“They could win the whole thing, not just the conference; they could run the table and win a national championship”.
Indiana State coach Greg Lansing on Wichita State, after his Sycamores lost to them by twenty last weekend.
What are they going to say?
The Valley is just a slob-fest for Wichita State right now; the Shockers are being lauded by every opposing coach, even as those coaches try to figure out a way to trip them up the next time. The amount of sunshine being blown at WSU would be enough to blind a lesser team, but this group simply doesn’t seem susceptible to the hype, at least not yet.
Wichita State was ranked fifth in the nation for the second week in a row. They're moving into position for a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament. Getting caught up in that is fine for fans, not a for a basketball team which continues to do amazing things.
Raising the bar---
From an NIT Championship, to the NCAA Tourney, to thirty wins and the Final Four—Gregg Marshall was running out of room for improvement, but here they are –19 and oh, one of three remaining unbeatens in college basketball. The irony is that Wichita State still has room to grow their game; they didn’t shoot three pointers or free throws very well against Indiana State, they’re depth isn’t very deep. But my, how they defend and rebound.
Taking Indiana St. out of its game---
Lansing also claimed that Wichita State had taught his team a lesson; the Shockers held the Sycamores nearly thirty points under their season’s average and hounded them into their worst shooting night of the season. Tekele Cotton rendered ISU star Jake Odum irrelevant and WSU won the battle of the glass by 14.
Granted, it’s just one game and what happened last Saturday will have no bearing on what transpires up In Terre Haute, IN next month, but I’m sure the result raised a few eyebrows around the Valley where teams continue to try and find ways to attack a growing monster.
The week ahead---
It’s back on the road this week for a trip to Illinois State on Wednesday, then Drake on Saturday. The Redbirds have won three straight since being ripped by 19 in Wichita two weeks ago, they’ve won 7 in a row at home and have enough shooters to make things interesting if they get hot (a la Missouri State). Drake has lost five straight, but are coached by first year guy Ray Giacolleti, who was an assistant last year with Mark Few at Gonzaga---so he knows what he’s getting into.
I’ll be with the Shockers on both legs of their trip this week, so keep me locked in.
Any way you cut it---
With the final four in the NFL any combination would have given us a good Super Bowl matchup. Denver and Seattle take center stage in New York in two weeks and you just hope that they’re the story instead of bad weather. I get wanting to bring your showcase to the biggest stage, but even the biggest stage can be obscured by a foot of snow…we’ll see.
Peyton Manning was simply incredible in the Broncos win over the Patriots; it’s odd to hear some talking about how he needs another Super Bowl win to cement his legacy, any argument about the greatest quarterback in NFL history would ring hollow without him in it. Manning got the headlines yesterday, but the Bronco’s defense was nearly as good.
Seattle won it on a roughing the kicker penalty that was incorrectly called running into the kicker and three turnovers in the 49ers last three possessions. I love the Seahawks offense, I’m not as sold on Russell Wilson, although he is 27-9 in his two years as a starter, no QB has more wins in his first two years in the league.
The Super Bowl will match the game’s number one total offense against the game’s number one total defense. Denver’s scored more points than any team in the league; the Seahawks have allowed the fewest, I love the matchup—even if we’re going to have to hear Seattle’s Richard Sherman interviewed between now and then…where’s Vince McMahon when you need him?