I want to tell you about a team that's undefeated. I want to tell you about a team that's going for a national championship. I want to tell you about a team that's 35-0. And that team, is not Wichita State.
Unfortunately the NCAA tournament tends to give us a one-track mind, especially with all three of our teams in St. Louis. But tonight in Salina the Hutchinson Community College women's team will be playing for a national championship and an undefeated one at that. Not to mention, this is the second time in three seasons that John Ontjes' team will be playing for a national title. Think anyone doubts that Kansas is a dominant basketball state?
Now time to talk about the other 35-0 team that is still working on making it to that national title game. The Shockers have their dream opportunity in front of them on Sunday. They have the chance to face the blue bloods of Big Blue Nation and beat them on national television. When I asked Darius Carter who he wanted to face, with the option of Kansas State or Kentucky, he answered Kentucky because that's what they've been wanting. This team is a number one seed that still seems to need to prove itself; strange, huh?
Kentucky head coach John Calipari took to Twitter early Saturday afternoon already playing the role of 'respect your opponent.' Coach Cal tweeted "We'll be busy preparing for a great Wichita State team. You don't go undefeated without having really good players, which Wichita State does."
Now that is interesting to me. It was just a few days ago that Calipari and his AD were vehemently shaming the NCAA for 'making the bracket before the SEC championship game was over' and really giving Kentucky an awful 8 seed. Kentucky thought they deserved better than this which really feels like they thought they deserved better than a second round matchup against a team that hasn't played anybody.
Well, the Shockers are finally getting their chance to play 'somebody' and that somebody happens to be one of the most polarizing teams, with one of the most despised fan bases and a particularly snarl-inspiring coach. Somehow, once again, the Shockers have turned themselves into David when Goliath is actually picked to lose.
Ron Baker talked about coach Marshall liking an 'us against the world' mentality and that's exactly what it feels like. Coach Marshall loves a good battle and he's got a prize fight ahead of him on Sunday afternoon.