When I woke Monday, there were 381 messages in my email inbox. Too many. For 2014, I have resolved to keep it under 100, so that when readers send me pictures of AJ McCarron’s girlfriend (this is why I will never unfriend Musburger) they’ll download faster. So here are 19.4 inches of local sports notes straight from my email inbox:
■ Remember when Lon Kruger took the money and ran off to Oklahoma, and people around here were mostly OK with it, because Kruger ran a boring offense? Well, Kruger’s Oklahoma team is running and gunning and averaging 87.3 points, the fifth most in the NCAA. It also is 12-2, and Saturday snapped an eight-game losing streak at Texas by winning, 88-85.
■ Regina Miller, who inherited back-to-back 4-23 seasons and went 17-12 in her first year as UNLV women’s basketball coach — and went 172-125 in 10 seasons here before being canned by Mike Hamrick — also is rebuilding Illinois-Chicago into a winner. She has guided the Flames to a school-record 11 consecutive wins heading into Wednesday’s game against perennial Horizon League powerhouse Wisconsin-Green Bay up in the land of the frozen tundra.
■ Wouldn’t you know it, Mike Moser is having an awesome senior year at Oregon since transferring from UNLV, averaging 13.1 points and 7.7 rebounds. Mozilla scored 24 points Sunday in the 17th-ranked Ducks’ first loss of the season at No. 15 Colorado. Former Bishop Gorman ace Johnathan Loyd is averaging 9.2 points and a ton of assists as Oregon’s point guard, and is on pace to set the Ducks’ record in career games played while wearing a blinding uniform.
■ Note to (Bill) Self: San Diego State is a little more athletic than most Mountain West teams. The Aztecs (12-1) won 61-57 at Kansas on Sunday, snapping Rock Chalk’s 68-game nonconference winning streak at sweaty Allen Fieldhouse.
■ After ranking 345th and dead last in NCAA free-throw percentage heading into the Arizona game in early December, the Rebels made 8 of 10 at McKale Center, and coach Dave Rice said the team’s free-throw woes were a thing of the past. The Rebels made 14 of 23 at the line in a 75-68 home loss to Air Force on Saturday, so missing free throws still is a thing of the present. But they have climbed from No. 345 to No. 326 with a percentage of 62.7.
■ Since the last time I checked, NBA top overall draft bust — er, choice — Anthony Bennett is seeing more minutes for the Cavaliers. But the former UNLV star still is just shooting 28 percent from the floor, and he’s still being compared to LaRue Martin by disgruntled Cleveland fans, of whom there are a lot.
■ Over the weekend, Bennett posted condolences and an Instagram picture of himself with a little lung cancer patient named Kayla who had recently died, and he wrote some poignant words about life being too short that I am sure Kayla’s parents will cherish. So sometimes it’s not all about going 0-for-4 from the floor in another loss to the Warriors.
■ ESPN ranked the Heart of Dallas Bowl, UNLV vs. North Texas, as the 35th and worst bowl game matchup before Capital One Bowl Week began. Now that the final results are in, the Sports on Earth website ranks the Mean Green’s 36-14 win over the Rebels No. 30 among the postseason stinkers. Southern Cal’s 45-29 blowout of overrated Fresno State in the Las Vegas Bowl was 31st. This is why some people are hoping the Blue-Gray Classic makes a comeback.
■ During the 1950s there was a great Indianapolis 500 driver named Bill Vukovich, who was charging toward an unprecedented third consecutive victory at the Brickyard when he was killed. They called Vukovich the “Mad Russian” — though he was of Yugoslavian ancestry and grew up in Fresno. But Henderson’s Sam Schmidt has hired a guy named Mikhail Aleshin to drive his second car at Indy in May, and he’s a real Russian, from Moscow.
■ The International Table Hockey Championships are returning to Las Vegas, at the Flamingo on Jan. 18. Organizers say the event is not moving to Florida, like the Charlestown Chiefs or maybe the Wranglers, and that the table hockey title will be decided in a ballroom rather than in a tent.
■ Best line I read about the NFL’s exciting wild-card weekend was from a guy on Twitter, @Shlockwave, commenting on the bizarre Frozen Tundra get-up of former UNR touchdown triggerman Colin Kaepernick: “Seeing Kap sleeveless but in a balaclava makes me wonder if he wears black socks with sandals and shorts.”
■ Finally, if you don’t think the government shutdown has had a trickle-down effect, then you didn’t see the Air Force basketball team leave Nellis Air Force base in the belly of a cargo plane after it upset the Rebels on Saturday. I think it was one of those C-17s, and the Falcons’ coaches laughed when I asked if it was nice inside, with couches. No couches, they said. Just hooks for paratroopers, and for backup forwards who don’t help on defense.
Las Vegas Review-Journal sports columnist Ron Kantowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0352. Follow him on Twitter: @ronkantowski