Wichita State men’s basketball coach Gregg Marshall is gaining a reputation for pressing whatever buttons necessary for his Shockers to play angry.
Marshall might even coach mad. Or maybe there are instances of feigned anger in which the coach’s scripted scowls run even with the genuine article by game’s end.
Hard to tell, really, because Wichita State is Wichita State — a rarely televised entity both here and in most of the United States.
Not a slap in the face. Simple reality. Even in Kansas, a state best known for Jayhawks basketball and sleep-inducing ribbons of highway, the Shockers are the third hoops priority after Kansas and Kansas State.
Maybe that’s where the anger comes from.
We know Wichita State is good. Really, really good. But as a member of the Missouri Valley Conference, names, faces, uniform designs and even Marshall himself aren’t nearly as obvious to us as the Dukes, Syracuses and Kentuckys.
This could change if Wichita State’s “Us versus World” mentality winds up producing a national championship.
Should the 29-0 Shockers produce such magic with an undefeated record, we’re talking magazine covers, countless television appearances and the chairs right of Letterman, Fallon and Conan.
Rock stars those Shock stars.
The chances of Wichita State pulling this off seem remote considering it’s been 38 years since Indiana University’s legendary 1975-76 Hoosiers ran the table.
But, boy, would I love to see it.
People often forget the Shockers advanced to the 2013 Final Four in the Georgia Dome, losing, 72-68, to eventual titlist Louisville in the first semifinal.
A basket here, one less turnover there. That could have been them.
What wasn’t might soon be.
What March has in store won’t intimidate this group. Same goes for April, should Wichita State make it that far.
So throw another log on those internal fires, Shockers, and worry about anger management classes later.
Right now you’re exactly what college basketball needs.
PACERS’ TIME IS NOW: Danny Granger spent eight-plus seasons in blue and gold, and has the 9,915 points to prove it.
The sweet-shooting 6-foot-9 swingman gave his all for a franchise he never embarrassed. However, as a 30-year-old whose best seasons are clearly behind him, an injury-slowed Granger had entered a vulnerable phase of his career.
It would be foolish not to respect or maybe even applaud Granger’s efforts since breaking into the league in 2005.
But Larry Bird is a businessman paid handsomely to make difficult decisions.
Last week’s trade of Granger to Philadelphia for 6-7 Evan Turner and 6-9 power forward Lavoy Allen made Indiana younger and better in a relatively short period of time.
The 2014 NBA Championship still remains Miami’s to lose. The Heat are king of the proverbial hill until someone boots them to the curb.
Indiana nearly did it a year ago with a group not as talented as this one. The Turner deal proves once again that Bird is tired of waiting for another ring.