For What It's Worth: Shockers Charting Atlanta

(ATLANTA, Ga.)

My 14-year-old son was very concerned when he learned that Wichita State was on the cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated. “What about the Sports Illustrated jinx”, he asked with a straight face. I told him that it was a regional cover and that Louisville had a cover in its region, too — he was genuinely relieved.

Sentimental favorites---

As if Louisville needed more of an edge, they now have one in playing for their fallen teammate Kevin Ware. I’m not sure if any team needs more motivation that what being in the Final Four produces naturally. I thought the Shockers had a chance to fill the role. After their win over Ohio State, it was obvious that they had swayed the locals. As we worked into the night at the Staples Center worker after worker walked by humming ‘You don’t want to go to war with the Shockers’.

Maybe that will transfer to Atlanta, but I don’t see how anything could possibly overshadow Ware’s injury—nor should it.

That play may have produced the most sickening moment of live television sports in history. How could anyone cheer against that kid?

Matchup---

You’re going to hear a lot about Louisville’s press, if you haven’t already. The national press has already asked Gregg Marshall about how he’s preparing for it, how he approximating the Cardinal’s length and speed—as if they haven’t seen anything like it all season.  But they have—kind of.

VCU may have the nation’s second best press and the Shockers handled it well, committing just 13 turnovers in a two point win. Gregg Marshall didn’t attack the basket as much after breaking the press in that game as much as he might against Louisville.

Although, my guess is that the Shockers would be content in a half-court game with the Cardinals which want to speed you up. It’s tough to get into a track meet with them, better to try and neutralize their speed in their offensive sets instead of transition.

WSU wants Louisville to settle for jump shots—do that and you chances to win increase greatly.

On Sports Daily Thursday---

Illinois State Head Coach Dan Muller joins us on Sports Daily at 10:00am today (1240AM/98.7 FM); his Redbirds had a chance to tie in its last possession at Louisville in December, only to lose by three. Granted, teams change a lot from December to April, but I’m looking forward to his insight.

Future Shock---

There’s been a lot of speculation about how Wichita State’s run into the Final Four might affect their recruiting and it’s a good question. One guy that was coming anyway is Shaquille Morris of Edmond Memorial High School in Oklahoma.

The 6’8 power forward is the top ranked player in Oklahoma and is a top 50 player nationally who lead Memorial to the state championship. One can only imagine how much fun he’s having with the Shocker success especially since he’s right in the backyard of both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

When next we see them---

The Shockers left for Atlanta last night and will have had two practices before they even get over to the Georgia Dome on Friday. They’re trying to maintain the exact same routine as the last two stops in Salt Lake City and Los Angeles, but there’s nothing routine about the Final Four.

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