When Missouri Southern visits the MWSU Fieldhouse today for an MIAA clash with Missouri Western, Kansas Jayhawks fans in the stands will see familiar faces sitting with the Lions.

Former KU point guard Jeff Boschee is in his first year as the Southern’s coach and he has former Jayhawks’ teammate Nick Bradford with him on the Lions’ bench as one of his assistants. Boschee joined the Southern coaching staff in 2011 under then-coach Robert Corn. When it became apparent that he would be Corn’s successor, the outgoing coach told him to hire someone he trusted. Boschee found Bradford.

“I called Nick and talked him out of leaving his position at Labette Community College and it’s been great,” Boschee said. “Last year, winning the MIAA championship and making the NCAA tournament and having him be a part of it was pretty cool.

“Having him around is a pretty fun thing.”

Both men played for Kansas under now-North Carolina coach Roy Williams and Boschee said his time on those teams is reflected in both his style of coaching and in his teams’ style of play. He said he still loves the up-tempo and high-energy style of play he learned under Williams and that he tries to treat his players the way he was treated at Kansas.

“Once I knew I wanted to get into coaching, I paid a lot more attention to detail of the things that he did and how he did things,” Boschee said of Williams. “He runs a great program and treats his players with a lot of respect.

“You learn from one of the best. Why not emulate him and what he does?”

Getting (too) physical

To say tempers flared Thursday night in a women’s basketball game between Washburn and Central Oklahoma would be putting things mildly.

After a charging call and a nasty exchange, the Ichabods’ Honor Duvall hit the Bronchos’ McKenzie Solberg with a right-hand punch to the chin according to media reports. Duvall was immediately ejected and assessed a pair of technical fouls. Bronchos player Chelsea Robinson was also ejected for leaving the bench.

Solberg remained in the game and Duvall is suspended for at least today’s 1:30 p.m. game against Northeastern State, according to the Topeka Capitol-Journal.

Baseball Hornets ready to sting

When the American Baseball Coaches Association released its preseason poll on Jan. 14, the MIAA was well represented.

Emporia State, which defeated Western for last year’s conference tournament championship, checked in at No. 6 and MIAA regular-season champion Central Missouri was No. 22.

Western, Nebraska-Kearney and Central Oklahoma all received votes in the poll.

Emporia finished last season with a 42-19 record overall and finished third in the MIAA regular-season standings with a 26-15 conference mark. But a glance at the conference’s statistical leaders from last year shows that the Hornets are bringing back some big bats and strong arms.

Outfielder Justin Harris, second baseman Levi Parker and first basemen Dean Long are all returning seniors who were among the top five MIAA run scorers from a year ago. But it is Long whose bat will likely anchor the Emporia lineup this year.

Long led the conference in RBI and finished third in home runs. For good measure, the 6-foot-3, 205-pound first sacker also finished among MIAA leaders in total bases and stolen bases.

On the mound, the Hornets return Shawn Talkington from the right-hand side and southpaw Jarrod Miller. Both seniors finished 2014 among conference leaders in strikeouts. Miller finished first in the MIAA with 77 Ks and Talkington finished third with 76. Talkington topped Miller, however, in wins with a 9-2 mark to Miller’s 7-6 record.

Western is scheduled to open its season Feb. 1 at Arkansas Tech and Northwest Missouri State is slated to begin play Feb. 6 at Northwestern Oklahoma.

Grappling with success

Although neither Western nor Northwest participate in intercollegiate wrestling, MIAA schools are among some of the best in NCAA Division II. And an area school outside the conference is the new No. 1 team in the land.

In the latest poll released Wednesday by the Division II Wrestling Coaches Association, Maryville moved from No. 2 into the top spot. But a number of MIAA programs are breathing down its neck.

Kearney (No. 3), Central Oklahoma (No. 8), Lindenwood (No. 10) and Fort Hays (No. 15) all cracked the Top 20 and Central Missouri received votes in the poll.

Individually, the MIAA has three wrestlers at the top of the individual rankings with two of those representing Kearney.

Kearney’s Daniel DeShazer (133 pounds) and Romero Cotton (197 pounds) are the Lopers ranked No. 1 in their respective weight classes. Chris Watson of Central Oklahoma (165 pounds) rounds out the individuals from MIAA schools ranked first.

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