No doubt there are a lot of important things happening this weekend. But let’s face it: All that really matters to most Wichitans is that the Shockers are playing Saturday evening in the NCAA men’s basketball semifinals.
And who can blame them? It’s an exciting time to be a Shocker fan.
If Wichita State defeats Louisville, the rest of the weekend will be spent anticipating Monday’s national championship game. And if the Shockers lose – banish the thought – fans will need Sunday to recover from what has been a thrilling ride.
Louisville head coach Rick Pitino said he picked WSU to reach the Final Four, but few others did. That’s what has made the Shockers’ success all the sweeter.
As the rest of the country has learned, the Shockers know how to play basketball. They rely on tough defense, aggressive rebounding, and plenty of grit and determination to wear down opponents.
And as Gonzaga and Ohio State found out, the Shockers aren’t intimidated. Even the freshmen don’t seem fazed about taking three-point shots when the game is on the line.
These are no Cinderellas. Or if they are, they’re angry ones.
The nation also is learning what a good coach Gregg Marshall is. And for that matter, what exactly a “Shocker” is.
Though the men’s team is getting all the attention right now, the Shocker women also had a terrific year. They and head coach Jody Adams won the program’s first conference championship, conference tournament and NCAA berth. Way to go.
Admittedly, it has gotten a little tiring to see all the “shocker” puns in headlines – such “Shock the World” on the cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated. But if WSU wins Saturday and again Monday – scratch that – when WSU wins, the national media can pun to their hearts’ content.
Wichitans won’t mind. We’ll be too busy celebrating.
For the editorial board, Phillip Brownlee