Showtime will feature Wichita State men’s basketball, and three other schools, in a five-episode, all-access series that begins in February.
A seven-person production crew will follow the team in practices, road trips and around campus through Selection Sunday. The first episode of “The Road to March Madness” is on Feb. 17 and it continues weekly until March 16. The first four one-hour episodes are at 9 p.m. on Tuesdays with the final one on Monday after the NCAA Tournament bracket is announced.
Showtime will also feature Oklahoma, Maryland and Notre Dame. Maryland is coached by former WSU coach Mark Turgeon. Oklahoma is coached by former Kansas State star and coach Lon Kruger.
WSU associate athletic director John Brewer compared the series to HBO’s “Hard Knocks,” a behind-the-scenes look at NFL teams.
“They kind of took it beyond following one team,” Brewer said. “They wanted to do four teams. They’ll follow us around on the road, practices, team meals. They may follow student-athletes to their dorms and apartments and classes.”
WSU, Brewer said, will have final editing control over content before it is shown. Coach Gregg Marshall approved the series.
“We want to make sure that we’re promoting, and what we’re showing, is accurate, but also make sure it’s not taken out of context,” Brewer said. “We want to protect our brand.”
The crew will start filming on Feb. 5. A production room for the crew is set up in the Koch Arena tunnel.
“It will be neat to see how it all plays out,” Brewer said. “It’s not reality television. It’s not scripted. They are documenting what we do here.”
WSU women add transfer — Rangie Bessard, a transfer from Minnesota, joined WSU’s women’s basketball team for practice this semester and will be eligible for the second semester in 2015-16.
Bessard, a 6-foot forward from Rosharon, Texas, will be eligible for two seasons following 2015-16. She played seven games this season for Minnesota, as a freshman, and scored 14 points on 4-of-9 shooting.
She averaged 14.7 points and 4.9 rebounds for Manvel High as a senior and was named to the All-Greater Houston team by the Houston Chronicle.
Baker on the list — WSU men’s basketball player Ron Baker is one of 17 athletes on the Oscar Robertson Trophy mid-season list, a national Player of the Year honor.
Baker is also a candidate for the Wooden Award and Lute Olson Award. He averages 16.2 points and 4.2 rebounds for the 14th-ranked Shockers.
Teammate Fred VanVleet is also on the watch list for the Lute Olson Award.
▪ WSU’s game against Evansville on Feb. 22 at Koch Arena will tip at 3 p.m. on ESPNU.