After Further Review: Big schools too Shocked to schedule WSU

Trevin Edelman

With March Madness in full swing, Kansans all throughout the state had their eyes set on the possible matchup between perennial hoops powerhouse Kansas Jayhawks and the new kid on the block, Wichita State Wheat Shockers. Luckily for the sports fans in the Sunflower State, we got the matchup in the round of 32. Wichita State beat Indiana in their first game and Kansas did the same with New Mexico State.

Sunday, the Shockers beat Kansas in their first meeting since 1993. Although it has been 22 years since the last meeting, it wasn’t without a vocal criticism from Wichita State head man, Gregg Marshall. The 52-year-old head coach has mentioned multiple times in the past few years that they deserve a chance to play the other two Division I schools in the state. Despite the push from Marshall, the two bigger institutions, Kansas and Kansas State, have not added Wichita State to their basketball schedules.

As always, there are two sides to the story. For Wichita State, they have no doubt had success in recent years, reaching the Final Four in 2013 and winning the NIT in 2011. They feel like that success is enough to earn them an annual matchup with the bigger state schools. For the bigger schools in question, it’s a matter of perception. The perception of their program can only be hurt if they play Wichita State and lose. They also gain more by filling their nonconference schedule with schools in larger cities that they can use to attract players from those larger talent pools.

As we saw in the game on Sunday, the outcome is not as obvious as we might think. Should we get to see Wichita State take on Kansas every year? Is this run of five years long enough to make Kansas State want to add Wichita State as an annual opponent? I, for one, am not sure we are there yet.

The talent that is at Wichita State right now is fantastic, both on the floor and at the head coaching position. While this is great, the level of play is going to have to stay high for a couple more years. This could just be a case of a blind squirrel finding a nut once in a while or it could be the start of a program that will remain in contention every year. If the Shockers can prove year in and year out that they are a power, they will leave Kansas and Kansas State no choice but to put them on the schedule.