Category Archives: Basketball

Wichita State and the Midwest Region

The Shockers and friends watched the bracket unfold on Sunday.

The Shockers and friends watched the bracket unfold on Sunday.

The upside of Sunday’s NCAA selection show is that the Shockers gained a bunch of fans. Almost everybody with a Twitter account and/or a microphone jumped to their defense.



WSU coach Gregg Marshall took the calm approach, rightly pointing out that upsets happen and there is no point getting worked up about what game might come up. That is absolutely the message he needs to send his players.

In a private moment, however, I expect him to acknowledge that the committee didn’t pay much respect to his team’s No. 1 seed. Playing in the same region with Kentucky, Louisville, Duke and Michigan is tough. Add in Kansas State, because if anybody is sick of hearing about the Shockers, it’s got to be the Wildcats.

That’s a tough road, even if some of those teams are not quite as good as their name indicates. The Shockers can’t even count on a noise edge. Lexington and Manhattan are closer to St. Louis than Wichita. The real issue is if WSU must play Louisville in Indianapolis.

The seeding of those teams is up for debate. Wishing for an easier path is no way to prepare. This is the NCAA Tournament and it’s going to be tough, even for a No. 1 seed, after the first game. The mileage figures, however, are fact and it does not seem fair that WSU may be put at a disadvantage so early in the tournament.

Coverage from

Bob Lutz: Committee tells WSU to prove it after 34-0 record.

ESPN’s Andy Katz and Seth Greenberg help with your bracket.

Sports Illustrated calls it the Midwest Group of Death.

Gary Parrish of picks WSU to win it all.

Wichita State’s Sunday morning brackets

Jerry Palm - in St. Louis with a possible date with Dana Altman in the third round. Tennessee and BYU sneak in. Wisconsin is the No. 2 seed in the Midwest.

Joe Lunardi – in St. Louis vs. Cal Poly or Texas Southern and Altman or Kansas State on deck. Duke is the No. 2 seed in the region.

Yahoo - Tennessee, BYU in. Kansas a No. 3 seed.

USA Today – in St. Louis vs. Cal Poly or Texas Southern. Oregon or Saint Joseph’s up next. Villanova is the No. 2 seed in the Midwest.

Patrick Stevens of – vs. Cal Poly or Texas Southern. Memphis or Kansas State, should the Shockers survive the first game. Wisconsin is the No. 2 seed in the Midwest.

Every Day is March – in St. Louis vs. Cal Poly or Albany. Oregon and Pitt in the 8-9 game. Virginia the No. 2 seed.



Wichita State and the No. 1 seed

Wichita State appears to have a No. 1 seed locked up. Palm, Lunardi, USA Today and almost everybody else projects the Shockers on that top spot. At The Bracket Project, all but two of the 100-plus brackets surveyed place WSU as No. 1, giving it a 1.03 overall seeding.

WSU’s 34-0 record appears to be an unbeatable resume chip. The Shockers aren’t going to lose between now and Sunday and perfect is perfect. WSU’s schedule isn’t as strong as many of the contenders (you may have heard). To place the Shockers No. 1, a committee member must believe in the power of perfect, a non-conference schedule that featured road wins and not many cupcakes and the (believe or not) eye test. Read More »

Thinking about Sunday’s selection show

NCAA basketball committee chair Ron Wellman, Wake Forest athletic director, conducted a conference call on Wednesday morning. All 10 committee members are in Indianapolis and they started their work on Wednesday afternoon.

Words from Wellman that might pertain to Wichita State:

RPI matters, but not above all else.

“The RPI is just one of the data points that is available to the Committee.  Read More »

Day After: MVC Tournament

Quarterfinal: Wichita State 80, Evansville 58

Semifinal: Wichita State 67, Missouri State 42

Championship: Wichita State 83, Indiana State 69

Record: WSU 34-0

  • Wichita State entered February 22-0 and coming off of a below-average performance in a 57-45 home win over Loyola. A season-defining trip to Indiana State and Northern Iowa loomed. On Feb. 1, it’s possible to wonder if an unbeaten team can get better. The Shockers did, largely by improving on offense. Tekele Cotton turned back into a good jump-shooter for a second February/March in a row. Darius Carter adjusted to the physical defenses in the MVC. Ron Baker’s sprained left ankle improved. WSU shot 48.9 percent over the final nine games (five on the road) of the MVC schedule after shooting 42.7 in the first nine.
  • Read More »

MVC Tournament final: No. 1 Wichita State vs. No. 2 Indiana State

Sunday’s schedule – 1:05 p.m. (CBS)

WSU 65, Indiana State 58

WSU 68, Indiana State 48

Coverage from

Thinking about the Sycamores

Guard Jake Odum, an All-MVC pick, makes Indiana State go, as every Valley fan knows. He can only do so much and he received criminally low levels of support from his big men in the two regular-season losses to WSU. Read More »

MVC Tournament semifinals

Saturday’s schedule

Wichita State 67, Missouri State 42

Indiana State 62, Southern Illinois 59

Coverage from

 Thinking about the Bears

MSU coach Paul Lusk and his program offer one of the best hopes for optimism in the MVC. Read More »

MVC Tournament quarterfinals

Friday’s schedule

Wichita State 80, Evansville 58

Missouri State 53, Illinois State 48

Indiana State 75, Loyola 62

Southern Illinois 63, Northern Iowa 58

Thursday’s scores

Evansville 69, Drake 61

Loyola 74, Bradley 72

Thinking about the Aces

WSU 81, UE 67

WSU 84, UE 68

Tekele Cotton vs. D.J. Balentine is the Valley’s premier individual matchup. Cotton is the best defender. Balentine is the MVC’s leading scorer. Evansville will run him off screen after screen to take advantage of his quick release and soft touch. Read More »

St. Louis traffic alert for Wichita State fans

If you are driving to St. Louis on Saturday or Sunday, avoid I-64, which will close (both directions) at 8 p.m. Friday.

According to the MVC: Alternate options to get to Scottrade Center from the west include Interstate 44, Interstate 70, and from Interstate 64 eastbound take I-170 north to Forest Park Parkway east to the Market Street exit.

Shockers pass on rewards

Wichita State did another cover shoot for Sports Illustrated on Tuesday. SI may or may not use the photo, but the story is revealing and shows how the Shockers are handling the attention of this 31-0 season.

SI told coach Gregg Marshall to choose one player to pose with fans. Marshall asked Cleanthony Early, Ron Baker, Fred VanVleet and Tekele Cotton to draw strings, short one gets to pose.

“As we were beginning to do that, the guys chuckled,” Marshall said. “We kind of had a hard time believing they wanted to do another cover shot. But Cleanthony says, ‘I think it should be Tekele.’ Everybody looked at him. ‘The rest of us get more hype. I don’t want to pick.’ That’s the kind of guys we’ve got.”

So, no, Marshall doesn’t worry much about this team’s time in the spotlight.

“I don’t think they could have responded any better,” he said. “It says a lot about the type kids we’ve got and Cleanthony as an individual.”

Cotton, wearing his white jersey, took the picture in Koch Arena on Tuesday morning, surrounded by Shocker fans cheering wildly.

 ”Nobody on our team is selfish,” he said. “People don’t mind giving up something for somebody else. We’re close enough to be able to do that.”