Aloha. Sunday was a day of relative quiet before the eight-team Maui Invitational gets started. The Shockers enjoyed some beach and water on Saturday. Today, coach Gregg Marshall wanted them to rest after practice. Tip is at 10 a.m., local time so the Shockers will be in bed early.
Monday’s schedule (Wichita time): WSU-UConn, 2 p.m. (ESPN2); Oklahoma-Kentucky, 4:30 (ESPN2); Michigan State-Chaminade, 8:30 (ESPNU); Virginia-Washington, 11 p.m. (ESPN2).
I’ve seen Kentucky fans and Wichita State fans and a few from Oklahoma. Washington coach Lorenzo Romar got the biggest applause during Sunday’s free throw contest. I don’t think there’s much doubt Kentucky will represent in a crazy fashion. Wildcat fans are everywhere.
“I hope our Big Blue fans do not get in your way, and jump in front of you in the coffee line,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said.
UConn coach Jim Calhoun got the most laughs when he ended his talk by pumping up Michigan State and Kentucky.
“Obviously, Michigan State should win it going away,” he said. “Tommy’s (Izzo) got one of the finest teams I’ve seen in maybe 10 or 20 years. John’s got more talent than the Celtics.”
The coaches talked. They posed with surfboards. They shot free throws with local kids. Gregg Marshall looked good, making his practice shot and both his real shots. I would pick Virginia’s Tony Bennett in a best-of-10 contest. His shooting form is textbook. Around Maui
Washington senior Venoy Overton is expected to play against Virginia. He is recovering from an injured tail bone suffered last week. There is an interesting back story to Terrence Jones (a Kentucky freshman) and a possible Kentucky-Washington matchup on Tuesday. Calhoun pointed out the contrast in rosters with Wichita State, kind of a warmup act for even better lines later. Percy Allen of The Seattle Times with a more detailed look at the free throw contest.
And if you missed this Watch the replay of Iowa State’s win over Creighton and it is clear the Bluejays got a bad deal. I won’t blame WSU fans for chuckling at the karma angle. More important, however, is that it highlights the MVC’s stumbles in November. It’s bad news when Creighton, picked second or third in the MVC, can’t beat an Iowa State team that is one of the worst in the Big 12. Creighton should get better when transfer Greg Echenique is eligible, but a loss like that one is a killer for the MVC.