Maybe it was the fact Marshall’s speeches seemed so authentic, his words bordering on prophetic that made me want to see Wichita State drum Kentucky Sunday. “Play angry, play for each other.”Maybe it was the little dog in the big fight that had me clambering onto the Shocker bandwagon, or maybe it was simply the fact that, as a Hoosier, I’m blessed with a bottomless reservoir of hatred for the Wildcats.
Either way it was short lived. In the end Kentucky’s thoroughbreds thundered past the Shockers. Thirty five wins and a cloud of dust. Still the power of the team isn’t lost. What five players, five recruits the big schools barely knew existed, connected on both ends of the floor can do, even when pitted against the best recruiting class in NCAA history.
They took Kentucky to the edge. They mussed Calipari’s perfect hair. And though they came up short on the scoreboard, Gregg Marshall did more than put Wichita State back on the map, he reminded us all what college basketball is supposed to be. Players committed to each other, committed to the name on the front of the jersey.
Players thinking, acting, responding and moving as one. In today’s land of one and dones, Wichita State was ice cold lemonade on the Fourth of July, proving Marshall’s blueprint, while not the most popular, remains time tested.