For What It's Worth: February 28th


For What it’s Worth---February 28 -- They filed out in silence, not sure of what they’d just seen, but positive that they didn’t want to see it anymore.

What a difference three days makes---

Wichita State went from 94 points scored against Detroit last weekend, to just 56 last night with Evansville. The Shockers never looked comfortable on the offensive end, making silly turnovers, missing shots at the rim, generally not executing. Did the moment catch up with them? Was the opportunity too much to with? Why couldn’t they handle the prosperity? Gregg Marshall gets paid a $1M a year to figure that out.

Credit where it’s due---

Yes, you tip your hat to Evansville—especially after they lost Ned Cox, their second leading scorer. But the final outcome had more to do with the Shockers than it did the Aces. Wichita State was 15-1 at home, playing against a team which came in with just one conference road win. The Shockers had a decided size advantage, as evidenced by a 42-23 advantage on the glass, yet they could do virtually nothing inside all game. At Evansville it was 22 turnovers that did them in, last night it was 34 percent shooting and one big pit in their stomach that they couldn’t overcome.

Marty ball---

I’m not sure that Evansville’s Marty Simmons can recruit, but he can sure coach. When his team was sucking wind last night, starting to crumble in the Shocker comeback—he took a full timeout right at the 8:00 mark of the second half, knowing that at the next dead ball his team was going to get another break at the media timeout. The Aces regained the lead shortly thereafter and never relinquished it.

It’s too bad Evansville wasn’t a little better---

Doug McDermott of Creighton will be the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year and I won’t have a single problem with it. But I’m not so sure that Evansville’s Colt Ryan isn’t the league’s best player. He scorched the Shockers for 29 points last night, but it never felt like he was trying to do too much. The senior’s movement away from the ball is impressive, Evansville runs a ton of stuff for him, but he works hard coming off picks and cuts hard to the basket. He’s not a great defender, but he works harder than many scorers on that end. At 6’5 I wonder if he has the tools to play in the NBA, he certainly has the game.

Falling dominos---

Instead of clinching no worse than a share of the Valley title, the Shockers head to Creighton Saturday afternoon for a ‘winner take all’ affair. Beyond that, it would be hard to imagine that WSU hasn’t fallen to the NCAA bubble. If the loss had come Saturday at Creighton instead of last night it wouldn’t have had as big of affect. Losing at home to a relatively high RPI doesn’t do you any favors with the selection committee, but on the road against a top 40 team—your resume can survive that one. Of course, go to Omaha this weekend and win---and all is forgotten. Well, almost all.

Mr. Smith goes to Kansas City---

The Chiefs are paying a steep price for Alex Smith, but they had to give to get—especially since the 49ers knew how badly Kansas City needed a quarterback. What is it about the ‘Niners and Chiefs anyhow? Former Forty-Niner signal callers to play in Kansas City: Steve Bono, Joe Montana, Elvis Grbac, Steve DeBerg. It’s funny that the pipeline doesn’t seem to go the other way. I like Alex Smith, but can Andy Reid be the same kind of mentor to him as Jim Harbaugh was? Remember, before Harbaugh arrived in San Francisco Smith was amongst the greatest draft busts in NFL history.

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