Since the WSU Shockers first lost to a ranked Alabama team and then to a tough Temple team, they have not lost a game. They won 6 straight games since starting out at 2-2. They decidedly destroyed ranked UNLV by 19 points in the most perfectly played game I have ever seen. The Shockers followed that with its first road win against potentially strong Tulsa, and then defeated a determined Utah State coached by Stew Morrill at home in Koch Arena. The latest game was a 50 point win at home against win-less Chicago State.
Gregg Marshall has brought his brand of team basketball to Kansas. He recruits speed, length, strength and those players who are willing to play defense before offense. His style of basketball helped him win the 2011 NIT, should result in winning the 2011-2012 MVC Title and a possible run of victories in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. This opens up the question of whether this team could be a VCU of last year or a Butler? The answer is a resounding YES if the game against UNLV is any indication of what could be.
Wichita State has lost 5 seniors from the NIT Championship team, so the beginning of this season was a big question mark. The answer has come in aces from the returning players and seniors. Joe Ragland started slow but is now scoring, playing defense and leading a team that has learned what TEAM BALL is all about.
Taking a charge on defense will get you cheers at Koch Arena. Passing the ball in an offensive set for a better shot will get the same crazy response. The wild, boisterous, and basketball savvy fans in Wichita, Kansas love defense first because it always leads to offensive play (MTXE) that results in scoring at a high percentage (46%) currently. This is Marshall Team Ball unselfishly in action.
Team basketball requires each player to be aware of every player on the floor, knowledge of Marshall’s multitude of plays, and players willing to sacrifice being a star to earn assists, make the extra pass, give up the body for a charge, and NEVER ever accept defeat as a team.
Joe Ragland and Carl Hall (both receiving MVC honors over a week ago), along with David Kyles, Garrett Stutz, Toure Murry and Ben Smith are educating the newcomers on the Marshall Plan. If this trend continues Wichita State, and the State of Kansas, could be hoisting another Championship trophy within the next 4 years. Wichita State could then unfurl an NCAA Division I Championship banner in the rafters at Koch Arena.
The future of WSU with Gregg Marshall at the helm is very bright. I hope and pray that Wichita State, along with the City of Wichita, can find the money to keep Coach Marshall here to complete his PLAN. Then maybe this year’s team can shake the Mid-Major moniker and become a true Non-BCS power program for years to come.