For What It's Worth: January 25th

For What it’s Worth on this January 25 --- Repeating history?  Gregg Marshall hasn’t dominated the Missouri Valley Conference in the same way that he did the Big South…yet. Marshall won six conference titles in nine seasons at Winthrop, he’s only won once in five tries in Valley—but take away his first two seasons for rebuilding and an impressive picture takes form. In the last three seasons the Shockers have won the MVC once and finished second twice. Throw in their conference leading start this year and WSU has won nine more games than their nearest pursuer.

MVC wins since 2009-’10:

Wichita State: 49 Creighton: 40 UNI: 38 Missouri St: 35 Indiana St.: 34

Greensboro memories:

The practice day before the start of the 2006 NCAA Tourney in Greensboro was my first personal exposure to Marshall. Among the eight teams in that regional were WSU, Seton Hall, Tennessee, Winthrop, Duke, UNC-Wilmington and George Washington. Sitting through nearly eight hours of practice that day, it struck me that the most impressive team physically—was Winthrop. They just ‘looked’ more mature and strong than anyone else in the field. Watching them the next day against Bruce Pearl’s Tennessee Vol’s I remember thinking that the better matchup for the Shockers would be Tennessee, the 2nd seed, instead of number 15 Winthrop. It turns out that ‘Rocky Top’ needed a contested three-pointer from the corner in the waning seconds to win. Two days later Wichita State upset the Vol’s to reach the Sweet 16, two years later Marshall became the Shocker coach.

Not much has changed---

It’s funny; my observation on that day nearly seven years ago continues to be echoed around the Valley. It’s amazing how much you hear opposing coaches talking about the Shockers physicality and athleticism. Even Creighton’s Gregg McDermott, last weekend, was lamenting his team’s athleticism as compared to the Shockers.

Lonely at the top---

With the win at Missouri State, Demetric Williams has been a part of 99 victories at Wichita State, more than any other Shocker. He had shared that distinction with former teammates Garrett Stutz, David Kyles and Toure Murry—now it looks as though he’ll run away and hide with it. The Shockers have, at least, 13 more games to play and they’ll be favored in virtually all of them.

Crying game---

I don’t know how many of you remember the movie ‘The Crying Game’ – but it had the same creep factor as the latest turn in the Manti Te’o saga. One of the weirdest stories ever took a turn towards the bizarre when it was disclosed that the “girl” the Notre Dame linebacker had been talking to for so long…was actually a guy. Can you imagine the amount of….ribbing…. this guy’s going to get in an NFL camp. The possibilities are endless, he’s going to have to really suck it up and grow some thick skin.

Another sign of age---

The X Games are going on and I find myself not caring. To me these are nothing more than contrived competitions made for and by ESPN. That’s not to say that there aren’t some really rad jocks in the half-pipe---did that sound young? I’m barely ok with it, until I start seeing guys doing flips on snowmobiles.

Countdown to kickoff---

Did you see the note in USA Today earlier this week? Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis’ first sack in the NFL came against Jim Harbaugh, now the coach of the San Francisco 49ers.