always good to have a few cans in the pantry when you need to eat and run. Sure, you may feel like you're 11 again. But so what? No one's watching.

Onion Dip – The missus jokes that I go into "machine mode" whenever a bowl of this goodness is around.

Fried Eggs – Love sopping up the yolk with a piece of white toast.

THIS WEEK'S FOOD POLL

Went to my favorite Kansas City barbeque joint the other night (Jack's Stack) and split the combo platter with the wife who, for some reason, only ate one slice of ham and a handful of pickles. That left a pretty big workload for yours truly. Fear not. I didn't let you down. The poor ribs, pork, brisket and ham didn't stand a chance against The King of the Road, and it's a good thing no one tried to sneak any burnt ends or sausage onto that plate, because I was in full attack mode. Anyway, on the drive home, a discussion arose between carnivores (my brother-in-law, Bryan, and I) about the most-desired delicacy on a barbeque platter. He's a brisket guy. I prefer ribs. What about you?

LAST WEEK'S RESULTS

Best concession stand food
Hot Dogs – 42%
Nachos – 38%
Popcorn – 9 %
Peanuts – 6%
M&M's – 2%
Cracker Jack – 2%

Ridin Shotgun

1. Returned late last week from a three-day trip to Bloomington, Indiana, which is now one of my favorite college towns. Absolutely loved the atmosphere at Yogi's and Nick's English Hut, and bartenders like Isaiah and Tiffany were fun to talk to while watching games on the big screen at Buffalo Wild Wings. Also, read last week's column for a review of Hinkle's Hamburgers.

2. While we're on the subject of good college towns, Bloomington is now on a personal list that also includes Madison, College Station, Eugene, Tuscaloosa, Ames and Baton Rouge.

3. Chatted with an NBA scout the other night about 7-foot Stanford center Brook Lopez, a sophomore who is expected to enter this summer's NBA Draft. The scout told me Lopez will likely be among the first five players selected, which is great. The thing I couldn't figure out is this: Why isn't this guy getting more national attention? He's averaging 19.3 points and 7.8 rebounds for the nation's seventh-ranked team yet, when it comes to big men, all the talk is about Kevin Love, Tyler Hansbrough and Roy Hibbert. Guess I'm among the media types who have dropped the ball.

4. After much debate, I've finalized my All-American team: D.J. Augustin (Texas), Kevin Love (UCLA), Chris Douglas-Roberts (Memphis), Tyler Hansbrough (North Carolina) and Player of the Year Michael Beasley of Kansas State. Still working on the second and third teams. Luke Harangody (Notre Dame) is a lock for second team. Other names I'm considering for the final nine spots include Brook Lopez, Jerryd Bayless, Curtis Jerrells, D.J. White, Tyler Smith, Ryan Anderson, Russell Westbrook, Jamont Gordon, Darrell Arthur, Roy Hibbert and DeMarcus Nelson. I'm sure I accidentally missed someone. I'll have the definitive teams next week, but I'd love to hear your thoughts.

5. Speaking of postseason honors, here are my All-Big 12 selections. First team: Beasley, Jerrells, Arthur, Augustin and Brandon Rush (Kansas). Second team: Damion James (Texas), Aleks Maric (Nebraska), Darnell Jackson (Kansas), Kevin Rogers (Baylor) and A.J. Abrams (Texas). Third team: Bill Walker (Kansas State), Marcus Hall (Colorado), Wesley Johnson (Iowa State), Mario Chalmers (Kansas) and Leo Lyons (Missouri). Blake Griffin was omitted because he missed a significant amount of conference action with an injury.

6. I'm beginning to see why so many people are infatuated with the popular television show "The Wire." The missus and I have just about made it through the first season and I can proudly say, 'We're hooked.' So along with hitting the treadmill, much of my offseason will be spent playing catch-up through season five.

7. Excited to be headed to St. Louis this weekend to cover the semifinals and finals of the Missouri Valley tournament. I've been to The Lou several times but have never really experienced the city because I've been too busy working. I do know they have a few White Castles, which is nice. My buddy Shandel Richardson keeps telling about this great place called The Pink Slip but he won't tell me what kind of place it is or what they serve. I'll let you know if I find out.

8. My efforts to track down Kamala The Ugandan Giant for an interview led me to his webpage: www.thegiantkamala.com. Another good wrestling website: www.harleyrace.com.

Comment Card

Hey Jason – I don't have a question, but I just wanted to tell you that you're hilarious. The last two columns you wrote had me chuckling the whole time I read them. My bar buddies and I discuss these exact topics when we're having the occasional … I mean, several drinks. What else is there to talk about anyway?
Ryan Scull, Finksburg, Maryland

KOTR: Glad you're enjoying the column and that it mirrors some of the conversations you have with your friends. Most of these topics are things I discuss with my buddies, too. The other night my friend, Mark Wittlinger, and I had a long debate about whether draft beer was better than bottled beer before discussing the best frozen burritos to buy at gas stations. Riveting stuff.


Hi Jason – I enjoyed your column last week, but I did have one comment: I agree that Michael Beasley is something special, but he showed his "freshman side" against Nebraska, when he was anything but a team player. I think we were all taken aback by his constant complaining to his teammates during timeouts – plus lots of immature whining. To be fair, Doc Sadler had a plan to keep Beasley away from the ball and it worked very well. It got him frustrated and his teammates followed suit.
Nelsen Petersen, Lincoln, Neb.

KOTR: I didn't see the Nebraska game, Nelsen, but Doc Sadler continues to amaze me. I think he's one of the top floor coaches in college basketball. As for Beasley, I've actually been impressed with his composure and on-court mannerisms this season. To me he seems like a team-first guy, which isn't what I was expecting. Still, predictably, Kansas State's program is a complete mess. The players don't respect the coach and call him by his first name. Bill Walker's attitude continues to worsen and it's clear that things are going to head south – and fast – once Beasley and Walker leave after this season.


Jason – If you could pick the No. 1 team in the country, who would it be? And, in your opinion, who is better: North Carolina or Duke?
RedSoxGirlie, North Carolina

KOTR: In terms of talent and depth, no team is better than Kansas. The Jayhawks, however, have been in a bit of a rut lately. But so was Florida at this time last year, and they went on to win the national title. I'll give UCLA the edge in this year's NCAA tournament because the Bruins have a great coach, they play outstanding defense and they've been to back to back Final Fours – and now they have Kevin Love. I also love North Carolina's chances of making it to San Antonio. If Duke and North Carolina faced off, and both teams were healthy and played their best, North Carolina would win by 12 points.


Jason – We have now voted and you are a very lousy writer of the crap you are putting out. While we agree that you were not a good sportswriter to begin with, now you have sunk to the depths of garbage. Why not take the drivel you write to the sensational magazines, like the ones that profess to have interviewed a real Martian? You need to get a real life that suits your abilities - like cleaning fly poop out of a canister of black pepper wearing boxing gloves. You are so bad now that you are indecent.
Kerry Lee, Tarpon Springs, Fla.

KOTR: Just curious, Kerry: When you say "we," are you referring to you and the guy in the gimp mask that's locked up in your basement?


J-King – I don't usually write columnists, but I just had to answer the moron who criticized your column for including food, spicy chicas, etc. Hey, Bozo, if you want to read a plain sports column, you can go to any of a zillion websites. Where can you get the four things any self-respecting guy loves (sports, babes, food, music) in one great package. Right here, baby. Keep 'em coming!
StevieU, Grand Ledge, Mich.

KOTR: Thanks so much for the support, and I WILL keep 'em coming. In the meantime, be careful when it comes to name-calling. The person to whom you're referring got all hot and bothered last week when I re-printed his letter. He fired off another 1,000-word e-mail to me, blasting me and taking cheap shots at "any idiot who reads" this column. I'm done with the guy. I don't need his negativity.