“To be the first and only Division I team to win 30 games straight in the regular season is something that’s never happened, it’s a first and that’s what we talked about. These guys like to be the first, and the only, and the best. They embrace it and figure out a way to make it happen.”
---Gregg Marshall after his team beat Bradley last night
The difference between---
Bradley coach Geno Ford lauded his team for “playing its guts out” last night. On the other hand, Marshall lamented about not playing well—yet Wichita State was good enough to win by twenty, on the road, in front of an opposition’s biggest crowd of the year, on their Senior Night. Wow.
30 and counting---
I heard that Wichita State became the first men’s team in college basketball history to go to 30-0 in a regular season. In fact, it’s about the only thing I heard during ESPN’s broadcast from Bradley. I appreciate the historical significance of the feat…I guess, but could they have been any more breathless and redundant on the broadcast last night.
I know I shouldn’t throw stones in a glass house, particularly at the risk of sounding envious---I just hope I don’t bang things to unconsciousness on my broadcasts.
Quick pulse check---
Between them, Ron Baker, Fred Van Vleet and Tekele Cotton had 39 points, 16 rebounds, 12 assists and just 3 turnovers. The trio was 8 of 13 from beyond the arc and helped hound Bradley into 27 percent shooting and their second lowest point total of the season.
The Shockers continue to play remarkably unselfish basketball, they had 15 assists on their 23 baskets—but they were outrebounded for the fourth time this season. Gregg Marshall will not be happy with the 16 offensive rebounds his team gave up, but it’s hard to split hairs when you’re 30 and oh. Did you know the Shockers made history but becoming the first men’s team in college basketball season to start a regular season 30-oh? Sorry, I’ll try to be a little more breathless next time.
I joke about it, but 30 and oh is a remarkable feat, there’s a reason it’s been done so infrequently (UNLV was the last to do it in 1991). The Shockers continue to do all the little things that a coach craves. Up twenty points in the second half last night, an only slightly lesser team might have put into cruise control, but not Wichita State---they’re still denying passing lanes, diving for loose balls and reveling in the nice moments from their teammates.
This team really cares for one another and that isn’t always a given in college sports, no one cares who gets the credit, they know that if you play well as a team that the individual accolades will come. Maybe the collar will tighten when this team gets into the NCAA’s, but they’ve shown absolutely no sign of yielding to pressure. Heck, quite the opposite, every game seems like a walk in the park. I said seems, I know it isn’t, but it’s a credit to them for making look so easy. What’s even better is that it shows no sign of ending anytime soon.
Look whose coming---
You know you’re making inroads when Bob Knight shows up at your practices. The Hall of Fame Coach will watch the Shockers work on Friday, before calling the Missouri State game on Saturday. As a broadcaster Knight makes a pretty great coach, but he doesn’t have a filter and it will be interesting to hear his views on Wichita State. Does Wichita State have logoed V-neck sweaters?