Thursday at Koch Arena

Wichita State basketball coach Gregg Marshall is still battling a sinus condition. I always wonder what affect a coach’s health has on a team. It is one of those things that shouldn’t matter, but perhaps it does. Players, especially young players, take all kinds of cues from their coaches, probably ones they don’t even realize. Factor in WSU’s losses in Texas? Maybe. Maybe not.

  • Offense, of course, is a big focus in practices this week leading up to Friday’s game against Gardner-Webb. Study reveals screening is a big problem for the Shockers. Marshall said the Shockers were called for around 10 illegal screens during their October scrimmage at Kansas State. Monday at TCU, they barely set any screens. “We simply weren’t screening,” he said. “We weren’t trying to get anyone else open. It was like we were afraid to put our body on anyone.”
  • G-W averages 23 threes a game and makes 35.2 percent. “They’ve got some really, really confident shooters,” Marshall said. “They’re very similar offensively to what Texas Tech does. They spray it up, try to take the first, quick, good shot they can find.”
  • Marshall admits the past five games in Florida and Texas presented a tough test, probably too much for an inexperienced team. Out of those five, WSU played poorly at TCU and badly in the first half at Texas Tech. Of the team’s five losses, games at TCU and against UMKC stand out as disappointing performances. “Had we been 4-4 right now, I would have been very pleased,” Marshall said. “We’re 3-5, so I’m not pleased. I’m disappointed we let two games go that were winnable for us. We’re one below where I think we should be right now.”
  • Marshall had a talk with senior Ramon Clemente after Monday’s game. Clemente scored six points and grabbed 10 rebounds. However, TCU’s Zvonko Buljan went for 17 and 10, guarded mostly by Clemente. “Ramon got outplayed at TCU by a guy who is their third or fourth-leading scorer,” Marshall said. “He got out-hustled, out-toughed, out-scored. I told Ramon ‘If you don’t play well. If you get outplayed soundly – we’re in trouble. We’re going to have a hard time winning, because of his experience. He is the experienced guy.”

Around the Valley

  • Former Shocker star Warren (Armstrong) Jabali was honored Saturday in Kansas City. Too bad the Shockers weren’t a better team in Armstrong’s era in the late 1960s. Great player who played on some average teams in a great era for the MVC. He played in the NIT as a sophomore in 1966, when that meant more than it does now. WSU went 14-12 and 12-14 in his final two seasons.
  • My Hungarian correspondent isn’t quite sure what happened with P.J. Couisnard’s injury. He is playing again (after apparently dislocating a bone in his foot) and scored 19 points for Soproni in his most recent game.
  • Creighton picked up a big win over Dayton on Wednesday night. Things don’t look great for the Valley, but you can’t count Creighton or Illinois State out of the NCAA at-large discussion. Both could still roll up enough victories to be in that position come March. Dayton’s schedule is not impressive, other than one big win at Marquette. We will know more how much this win helps in February.
  • Anybody remember Don Battee? He played for WSU in 1974-75.
  • I watched Drake’s win over Iowa State on Tuesday. The Bulldogs looked good, better than I thought they would. Bulldog fans can stop panicking over coach Mark Phelps. I don’t think Drake will win the MVC, but they will be a factor. They can shoot.
  • Topekan Kyle Weems continues to play well for Missouri State. Why can MSU get a series with Tulsa and not WSU?
  • Evansville is 6-1 and Jason Holsinger came back life offensively.
  • MVC commissioner Doug Elgin is going to be answering a lot of these type of questions unless the MVC starts winning big. The MVC looks like a collection of fairly average teams outside of Creighton and Illinois State at the top and Indiana State at the bottom. Nobody looks like a top 25-contender or potential seed above No. 8 in the NCAA Tournament.