by David Martin
Harry's reasoning is deeply flawed. First, it assumes that Big 12 officials would even consider holding a tournament in a state with no member institutions. Two, it assumes that Kansas, Kansas State and Iowa State would lobby to hold the event in Kansas City after Mizzou asked for a divorce from its old Big 8 rivals. Hey, no hard feelings, Missouri. We sure do love paying those exorbitant taxes at the hotels and restaurants in your state's largest city.
On Wednesday, Harry made his regular appearance on Kevin Kietzman's show on WHB 810. Kietzman likes to needle Harry, but Wednesday's segment went to another level when Harry shared his fantasy about the Sprint Center hosting future Big 12 tournaments with or without Missouri. The comment sent Kietzman reaching for his knives.
"I purposefully was not going to bring this up with you today, because I will shred you on this argument," Kietzman said. He sounded almost regretful about the pain he was about to inflict on the veteran sportscaster.
Kietzman then went into all the reasons that Harry was a fool to believe that the Big 12 would conduct significant business in Missouri if the state's flagship university bolted for the SEC. He explained that there are plenty of capable arenas scattered across the post-Missouri Big 12 map. Dallas and Oklahoma City have hosted the event in recent years. New arenas opened in Des Moines in 2005 and Wichita in 2010.
Kietzman told Harry he had lost his mind if he believed that Kansas City could continue to host the tournament after Missouri took up with another conference.
"I hear you keep harping on this thing, and I wasn't even going to bring it up today, and you just brought it up out of nowhere," he said. "That is the most harebrained idea I've ever heard. The Big 12, everybody in the conference should be fired if they play this thing in Missouri."
Harry went on to claim that Kansas and Missouri would continue their rivalry with basketball games at the Sprint Center and football games at Arrowhead Stadium. It's a startling thing to say, given that Kansas men's basketball coach Bill Self has indicated that he thinks Missouri's name should be torn out of the phone book if it joins another athletic conference.
Kietzman sounded dismayed that Harry could believe Kansas would be eager to compete with Missouri on Missouri soil if the latter left the Big 12. "If some guy kicked sand on your face on the beach and stole your girlfriend, would you go back and be buddies with that guy?" Kietzman asked.
"I think I'd fight back," Harry said. "I think I'd fight back."
"You know what fighting back is with Kansas? It's not playing Missouri, because Missouri needs that basketball game more than KU. KU doesn't need Missouri's basketball game in way, shape or form ever. Ever. They don't need Frank Haith at Sprint Center helping them sell tickets. They can go get Podunk U and throw 'em into Sprint Center and sell it out."
Full of bluster when there's nobody on a TV set to challenge him, Harry failed to make much of a counterargument. "Talk to yourself, Kevin," he said weakly at one point. "Just keep talking."
The segment — which is like watching a man have a kidney carved out and fed to him — is available at WHB's podcasts page. Click on any of the interviews to be taken to the page that stores Harry's appearance on Between the Lines.