College basketball is ready to run

Basketball Excitement

February approaches and the NFL is winding down. Conference play has already begun for our Big 12 teams. Start at the library to lay the groundwork for some 2017 NCAA Tournament action.

The Big 12 Championship runs March 8-11 and the national tournament begins Tuesday March 14. As I write this, four Big 12 teams are ranked in the AP Top 25 (three in the USA Today Coach’s poll).

Stop in at the Sports Neighborhood if you’re here at the library, and request items online.

Reading for Jayhawks

Of course, University of Kansas Men’s Basketball is prominent in many minds in northeast Kansas. A great book focused on KU basketball is Kenneth N. Johnson’s Kansas University Basketball Legends.

The University of Kansas’s men’s basketball team is one of the oldest and most successful in the history of college basketball; the very inventor of the sport, Dr. James Naismith, was KU’s first coach. Its long and illustrious history began in 1898 and includes some of the biggest names in the game. Longtime Jayhawk enthusiast Kenn Johnson offers up a unique and in-depth look at the players, coaches and other personalities who helped make the University of Kansas basketball program the unparalleled tradition it is today.

A few miles to the west (to some, a galaxy far, far away) … there are other tales to tell.

Reading for Wildcats

It’s Time to Play: Jack Gardner, Basketball and Kansas State University by Steven Michael Farney shares a tale that Wildcat fans will enjoy.

Prior to Gardner’s arrival in Manhattan in 1939, Kansas State had known limited success in basketball. The school, which played its first game in 1903, posted a 286-274 record in 35 seasons of play. During that span, just two Wildcat teams claimed conference championships.

At 29-years old, Gardner was the youngest coach in the country. He boldly announced to the campus that it was time to play, time to compete for conference titles, time to challenge for national honors. In his 10 seasons as the Wildcat boss, K-State would win or share three conference championships, qualify for two Final Four appearances, produce four All-Americans, claim 147 wins and establish the Cats as a national player in college basketball.

The book chronicles the 228 games Gardner coached while in Manhattan including 25 epic struggles with legendary KU Coach Phog Allen. Although each game between the two rivals was hotly contested, the verbal sparring battles between Gardner and Allen provided newspapers and fans with an amply supply of stories throughout the year. There seldom was a dull moment with Jack and Phog living in the same state!”

Find more college basketball stuff in our library catalog.

Basketball books

Stay tuned for information on the library’s bracket challenge.

NCAA viewing schedule

Matt Pettit

Matt is a Public Service Specialist for the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library. His areas of responsibility include outreach library services to nursing homes, senior, retirement and congregate living centers; service to homebound library users; the Kansas Talking Books service; Book Group in a Bag program and the history and sports neighborhoods of the library’s nonfiction collection.