Shocker Coach Gregg Marshall, when asked whether Creighton reportedly leaving the Valley would put sentimentality on its side.
Saturday in St. Louis---
Wichita State had been just 1-8 on Saturday’s in the St. Louis before their win yesterday over Illinois State. The optimist would point out that they’re 2-2 over the last four years, however you slice it—this place hadn’t been kind.
Parting thoughts on Illinois State---
The Redbirds came in with plenty of motivation and they hadn’t been shy talking about it, but WSU’s defensive effort was one for the ages. Particularly stingy was Tekele Cotton’s effort against Taylor Brown. Consider that over his last nine games, Brown had averaged 25.3 points—yesterday he was held to just nine. Cotton, with help from Demetric Williams, shut Brown down by denying him the ball. It was one of the most impressive performances I’ve seen from a Shocker on the defensive end.
The cure for Arch Madness---
Wichita State is holding opponents to just 33 percent shooting in two games and they’ve out rebounded them by 36, win those two battles today and they have a great chance to beat Creighton. The Jays looked a little disinterested on Friday against Drake, but played at a high level in yesterday’s win over Indiana State. As always, the key against Creighton is forcing them outside their comfort range on offense. The Jays are one of the top shooting teams in the country, if they’re comfortable with the shots they’re getting—they’re very hard to beat. Of course disrupting offensive flow is, generally, what Wichita State is all about.
It’ll never be the same---
I suspect that once they leave the Valley for the Big East, Creighton will still find a way to play Wichita State. The fan bases have a healthy dislike for the other, but the teams are, mutually, very respectful as are the coaches. Still, there’s a big difference between a game in December and one in February or March. It would a widely anticipated, but the weight of the outcomes are different when conference title’s hang in the balance.
Which way to sway---
Semifinal Saturday produced the second biggest gate in MVC tournament history and with Wichita State and Creighton going today the place should be jammed. How will the 22,000 swing? Creighton has the largest contingent I’ve ever seen at this tournament, so they’re already ahead of the game. As for the rest of the league’s fans—it’s hard to say. On one hand you have Creighton getting ready to bolt the conference, on the other—let’s just say that WSU is universally loved. It wouldn’t surprise me if most of this crowd went ‘Switzerland’ and just stayed neutral. Maybe something will happen during the game that will sway them.
How conflicted must K-State fans be about Baylor. The Bears rip KSU’s national title hopes from them in football, but help to deliver a share of the Big 12 hoops championship with a blowout of KU. So while losing games to do it wasn’t exactly in the script—KU celebrates its ninth straight conference championship, while KSU win its first title since 1977.
Congratulations to the Wichita State women on their first ever Missouri Valley Conference basketball title. The Shockers claimed the hardware with a nice win at Missouri State and are the top seed heading into next weekend’s MVC tourney. It’s a tournament that they will probably have to win to cash that first ever ticket to the NCAA, but they can worry about that then—now it’s time to celebrate a job well done.