22 years. That’s the number of years that the Wichita State Shockers spent waiting for a chance to play the Kansas Jayhawks. Jayhawks head coach Bill Self refused from several years to have his Jayhawks play the Shockers, but when they match-up in the tournament today, even if Self didn’t mean as a diss to the Shockers, they took it as one without a doubt.
“This isn’t knocking Wichita State,” Self said back in 2013 . “But if it was best for our program, I would reach out to them about scheduling them. But it’s not. I’ve heard a lot of talk about them wanting to play us so bad; Gregg Marshall’s never contacted me about playing.”
“The one thing about being in coaching a long time and coaching at different schools and different levels is the fact that you understand that coaches schedule what’s in the best interest of their program,” Self said. “Nowhere does it say that they are obligated to schedule in the best interest of somebody else’s program that wants to play them.”
Now, let’s get onto the game. The Shockers floor general in Fred VanVleet was today’s top player for the Shockers, as he scored 17 points, grabbed 6 rebounds, and dished out 4 assists. VanVleet’s backcourt member Ron Baker was also very effective, as he added in 12 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists. Another guard for Wichita State was Evan Wessel, who had 12 point and 9 rebounds, which was a near double-double. Shockers forward Darius Carter added 10 points and 4 rebounds in the winning effort.
The Jayhawks had three players that really played good today, but three players of course doesn’t make the difference always. Perry Ellis just missed a double-double, as he had 17 points with 8 rebounds. Frank Mason III had 16 points with 5 rebounds and 1 assists as he and VanVleet were dueling throughout the entire game. Devonte’ Graham was the last Kansas player to score in double figures, as he had 17 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists in Kansas’ 78-65 defeat today.
The Shockers, (30-4), are now headed to the Sweet sixteen to take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Thursday. The Jayhawks, (27-9), are now done for the season.
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