Before they were Shockers II

Last year at the Final Four, I put together a blog post that gave us a glimpse into the careers of Wichita State players, pre-WSU: Before they were Shockers.

And like anything even sort-of popular, it deserves a sequel.

So here’s one from St. Louis – Before they were Shockers II: Electric Bugaloo

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Greg Shaheen answers your geography question

Greg Shaheen played a major role in running the NCAA Tournament for 12 years before leaving the NCAA. He is on Twitter and apparently took many questions from people who, like myself, found it odd that top-seeded Wichita State could potentially be placed at a geographic disadvantage (primarily by playing games closer to Kentucky than Kansas) against lower-seeded teams.

Shaheen, on Twitter, explains that the committee only geographically protects the top seed in its first game.

 

All the Cleanthony you could want

The Wichita Eagle’s Tony Adame spent much of last week in New York for his story on Wichita State’s Cleanthony Early.

Words. Photo. Video. It’s all there.

“You want to talk about playing angry?” Pine Bush High principal Aaron Hopmayer asks. “That’s hilarious to me. I tell Cle I’ve never seen him angry in his whole life! Seriously, though, I’m so proud of the man he’s become. Of the leader he’s become. He’s a tremendous success story. You’re talking to a kid about going to college and they’re on the fence, you point to Cle.”

 

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 Kansas.com

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 CBSSports.com 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 Syracuse.com – 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.
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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 Kansas.com

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 »

Shocker fan fashion: Frilly scarves, fuzzy heads

Frilly Shocker scarf: Don't leave Wichita without it.

Frilly Shocker scarf: Don’t leave Wichita without it.

Cruising the Shocker fan section at Scottrade Center in St. Louis this weekend, I couldn’t help but notice some definite trends in Shockerwear.

Ladies, you’re nobody if you don’t have one of these frilly black-n-yellow scarves. And I’m told they’re pretty easy to make.

For the menfolk, a must-have this undefeated season appears to be this fuzzy hat band. The item is inexpensive in Wichita fan shops and slips easily onto the standard ballcap, making  insta-Shocker-fuzz sprout from the cranial region. And it knows no age limit. The Wu-shag is donned equally well by both seniors in college and senior citizens.

Bill Cox has the fuzz, and he isn't afraid to wear it.

Bill Cox has the fuzz, and he isn’t afraid to wear it.

Willing to take a runway risk?  The black-and-gold overalls appear to be a thing again this year, or they are for Larry Boll, who was hard to miss even in all that Shocker color.

Shocker Evan Wessel’s brother Trevor Wessel didn’t want to look like all the other Shocker fans, so he used his noggin and came up with a Shocker-themed hard-hat. This trend doesn’t appear to be catching on yet, but give it time. There’s always the NCAA tournament. Read More »