Wichita State is going to have its hands full with the biggest and most athletic team the Shockers have seen all season against Kentucky on Sunday.
"I saw on the scouting report the shortest starter they had was 6'6" and you don't see that hardly anywhere in the country," Wichita State sophomore Ron Baker said. "I've never seen a 19-year-old as big as (Julius) Randle in my life. He's a workhorse. He's got 119 offensive rebounds throughout the season, that's just crazy."
Kansas State found out exactly what that length and athleticism can do to an undersized team on Friday. The Wildcats were out-rebounded 40-28 and had seven shots blocked.
Kentucky is second in the nation in rebounding margin at a 9.9 advantage per game and fifth in the nation in blocked shots.
Wichita State has prided itself on rebounding margin as well and ranks seventh in the nation in that category.
"Now, it will be a big key tomorrow in this game is rebounding. And they're bigger, and inch for inch, pound for pound, more athletic," Marshall said. "So we've got to do a great job and be very diligent in checking out every time, rebounding with five. And on the offensive end we have to go steal some second-chance opportunities on them when they try to block those shots and leave the weak side open."
"I can't stretch them out tonight. I can't put them on one of those old medieval contraptions and try to stretch them," Marshall said. "We're just going to go with what we have got and play our guys we have on the roster. I can't make any trades or pull anybody out of Triple-A. And we will just go with what we have got and hopefully that's good enough."
Even though the Shockers haven't faced a team as talented and big as Kentucky this year, they know there are ways to bridge the gap created by the size of the Wildcats.
"There are counters for everything. Nothing's perfect in this world," WSU point guard Fred VanVleet said. "If size alone wins you the game, then I think there would be five seven-footers out there for every team in America. Obviously, there are strengths and weaknesses for that. We're definitely going to have to be ready to go. We haven't seen size like that all year at every position. It will be a challenge, but they have to adjust to us as well."
The Shockers will put their undefeated record on the line against Kentucky at 1:45 p.m. Sunday in St. Louis.