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Yael T. Abouhalkah: WSU deserves a shot at KU

  • Kansas City Star
  • Published Thursday, March 27, 2014, at 12 a.m.

University of Kansas basketball fans and coach Bill Self won’t like hearing this contention: For the past two years Wichita State University has gotten as much deserved national acclaim as the Jayhawks, if not more.

The Shockers have a 65-10 record over two years and a Final Four appearance in 2013, and had an NCAA-record 35-0 start to this season before losing a hard-fought contest to talented Kentucky on Sunday.

In fact, WSU’s game with Kentucky helped prove what a great team the Shockers had this year.

As a result of the past two years’ worth of results, WSU fans could argue they have taken over as the best college team in Kansas (KU is 56-16 in that same span).

As a KU alum, I’ll quickly point out that the Jayhawks have a lot better record over their lifetime than the Shockers, with many more NCAA wins and league championships. And playing in the Big 12 is a lot tougher than in the Missouri Valley Conference.

Still, the modern-day KU team didn’t help its ability to boast that it’s even the best team in Kansas on Sunday, suffering a 60-57 upset loss to Stanford.

So that brings us back to the raging controversy at Wichita State and even sometimes in the Legislature: When will KU play WSU?

Self and many KU fans don’t appear to want to get on the same court with the Shockers. But the excuses are starting to wear thin.

This would be a great game for residents throughout the state to watch.

KU fans like to say they don’t have anything to gain by having their Jayhawks play WSU. Yet the national attention WSU has received would guarantee this would be a marquee game if played in the next year or two.

KU ought to give WSU a shot at playing it in front of a capacity crowd somewhere.

And when KU wins, we can all go back to ignoring Wichita State, right?

Yael T. Abouhalkah writes for the Kansas City Star.

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