Links to national and regional stories about Wichita State, the AAC and the MVC:
Las Cruces Sun-News: Jans, 48, was not shy on Monday about his past and the incident that got him dismissed from Bowling Green. An internal investigation by Bowling Green State University revealed Jans exhibited drunken and inappropriate behavior during the incident on March 21, 2015 and video from the incident that was sent to BGSU shows him patting a woman on the buttocks.
Las Cruces Sun-News: Jans has been described as a quality coach with a questionable past. He was fired from Bowling Green in 2015 after a 21-12 season in his only year as a Division I head coach based on inappropriate conduct involving two women in a Bowling Green bar in March of 2015.
Albuquerque Journal: The guy who wanted to hire him called the guy who two years ago decided to fire him. Naturally, since it deals with the New Mexico State Aggies, the conversation took place with one being on a shotgun range.
The Tennessean: The rumor mill kicked into high gear when college basketball data guru Ken Pomeroy told the Des Moines Register he felt Belmont was the best fit for a number of reasons, including helping the MVC stretch its footprint into the Nashville market.
Cedar Rapids Gazette: It’s also another significant blow for the MVC, which lost traditional power Creighton to the Big East in 2013. Massive conference realignment has not been the Missouri Valley’s friend.
League presidents and athletics directors reportedly had an emergency meeting with commissioner Doug Elgin over the weekend to discuss Wichita’s departure and how to move forward. No one is talking about it publicly.
New York Post: Baker has been one of the few bright spots in another dismal Knicks season, emerging as a potential piece for the future, a ball-moving guard who plays hard on the defensive end and has gotten better the more he has played.
Dailyknicks.com: Sooner rather than later, he found himself in the middle of the whirlwind of uncertainty that is the New York Knicks. In the midst of it all, Baker has possibly altered the course of the Knicks’ future.
Postingandtoasting.com: Ron Baker thrilled the hep basketball world on Monday afternoon by taking part in a Reddit AMA session. He dished on his Knicks teammates, his love of Hyundai and hair products.
New York Times: Baker prefers movies to plays. He is the Knicks’ movie guru — appropriate for a player whose teammates nicknamed him Ron Burgundy after a character in “Anchorman.”
Tulsa World: WSU is an “it” program right now, with an “it” coach in Gregg Marshall. The Shockers draw your attention, which gives opponents a big opportunity to do the same. But you have to perform.
Tulsa World: While UConn has faded, and while the University of Tulsa hasn’t recorded an NCAA Tournament victory since 2003, Marshall and the Shockers have sustained high levels of success.
Sports Illustrated: It made sense because we wouldn't be going back to that old model that I didn't like, the multiple basketball-only school model. You never say never, and so I'd hate to say that we'd never think about it again, but it really is a difficult situation when you have a group of schools that have a different outlook. And Wichita really fits our profile better than, say, a small private school would.
Rocky Mountain Collegian: After missing out on Wichita State, the Mountain West would be wise to look for other expansion candidates, but conference commissioner Craig Thompson has made it clear that the league is content with its current members.
Time will tell how WSU will fair in the AAC, but I would not bet against Marshall or the Shockers. One thing thing is for sure, there will be plenty of Mountain West hoops fans thinking “what if” over the next couple years.
Washington Post: The AAC, meanwhile, will now have 12 teams for basketball and bolsters its roster with a program that has made six straight NCAA tournaments under Coach Gregg Marshall, including an undefeated regular season and run to the Final Four in 2013.
Terre Haute Tribune Star: The question isn't whether the MVC adds teams, but who they add and how many? The league has long tried to keep its membership at 10 to have an 18-game round-robin basketball schedule. However, it is possible, perhaps probable, that the league may expand beyond 10 schools to a 12-school membership or more. Several sources league-wide have mentioned that this is a possible scenario.
Gary Parrish: What Wichita State’s move from the Missouri Valley Conference to the American Athletic Conference creates is a close-to-perfect marriage between two entities that needed each other.
CBSports.com: So the MVC must turn forward. Who should the Valley go and get? There are some options out there, none of which can fully fill in the void left by Wichita State, but the candidates that Missouri Valley commissioner Doug Elgin, and his associates, should consider are very good.
Hartford Courant: The conference took a half-step, adding Navy as a football-only member for 2015. Now, Wichita State, which dropped football in 1986, comes in to give the conference 12 members in men’s and women’s basketball. But if you’re waiting for the American to go after Atlantic 10 basketball programs like Dayton or Virginia Commonwealth, Aresco suggested that is not happening. Any future expansion would favor schools that play football and basketball.
Kansas City Star: With Wichita State leaving the Missouri Valley Conference to join the American Athletic Conference, UMKC has its hand raised to fill the void.
Baseball America: In addition to its basketball success, Wichita State has a rich baseball tradition, including the 1989 national championship and seven appearances in the College World Series.
Memphis Commercial Appeal: Given its recent success in men’s basketball, this move provides Memphis with another quality league opponent and more potential revenue from the AAC. The NCAA annually distributes money to conferences based on their recent performance in the NCAA tournament. Aresco, however, declined to discuss the exact financial details related to Wichita State’s arrival in the league.
USA Today: It begs the question, is the AAC being shortsighted in adding Wichita, especially considering the school is lacking football — the biggest cash cow in all of college athletics? Maybe. And there’s promise but absolutely no guaranteeing this move keeps Marshall at the helm of the program for a decade or even another few seasons.
FanRagsports.com: The question now is, how does this conference raise the bar and become an annual four-to-five bid league with the metrics that will allow it to be properly seeded in the NCAA Tournament (SMU and Cincinnati both received six seeds last month in the field of 68)?
Jon Rothstein: The Missouri Valley Conference is targeting both Valparaiso and Murray State as potential additions following Wichita State’s departure to the American Athletic Conference, multiple sources told FanRag Sports.
CBSSports.com: Wichita State has accepted an invitation to join the American Athletic Conference in time for the 2017-18 season, a source told CBS Sports.
ESPN.com: Wichita State is expected to accept the AAC’s invitation and leave the Missouri Valley Conference, where the Shockers have been members since 1945, sources said.
FanRagsports.com: The Shockers become the 12th program in the league. They join Central Florida, Cincinnati, Connecticut, East Carolina, Houston, Memphis, South Florida, SMU, Temple, Tulane and Tulsa as current conference members.
The Sporting News: The Shockers were outstanding this year, rolling up a 31-5 record and pushing No. 2 seed Kentucky to the brink in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, and everybody’s back for Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall.
New York Post: Baker’s value would increase immeasurably if he establishes himself as a point guard. Scouts believe as a strict shooting guard, he’s not a good enough outside shooter (29 percent on 3s). For Jackson, the most vital attribute he proved has been competently defending quick point guards by using physicality.
Newsday: The Knicks likely will be that team going forward, but with the way he plays hard, defends and competes, Baker is putting himself on some coach’s wish list and executive’s radar. The Knicks probably won’t be the only team looking to sign Baker when he becomes a restricted free agent this summer.
New York Daily News: Baker, who started at point guard and more than held his own against Miami’s Goran Dragic, has worked his way into the Knicks’ plans although as a restricted free agent he could receive a bigger offer elsewhere.
Hartford Courant: But if Wichita State, or another non-football school such as Dayton or Virginia Commonwealth, were to join the AAC, UConn could leave its football where it is and move its other programs without leaving the AAC short of participating schools. But the conference presidents would have to approve such an exit, and it is considered highly unlikely it would.
UConn Daily Campus: But this may not be the case of a strong program, but the case of a strong coach. Head coach Gregg Marshall has led Wichita State to considerable relevance over his 10-year tenure, but before he made his first appearance in the tournament with the Shockers in 2012, the program had only been there once (2006) since the year 1988.
The Southern: The next obvious question, what does the Valley do if Wichita State leaves?
Does the MVC stand pat? That seems unlikely. Valparaiso, North Dakota State and South Dakota State are frequently mentioned as possible replacements.
The bigger question, who in the Valley has the resources and ability to become the next Wichita State?
Lexington Herald-Leader: Wichita State’s Conner Frankamp inbounded the ball to Landry Shamet, who had a game-high 20 points. De’Aaron Fox picked up Shamet deep in the backcourt and stayed with him all the way across halfcourt. Shamet dribbled in the direction of the Shockers’ bench, and that’s when 6-foot-7 forward Rashard Kelly set a screen on Fox. Dominique Hawkins took Shamet from there.
Lexington Herald-Leader: Shockers Coach Gregg Marshall bragged Saturday about his “three-headed monster” at the center position and — noting that he was sure Adebayo is in great shape — said that the UK big man would need to be in great shape for Wichita State.
New York Times: The Knicks selected (Dave) Stallworth in the first round of the 1965 draft after acquiring Bill Bradley. Stallworth was the runner-up for the N.B.A.’s Rookie of the Year Award, behind the San Francisco Warriors’ Rick Barry, but he usually came off the bench to play forward in his Knicks career.
Pro Basketball Talk: Stallworth video.
Dallas Morning News: Far less known are the facts that (Dave) Stallworth was born in Dallas in 1941 and starred at Madison High School in the early 1960s. That is because Stallworth endured a similar fate as another Dallasite, Booker T. Washington High product Ernie Banks, who was born a decade earlier.
Indianapolis Star: They were the disrespected, under-seeded team no one wanted to play. And they showed why in the second half Saturday night.
Chicago Tribune: It’s a drum Marshall beats often, but programs from outside the Power Five conferences apparently need him to beat even louder.
Wichita State — which improved to 31-4 with its 64-58 victory — drew a No. 10 seed from the selection committee. Dayton (24-8) drew a No. 7 seed.
The Sunflower: Wichita State looked anything but themselves and Rashard Kelly knew it.
Kelly, a junior forward, pulled together his teammates, many of which hadn’t ever played in an NCAA Tournament game, and asked them to turn up the defensive intensity.
The Shockers trailed Dayton by five points. Wichita State hadn’t scored in more than five minutes and the 3-pointers weren’t falling — they were shooting just nine percent from long distance.
Dayton Daily News: The Dayton Flyers went nearly eight minutes without a field goal in the second half Friday night, enabling Wichita State to pull away for a 64-58 victory in an NCAA tournament first-round game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Lexington Herald-Leader: Wichita State will be a challenge Sunday and not just from the revenge standpoint. No doubt the Shockers would love nothing more than to bounce 30-5 Kentucky from the tournament the same way UK knocked out then undefeated Wichita State in the second round of the 2014 tournament.
Lexington Herald-Leader: The day before the Norse made their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament — in their first season of eligibility, no less — NKU’s players talked about how the number of students wearing UK shirts on their campus, which is just 85 miles north of Lexington, dwindled as the season wore on.
Louisville Courier Journal: John Calipari yelled, begged and pleaded for his Kentucky players to drive to the basket or pass into the paint to forward Bam Adebayo.
Sometimes the No. 2 seed Wildcats obliged their Hall of Fame coach in the 79-70 victory against 15th-seeded Northern Kentucky on Friday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Other times, Calipari had to yell some more.
Louisville Courier-Journal: A couple of encouraging trends from the SEC tournament rolled into Friday night for Kentucky. De’Aaron Fox continued to play well and prove he’s back healthy, scoring a team-high 19 points on 8-of-15 shooting.
Sports Illustrated: Pushing Cinderella out of the NCAA tournament robs it of its essence and gives us 48-hour stretches of milquetoast basketball like we’ve experienced this week. There’s myriad reasons for the shift away from smaller schools—scheduling issues, up-transfers and the monetary gap being among them. Also, schools like Xavier, Creighton, Butler, Davidson, VCU and George Mason have upgraded from lower leagues that they used to dominate, giving the selection committee less quality mid- and low-major schools to choose from.
Johnson City Press: As anybody who has watched (Steve) Forbes put his team together knows, the parts with which he’ll reload can come from anywhere. He has more connections than a commuter airline, and those connections will surely come in handy in the coming months.
Dayton Daily News: Kendall Pollard watched ESPN this week and saw everybody picking against the Dayton Flyers.
“Jay Bilas, Vitale, Obama,” said Pollard, thus becoming the first person to ever put those three names in a row.
Dayton Daily News: “We’re gonna shock the world.”
Ron Baker: Which brings me back to Play Angry.
It’s really more of a mindset than something literal. It’s hard to describe in one word, so the best way to Play Angry is probably just to tell a story.
Sports Illustrated: It’s becoming increasingly apparent that a confluence of Wichita’s recent success, the history of programs with similar profiles and the current trends of the NCAA tournament selection committee will drive the Shockers to a higher-profile conference. Conversations with sources around college sports this week revealed Wichita upgrading its league—likely to the American Athletic Conference—as a distinct possibility in the near future.
Sports Illustrated: There are few candidates on the board who could potentially win the way Knight did at Indiana. No one will ever question Marshall’s fire, coaching acumen and ability to identify and develop players. But multiple athletic directors who’ve explored him as a candidate over the years have come away squeamish, as he’s as overbearing as he is talented.
Indianapolis Star: He was a speedy guard on Wooden’s Indiana State Teachers College team – the team you now know as Indiana State – and the only black player on the 11-man roster. He’d arrived in Terre Haute in the fall of 1946, a simple man with a simple dream: earn his degree, return home to East Chicago, marry his high school sweetheart, start a family. He wasn’t looking to make history. He wasn’t running from it, either.
Sports Illustrated: Someone asked Steve Forbes on Wednesday why everyone seemed so interested in East Tennessee State. The second-year Buccaneers coach had called into Jim Rome’s national radio show Tuesday. A handful of the dozens of interviews he conducted this week formed the basis for features in national publications. There are plenty of mid-major conference tournament champs in the NCAA tournament. Why would this one garner so much attention? Forbes attempted to explain.
Rock Hill Herald: Gregg Marshall, former Winthrop coach: We had gotten so close. That Tennessee game was certainly a game we could have won. Even the year before, the Gonzaga game, we could have won that too. We didn’t make a play down the stretch. So, to come so close our whole team knew that we were a capable team and we had great potential, but we just had to finish.
The Pantagraph: Maybe Illinois State’s basketball team wasn’t try to send the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee a message Wednesday night. The Redbirds’ 3-point shooting and healthy dose of dunks sure felt like it, especially to UC Irvine.
Chicago Tribune: Gregg Marshall’s squad was done a serious disservice by matching the Shockers up against No. 7 Dayton and then, in epic trolling fashion for the Wildcats, No. 2 Kentucky. And that’s a shame because Wichita State, which would be a No. 2 if the committee seeded the field according to Ken Pomeroy’s rankings, has the potential to crack the Elite Eight, where a possible meeting would await with UNC.
Columbus Dispatch: (Jeremiah) Bonsu didn’t make his Pickerington North team until his senior year. He scored a grand total of one point for the Panthers. Bonsu was grateful to become a team manager for the Flyers. But he never quite gave up on his dream of being on the team and spent much of his free time at the gym working on his game.
Dayton Daily News: Ben Sander would know better than anyone in the Dayton Flyers program the last time the team took a bus to a road game. The second-year graduate assistant manager from Cincinnati handles all the travel plans. He knows when the team has to leave. He knows when it will return. He plans meals and practice times, you name it.
Washington Post: Coach Dan Muller did some justifiable grandstanding Monday morning, and who could blame him? The Redbirds went 27-6, cruised through the non-Wichita precincts of the Missouri Valley and couldn’t get the attention of the selection committee.
Dayton Daily News: No. 7 seeds win 61 percent of the time. The Shockers are not your typical 10 seed, of course. They are a six-point favorite against Dayton and have a 69 percent chance of winning, according to FiveThirtyEight.com.
ESPN: SVP tries to figure out why Wichita State continues to get disregarded by the selection committee despite the program’s incredible run of success over the past five years.
USA Today: On paper, there’s no arguing Kentucky is a much better team talent-wise, with elite freshmen Malik Monk, De’Aaron Fox and Bam Adebayo, who combined for nearly 50 points a game. But the Shockers will have payback from 2014 (a loss to Kentucky ending their undefeated season) as their motivation.
Lexington Herald-Leader: That sounded like Calipari did not see the Selection Committee literally conspiring to thwart Kentucky. He was trying to foster and use the perception of an unfair process to stir his players. That might be especially timely when the Cats are an overwhelming favorite in an opening game, as they will be Friday night against Northern Kentucky.
Johnson City Press: Folks in the ETSU community know Forbes is going to be a hot commodity after leading the Bucs to a 27-win season and the 10th NCAA Tournament bid in school history.
Chances are, bigger schools are going to come calling when the NCAA Tournament is over.
Charleston Post and Courier: “I thought we made a lot of mistakes, especially defensively in the first half,” said College of Charleston coach Earl Grant. “We gave them too many easy open baskets at the rim and they got too many offensive rebounds. We just didn’t play defensively the way we’ve played most of the season.”
The Pantagraph: Instead, the Redbirds (27-6) seek to soothe their hurt feelings in the 32-team National Invitation Tournament. ISU, which got one of four No. 1 NIT seeds, entertains eighth-seeded UC Irvine (21-14) at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at Redbird Arena.
Corpus Christi Caller-Times: A&M-Corpus Christi (20-11) will host Georgia State (20-12) in the Dugan Wellness Center at 7 p.m. on Wednesday in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.
The two are the last suiting up to remember the six-win seasons before Willis Wilson turned the program into a regular contender in the Southland Conference.
Dayton Daily News: Archie Miller said it maybe five times during the NCAA tournament selection show: “This is us.”
Las Vegas Review-Journal: Wichita State (30-4) was designated a No. 10 seed by the committee, but the Shockers opened as 6½-point favorites over No. 7 Dayton.
CBSSports.com: Wichita State, a 30-4 nightmare of a basketball team that’s viewed by unbiased oddsmakers as a top-10 squad in college hoops, has been mercilessly jobbed for the second year in a row. The Shockers, ranked eighth in KenPom, 11th in Sagarin are…
The Pantagraph: “Obviously we were pretty disappointed and crushed for a little while after waiting for our name to come up (in the NCAA pairings),” said (Dan) Muller. “But we’re at the point now we just met and most people in that room are ready to roll in the NIT.”
USA Today: Wichita State is currently ranked No. 8 in KenPom’s efficiency rankings. Somehow, the Shockers barely got a top-10 seed in the South region. That’s a travesty.
Washington Post: Gregg Marshall’s squad was done a serious disservice by matching the Shockers up against No. 7 Dayton and then, in epic trolling fashion for the Wildcats, No. 2 Kentucky.
Yahoo.com: No matter what Wichita State accomplishes each March, the selection committee never fails to undervalue the Shockers again the following year.
Yahoo.com: How could Illinois State be left out despite not having lost to anyone besides Wichita State since December? A complete dearth of quality wins is the primary reason.
SBnation: The selection committee would have you think that this team should be an underdog. Instead, Wichita vs. Dayton, with the winner likely to play Kentucky, is a death trap scenario for everyone involved.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Shockers coach Gregg Marshall wasn’t pleased with his team’s seeding, but he wasn’t surprised either. He called out the selection committee a few weeks back on an MVC conference call -- and getting buried despite a 20-1 close confirmed his fears about the process.
Jerry Palm: No. 10 seed vs. Michigan
Assemblycall.com: No. 8 seed vs. Marquette
Joe Lunardi: No. 8 seed vs. Arkansas
Bracketville: No. 10 seed vs. Creighton
warrennolan.com: No. 11 seed vs. SMU
Jerry Palm: No. 10 seed; Illinois State first four out.
Dailybracket.com: No. 11 seed vs. Dayton in Sacramento
Joe Lunardi: No. 8 seed vs. Dayton in Greenville (S.C.); Illinois State first out.
Foxsports.com: No. 10 seed vs. Creighton in Greenville (S.C).
Bracketwag: No. 10 seed; Illinois State first four out.
Warrennolan.com: No. 11 seed vs. Wisconsin in Tulsa
Bracket Zac: No. 8 seed vs. Virginia Tech in Tulsa
The Pantagraph: Being in class this week, instead of spring break with campus empty, might sound like a good idea to keep Illinois State’s basketball players busy. Yet there is really no hiding from whether they will hear their name called on Selection Sunday for the NCAA Tournament.
Kirk Wessler: Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall pulling for IHSA tourney volunteer.
New York Times: Wichita State is an example of a team that was better than its record last season. It started slowly and finished 24-8 against a comparatively weak schedule — nominally the résumé of an N.I.T. squad. But the Shockers mostly blew out their Missouri Valley Conference competition and played close games against the N.C.A.A. tournament teams Iowa, Northern Iowa and Seton Hall. Predictive metrics smiled upon them. The committee decided to unhook the velvet rope for the Shockers, who proceeded to “upset” sixth-seeded Arizona in the first round.
Washington Post: What’s been missing from the Turgeon era is a postseason sparkle, the sort of thing that turns February pleasure into March bliss. His teams lost in the semifinals of their first two Big Ten tournaments, going 1-1 both times. They haven’t beaten a higher seeded team in their two NCAA tournaments. Now, playing a few miles from their campus, against a team they beat by 10 on the road less than a month ago, the Terps wilted in the second half, with an offense that seemed stuck in Evanston.
Bracket Matrix: Consensus No. 8.
Bracketville: No. 10 seed.
Assembly Call: No. 9 seed.
Jerry Palm: No. 9 seed.
Daily Bracket: No. 11 seed.
Joe Lunardi: No. 9 seed. And falling.
KPI: No. 10 seed.
Bracketwag.com: No. 11 seed.
Yahoo.com: No. 7 seed.
fivethirtyeight.com: College basketball season is in its final sprint toward Selection Sunday, and that means it’s panic time for teams on the men’s NCAA Tournament bubble. But not all bubble teams are created equal. For instance, Wake Forest, which ranks 30th in ESPN’s BPI power rankings, ought to feel relatively good about its tourney chances, while Syracuse, which ranks 31st, should be in a state of full-blown terror. Why the difference? It all comes down to how each school did in a metric that best predicts the NCAA selection committee’s picking tendencies.
The Washington Post: To the morgue goes the Scot McCloughan era, all two years of it, a place reserved for just about every plan the Washington Redskins make. Two years ago, McCloughan arrived being hailed as a fixer, but he didn’t last long enough to fix anything, including his reputation.
Jerry Palm: No. 10 seed.
Bracketville.com: No. 10 seed in Sacramento.
ESPN.com: No. 8 seed.
Bracketwag: No. 11 seed.
KPIsports.net: No. 9 seed
Bracket Matrix: Consensus No. 8
Daily Bracket: No. 11 seed in Orlando
Assemblycall.com: No. 9 seed.
Joe Lunardi: No. 8 in Tulsa.
Jerry Palm: No. 11 seed.
Fox Sports: No. 10 seed.
The Washington Post: No. 8 seed.
Yahoo.com: No. 6 seed.
Bracketwag.com: No. 11 seed.
SI.com: No. 8 seed.
The Sporting News: No. 9 seed.
SBnation: No. 9 seed.
The Pantagraph: Paris Lee gathered his teammates at the free-throw line just before Sunday’s second half began.
Illinois State’s basketball team trailed by eight against Wichita State in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament championship game. The Redbirds’ senior leader said his message was to “just keep fighting … don’t play the score. Just take it one possession at a time.”
The Pantagraph: Tony Wills found a corner seat and slowly slipped off his shoes. DJ Clayton took an ice pack from athletic trainer John Munn and applied it to his hip/back. Deontae Hawkins sat on a bench and leaned against the wall in a gray sweatshirt, quietly fielding a reporter’s questions.
This wasn’t the jubilant postgame scene Illinois State’s basketball team had envisioned for Sunday. Shots misfired, free throws clanked off the rim, the rhythm and flow of Saturday were nowhere to be found.
The Pantagraph: Yet, Friday also is about “wear and tear” when on a three-games-in-three-days path to the title. ISU was a winner in that regard as well.
Two years ago, when the Redbirds advanced to the championship game, their starters played a collective 144 minutes in a quarterfinal win (also over Evansville). The number inched up to 146 in the semifinals and grew to 152 in the final.
The Pantagraph: There is another moniker being tossed around these days, even if only Keyshawn Evans and DJ Clayton know about it.
“We call each other ’6’ and ’7’ all the time when we come in,” said Evans of the Redbirds’ bench duo. “It’s big that we come in and give energy to everybody.”
Peoria Journal Star: Bradley’s basketball team was collateral damage in the strong statement Wichita State fired off Friday at Scottrade Center. Even though it took 10 minutes for the Shockers to clear their throat.
Peoria Journal Star: Bradley’s improvement earns some chippy attention.
Tribstar.com: At some point, these words have to matter and have to have an impact in wins. Everything has to be under scrutiny, including the system Lansing prefers, the coaching staff and who comprises it, the players. You name it.
History is not on Lansing’s side. Of MVC coaches who started with a winning record or records early in their tenure, and then suffered three straight losing seasons afterwards, only one, Wichita State’s Harry Miller, have ever made it to the NCAA Tournament after those losing seasons in the modern divisional era of college basketball.
Jerry Palm: No change.
Assemblycall.com: No change.
ESPN.com: No. 7 in Sacramento
Bracketwag.com: No. 12.
SI.com: No. 9 seed.
Peoria Journal Star: We must have stepped into a time machine with an infrastructure eraser.
I’m looking around St. Louis for the old Checkerdome, and it’s not there. I’m trying to find the basketball arena with the performing arts stage on one end, wild Kiel Auditorium, and it’s gone, too, swallowed by this place called Scottrade Center.
Joe Lunardi: No. 7 seed in Sacramento.
Jerry Palm: Not budging.
SI.com: Wichita State is on much better ground than their rivals atop the Valley, even though it’s the Redbirds that won the tiebreaker and are the top seed in the conference tournament. That doesn’t mean the Shockers can afford a loss to Bradley on Friday, but there’s plenty of room for them to get an at-large bid.
USA Today: Last four in.
Assemblycall.com: They have just one Top 50 win but are hovering around the Top 10 on KenPom, which suggests they are probably safe so long as they make the MVC Finals.
Yahoo.com: No. 8 seed. At-large worthy.
Bracketville: No. 10 seed in the House that John Stockton built.
Bracketwag.com: No. 12 seed.
Gary Parrish: Playing an NCAA Tournament without a Wichita State team that could be (in this hypothetical situation) 29-5 with only two losses coming in the 12 weeks leading up to Selection Sunday would be ridiculous and fundamentally unfair.
Jerry Palm: First four out.
Jerry Palm: It would have to be a really weak field for Wichita State to get in with this profile, but that worked for them last year.
Joe Lunardi: No. 8 seed
Bleacher Report: No. 9 seed.
SI.com: No. 9 seed.
Andy Bottoms: No. 10 seed
Bracketmatrix.com: No. 10 seed
Fox Sports: No. 10 seed
USA Today: Last four in.
Gary Parrish podcast. Discussses Wichita State
Jerry Palm: I am currently getting more feedback on the Shockers than any other team. Their fans have built up a healthy sense of entitlement regarding tournament selection because of their recent run of success, but this year’s team is different.
Sports Illustrated: After the Shockers’ 41-point win over the Redbirds on Saturday, the top two teams in the Missouri Valley Conference are in a shared, unique position. Both of them have at least one solid metric, with Wichita State ranked 17th on kenpom.com and Illinois State ranked No. 34 in the RPI. Neither, however, did anything especially positive out of conference.
ESPN.com: The Shockers are, much like last season, far better than their resume implies, but if they do end up with a bubble-adjacent seed in March, the committee will at least have better reasons this time around.
The Pantagraph: When Wichita State put 6-foot-6 Zach Brown on Illinois State’s Paris Lee to start Saturday night’s Missouri Valley Conference showdown, the message was clear.
The Shockers weren’t messing around. They were going to make it extremely difficult for the Redbirds’ 6-foot leader — and every ISU player — all night long.
Bleacher Report: “Ron just competes. He’s in the right spot, almost all the time,” Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said earlier this month. “If he’s supposed to be on the weak side digging or helping out, he’s there. If he’s supposed to bump a roller, he does it, hustles back out to his man.”
D1baseball.com: It may have been just a fall scrimmage to some, but two observers from Colorado got very emotional when Miami Hurricanes junior outfielder Michael Burns smacked a sweet drive to left field this past November.
Logan Smith and Garrett Hyde had flown in from Denver to support their childhood friend Burns, a Hurricanes newcomer via Cisco (Texas) College.
Des Moines Register: There were only 3,024 people in attendance for Wednesday night’s game between the Drake and Wichita State men’s basketball teams, but when every single one of them are on their feet screaming, it can sound like so much more.
Take, for example, the 11-minute, 28-second mark of the second half. Nick McGlynn hit a jumper in the lane to put Drake up 55-47, and the crowd created the type of noise that would remind some fans of the magical 2007-08 season.
Pantagraph: MiKyle McIntosh underwent surgery earlier Wednesday for a torn meniscus in his right knee suffered against Drake on Jan. 21. The 6-foot-7, 234-pound junior forward is the Redbirds’ second-leading scorer (13.5 points per game) and rebounder (6.4).
“That’s one of our biggest offensive persons,” said Lee. “Without him we definitely have to pick it up on defense because there might be some possessions where guys aren’t able to make the same plays MiKyle would make, and we have to get the ball back on defense. Defense will be the emphasis the next few games and throughout the year.”
Peoria Journal Star: In his voice, you could almost hear the longing. Make no mistake, Marshall wants to dominate his rivals. But he would much rather play and dominate quality teams than the relative dregs the MVC has offered these past few years.
Peoria Journal Star: If progress is measured by incremental stretches of growth, then Sunday was a success for Bradley basketball.
Wichita State, the Missouri Valley Conference banner program that completely destroyed the Braves a month ago in Kansas, needed a strong second half to overcome a first-half hole wrought by the Braves’ defense. BU led by five at the break.
Terre Haute Tribune Star: The Shockers put the Sycamores out of their misery early, using a game-starting 24-4 run to run and hide and ultimately post an 84-58 over the struggling Sycamores.
ISU has lost 10 of its last 12 games. Competitiveness, confidence, all were on trial for the Sycamores in the wake of another double-digit loss, ISU’s third in its last five games.
Terre Haute Tribune Star: Saturday was the day I crossed the line from frustration with the way Indiana State’s men’s basketball team has played to feeling a sense of pity.
They never knew what hit them. Wichita State came out there with dominance in mind, a concept the Sycamores can’t grasp, much less perform. To see the hope drain out of the Sycamores, from their faces to the unsure shots they took and passes they attempted? To see Greg Lansing standing there on the sideline with a look of helplessness? It was sad.
Evansville Courier & Press: Solomon Hainna, a 25-year-old Air Force veteran, is a backup power forward for the Aces (10-9, 1-5 Missouri Valley Conference). He’s not the typical newcomer to the basketball program.
“He’s a little different because he’s got a broad range of experiences,” senior David Howard said. “He’s been in the military, a (junior college), has lived in several different areas. He kind of knows a little bit about everything, he’s real mature, knows how to get stuff done.”
New York Daily News: Courtney Lee, the $50 million signing, was supplanted in the lineup by an undrafted rookie.
In an effort to jolt his struggling squad, Jeff Hornacek started rookie Ron Baker at shooting guard for Monday’s matinee against the Hawks at the Garden. It was Baker’s first career start. Lithuanian rookie Mindaugas Kuzminskas also started for the first time this season.
New York Post: Baker saw only opportunity. He was not uncomfortable with the surprise start.
“There’s no awkwardness. Taking Courtney Lee’s spot, he was one of the first guys to come over to me to give me confidence and tell me to be aggressive and play hard,” Baker said. “When you have vets like him [and others] telling you to be aggressive and don’t be shy with the trigger, just to come out and play, that gives a player like me who’s a rookie a lot of confidence.”
New York Post: “I have about 15 nicknames, being the rookie that I am, but that was one of the first ones Melo gave me this summer when we first met,” Baker said.
New York Daily News: Carmelo Anthony referred to Ron Baker as “Burgundy” during his halftime interview on MSG Monday.
Baker confirmed “Burgundy” is one of many locker-room nicknames handed to him by his teammates this season. It’s a reference to the film “Anchorman” starring Will Ferrell.
New York Times: Although Hornacek made the change in part to strengthen the second unit and in part to make Lee a bigger offensive threat, Lee scored just 7 points and sat for most of the second half. The lineup change did not seem to engender unanimity, either.
“When you come in here, you don’t really know what’s going to happen,” Brandon Jennings said. “So there’s kind of no consistency. It’s really tough right now.”
Omaha World Herald: The only Bluejay player to score 50 points in a game said he initially signed a letter of intent to attend Washington, presuming that a large campus within a booming metropolis best suited his personality.
He chose CU.That was about five decades ago. Creighton has transformed and evolved since. Its basketball program has grown considerably, as has the profile of coaches and players who regularly perform on national television as part of the billion-dollar college sports industry.
The Pantagraph: Redbird Arena had a pulse. We took that for granted when Dan Muller was a Redbird player in the 1990s. It’s been largely absent in his five years as ISU’s head coach. Saturday, in a battle for first place in the Missouri Valley Conference against the league’s established kingpin Wichita State, the season-best crowd of 9,078 provided energy in a game that required every ounce.
The Pantagraph: For the first time since winning its last Valley regular-season title in 1998, Illinois State sits alone in first place in the league. McIntosh scored 20 points, while Deontae Hawkins added 14 points and eight rebounds as the Redbirds earned a 76-62 victory over Wichita State before a season-high crowd of 9,078 at rowdy Redbird Arena.
Peoria Journal Star: Five double-figure scorers overall led the 14-4 Redbirds to a 76-62 victory Saturday in front of 9,078 at Redbird Arena and the Valley lead for the first time since 1998.
The Pantagraph: Win or lose, there still will be 12 Missouri Valley Conference basketball games left for Illinois State.
Yet a victory against Wichita State at 7 p.m. Saturday at Redbird Arena could truly be a historic step toward a much bigger goal for ISU.
The Pantagraph: Illinois State’s revitalized defense will receive the ultimate challenge against the high-powered Shockers at 7 p.m. Saturday at Redbird Arena with first place in the Missouri Valley Conference at stake. Both teams have six-game winning streaks and 5-0 league records.
Peoria Journal Star: “Their physicality overpowered us,” said freshman guard Nate Kennell. “They play a good inside-outside game and keep coming at you. We learned a lot about playing a team at a whole different level. We’ll definitely get better. We’re a very capable team.”
Sports Illustrated: Coach Gregg Marshall doesn’t have any superstars, but he does have a deep bench, and he still knows how to get his guys to play angry. Now that conference play has begun, I expect Wichita State to romp through the a weakened Missouri Valley Conference as usual, which means it will have a good chance to re-enter the rankings between now and the NCAA tournament.
Terre Haute Tribune Star: The golden era of Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet came to a close for WSU last season. This season, WSU has spread the wealth a bit more offensively, but haven’t compromised defensively.
Swingman Markis McDuffie is the best-known quantity. The sophomore is averaging 11.3 points per game. Tough junior forward Zach Brown is good for 10 points per game. Joining that duo is 6-foot-9 power forward Darral Willis Jr. An All-American at Pearl River Community College a year ago, Willis averages 11.5 points and 6.3 rebounds.
Springfield News-Leader: Pillow-soft schedule and a decent record … what does it mean? We’ll find out in a hurry in Valley play. If newcomers continue to make a seamless transition, the next couple of months should be fun to watch.
Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier: And after a rough recent stretch in which the Panthers lost to Iowa and North Carolina by a combined 63 points, Coach Ben Jacobson says his players are ready to turn the page.
“We tested ourselves in the non-conference, and I don’t think there’s any question the guys are ready to start Valley play,” he said. “But we’re going to be tested right away.”
Peoria Journal Star: But it all pales to what Bradley freshman center Koch Bar has on his mind these days with a civil war is raging in his homeland of South Sudan. While he doesn’t have family directly in harm’s way, the effects of war have decidedly had an impact on them.
“The situation is getting bad as far as economics,” he said. “Inflation is getting bad. Everything is getting very expensive. My dad passed away and my mom doesn’t have an education and is taking care of my youngest brother. So it’s really hard on her.”
The Southern: (Barry) Hinson left Las Vegas doubting his decision to give the team a tougher non-conference schedule, which featured three Power Five conference teams on the road. One was a guarantee game, the 74-51 drubbing by nationally-ranked Louisville, and the second game of the season at Arkansas was a blowout from the start. It ended in a 90-65 loss. The Salukis held Minnesota, which played without its leading shot blocker, starting center Reggie Lynch, to 38.2 percent from the field, but shot 31.1 percent, themselves.
New York Post: (Ron) Baker has a quirky sense of humor, but he’s not far off. Baker believes he and his coach are cut from the same cloth. Hornacek came out of Iowa State 30 years ago, selected 46th overall in the second round by Phoenix. He turned into an NBA All-Star and a Jazz legend.
NBA.com: Enter rookie Fred VanVleet. The back-up point guard logged nearly 23 minutes against the Magic. He scored four points, grabbed two rebounds, dished three assists and had three steals. Most important for the Raptors, the team was a plus-19 when he was on the floor. Despite minutes being few and far between as he backs up Joseph and starting point guard Kyle Lowry, VanVleet was ready when Casey called his name.
Tulsa World: When Brad Underwood looked at the statistics, Wichita State floored him. The Shockers get more production from their bench than any team in the country. The reserves play 47.4 percent of Wichita State’s minutes. And those are a lot of quality minutes, too.
Stillwater News Press: “It’s a challenge scheduling late and it’s always a challenge to find really quality opponents,” (Brad) Underwood said. “We had the date and they had the date and then to realize we weren’t going to get anybody this year in here. It’s in Wichita and it’s a neutral site. That’s part of it. Most importantly, it’s close, it gives our fans a chance to go and it’s a program that’s been as good as any in America over the last four or five years. They smack you. They punch you in the mouth. I have a lot of respect for Greg and the job he’s done.”
The Oklahoman: The Shockers lost headliners Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker from their recent NCAA Tournament teams after last season and returned no heirs apparent. Instead, in starting 9-2 and looming just on the outside of the Top 25 rankings, they’ve beaten teams with quantity over quality.
ESPN.com: Daishon Smith’s dunk.
The Oklahoman: Smith’s thunderous dunk with 8:28 remaining—going up over Kristian Doolittle after blowing past Khadeem Lattin—brought the large contingent of Shockers fans to their feet and ignited a quick offensive burst from the junior guard.
The Oklahoman: Although there appeared to be slightly more Oklahoma fans than Wichita State fans, the Shockers crowd was louder for much of the game, never more so than on Daishon Smith’s dunk with 8:28 left.
Norman Transcript: With 70 seconds to go in Saturday’s All-College Classic, Oklahoma guard Jordan Woodard tried to get a few extra gulps of Gatorade as Wichita State’s Darral Willis shot a pair of free throws. Woodard was exhausted and looked it in every sense. But the previous 38 minutes showed if the Sooners were going to, somehow, pull out a victory over the Shockers at Chesapeake Energy Arena, Woodard had to do something miraculous.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: By the time Jalen Johnson hit a 3-pointer with 9 minutes 16 seconds expired at Koch Arena, the crowd had earned a well-deserved rest and Wichita State had things under control on the way to a 75-45 win over the Billikens.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: That pursuit continues as the two programs head in opposite directions, at least for now. Wichita State beat SLU by 29 at home two years ago and by 15 at Chaifetz Arena last season.
San Diego Union-Tribune: Ninety-eight-year-old Sister Jean, all 5-feet and about 90 pounds of her, stepped to center court, took the microphone and delivered the pregame prayer as she has for so many years at Loyola Chicago basketball games. She’s been the team chaplain for a quarter-century. She wears maroon and gold customized Nikes with “Sister” embroidered on the left heel and “Jean” on the right.
The Coloradoan: Call it a reality check.
But for the fans, including the lion’s share of the 6,918 who showed up Saturday at Moby Arena, to see what the Rams (6-2) were all about.
Loveland Reporter-Herald: Wichita’s 3-point parade was a balanced attack as five different Shockers hit at least two 3s, led by Landry Shamet with three. Their 13 made three-balls were nearly five more than they averaged per game coming in, helping turn what was a close contest for much of the afternoon into a 15-point margin of victory.
Tulsa World: Friday’s opener provided a harsh reminder that guys like James Woodard and Shaquille Harrison are no longer around. The Hurricane stumbled 84-73 against Jacksonville State at the Reynolds Center. “We knew going into the year there would be moments like this because we have a totally new squad,” third-year coach Frank Haith said. “It just takes time. It’s not going to happen overnight.”
New York Times: “The deck is stacked against these smaller teams, smaller programs, because it’s not in anyone’s interests to have it any other way,” said David Carter, who directs the Sports Business Institute at the University of Southern California.
The Athletic: Flash forward to the 2016 draft and a draft party with 200 people on hand in Illinois. Wichita State senior point guard Fred VanVleet is experiencing those same frustrations, but unlike Powell, he has slipped out of the draft pool and gone undrafted.
CBSSports.com: This is a story about how opportunities randomly present themselves, about the great things that can happen when you take advantage of them, about how hard work sometimes leads people to places they never themselves even imagined going. It’s a story about South Dakota State’s Mike Daum -- the Jackrabbits’ leading returning scorer who was recently named the Summit League’s Preseason Player of the Year just two seasons removed from being redshirted as a freshman because nobody thought he was good enough to play.
Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier: Freshman point guard Juwan McCloud overcame two early fouls and showcased his explosiveness off the dribble on the way to 10 points. Spencer Haldeman knocked down big buckets with the shot clock winding down and also recorded 10 points. Redshirt freshman and 7-footer Justin Dahl showed his ability to finish around the rim (6 points, 5 rebounds).
Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier: While (Ben) Jacobson and his players have higher expectations than third place, that prediction does say something about the respect the UNI program commands these days. Third place could be considered ambitious for a team that lost three productive seniors in Wes Washpun, Matt Bohannon and Paul Jesperson and will head into this season with just five veterans and 11 players who have not seen any game action for the Panthers.
The Pantagraph: (MiKyle) McIntosh and senior guard Paris Lee became the first pair of ISU teammates on the preseason all-league first team since the 1997-98 season when Dan Muller and Rico Hill were selected. That season, the Redbirds won their last Valley title when they made their last NCAA Tournament appearance.
The Pantagraph: Illinois State basketball coach Dan Muller announced Monday that junior forward Deontae Hawkins has been suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules.
Des Moines Register: It didn’t take long for Ray Giacoletti to bring up the two junior-college transfers on his roster. The Drake men’s basketball coach believes both D’Antae McMurray and T.J. Thomas are capable of making an immediate impact this season.
“They’re guys who are going to be able to help us right away,” said Giacoletti, who is entering his fourth season at the helm. “Our focus was athleticism, and both of them bring that to us.”
Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier: For three seasons, Jeremy Morgan has been something of a supporting actor for the University of Northern Iowa’s highly acclaimed basketball show.
Cedar Rapids Gazette: His responsibilities are enormous. Score more, play the same excellent defense he has throughout his career and guide a bunch of newbies through a schedule that includes a game at national runner-up North Carolina and only four home games prior to the start of Missouri Valley Conference play.
Des Moines Register: It didn’t take long for the cameras to find Jeremy Morgan. After three seasons spent mostly as a supporting player, the 6-foot-5 senior from Coralville was the main attraction Tuesday when the Northern Iowa men’s basketball team greeted the media.
Terre Haute Tribune Star: It’s fair to say that throughout its Division I history, Indiana State’s men’s basketball team hasn’t rolled out an assembly line of big men.
It’s never easy to get big men in the Missouri Valley Conference in general, but it’s been especially so with the Sycamores, who haven’t had a big man make first or second-team all-conference since Matt Renn did in 2001. It remains to be seen whether ISU’s current crop of big men – Brandon Murphy, Emondre Rickman and T.J. Bell – can reach that standard, but on paper, ISU has more depth in the post than it’s had in recent memory.
Peoria Journal Star: The addition of freshman point guards Darrell Brown Jr. and Jayden Hodgson along with small forwards JoJo McGlaston and Nate Kennell give the previously turnover-prone Braves more and better ball skills on the perimeter. “I enjoyed seeing the ball move better and getting better looks (to shoot),” (Brian) Wardle said. “We’re already making crisper decisions. We spent a lot of time on that this summer. All those (new perimeter players) are good passers who can make plays off the dribble.”
Thesouthern.com: Back from a surgically-repaired separated shoulder, freshman point guard Aaron Cook aims to give the Salukis another playmaker in his first collegiate season.
Cook, a 6-foot-1, 175-pound righty, averaged 22.1 points, six rebounds, four assists and four steals a game for Westminster Christian (Missouri) High School last season. Unlike most freshmen that he recruits, SIU coach Barry Hinson was adamant about Cook having the chance to play right away even though the Salukis returned senior Mike Rodriguez (94 assists, 8.3 ppg) and two other options at the point, seniors Tyler Smithpeters and Leo Vincent.
The Pantagraph: “With the combination of leadership from older guys with the experience of some incoming guys, it’s not nearly the same as some of the (past) years,” said (Dan) Muller. “I think we’re further along, even though we haven’t started practice, from other years.”
Springfield News-Leader: The Bears are something of a chic pick for a move up in the Valley. The team is coming off a 13-19 season that included victories over Northern Iowa and Illinois State.
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: “My first game (in 1987), we were going to open with Wichita State. We said, ‘We need to get that changed. We need to get somebody else.’ So T. came in — maybe in March, maybe the first of June — and said, ‘I got rid of Wichita State.’ ‘Where are we going?’ He said, ‘We’re going to Florida State.’”
National Catholic Register: [The small size of] Scott City probably encourages the remembrance of God. New York City is obviously bigger, so it will take some getting used to, but I think there are still ways to maintain an interior silence and remembrance of God. I want to visit different churches in New York, including St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and get an idea of the culture and history there.
Mid-Major Madness: The Bears return the Valley’s newcomer of the year in Dequon Miller, two all-freshmen team members in Jarred Dixon and Obdaiah Church, and one of the league’s most improved players in Chris Kendrix. And that’s not to mention Ryan Kreklow, or the influx of three talented junior college players expected to make immediate impact.
Orange County Register: Shimen (Fayad), who began playing at 6 years old, is now a leader on Cal State Fullerton’s volleyball team. The 6-foot sophomore outside hitter, who transferred from Wichita State, leads the Titans in kills (145) and kills per set (3.72).
The Coloradoan: The Rams are routinely top 10 in the nation in attendance and there’s always one unique set of matches that generates as much buzz in the locker room as in the community. That time for the 2016 season is here. Colorado State University is ready for its marquee volleyball showcase, with matches against Wichita State (8 p.m. Thursday) and No. 3 Texas (8 p.m. Friday, white-out match).
Evansville Courier & Press: On Tuesday, Blake Simmons learned he had suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. On Wednesday, the University of Evansville forward was back in the team’s practice facility giving encouragement to his teammates before an offseason workout.
Ames Tribune: The Cyclones return six starters and 12 total players while adding three newcomers — freshmen Sami Hillmer and Anna Kiel, along with Genesis Miranda, a junior who transfered from the University of Evansville. But the one starter lost from last year’s team was Caitlin Nolan, ISU’s All-American libero. The Southlake, Texas, native was a two-time Big 12 libero of the year, and recorded 600-plus digs in her final two collegiate seasons.
Omaha World-Herald: Creighton’s Kirsten Bernthal Booth has a problem many coaches wish they shared. She has outstanding talent at setter and just over a week to decide who will primarily run the offense when the Bluejays begin the regular season. Friday’s scrimmage did little to settle the competition.
Omaha World-Herald: Everyone was affected, including (Kirsten Bernthal) Booth and some of her staff. “We think we are finally healed up,” she said. “We’re making sure we are cleaning everything. We’ll get through it.” Booth had to cancel a practice after five or six players became ill after a team meal. Booth hadn’t eaten the pasta that night, but a few days later, she became ill, followed by an assistant and several more players.
Daily Iowan: During these past few weeks with (Randy) Hasenbank at the helm, the runners experienced similar emotions; unexpected changes left them with uncertainty at first. For senior Ben Anderson, Hasenbank’s hiring marks his third coach in his college stint at Iowa. Former Hawkeye head coach Layne Anderson’s departure came on short notice, both to the university as well as the athletes.
Springfield News-Leader: Bears add recruiting class to Lily Johnson and plan for big things in NCAA Tournament.
The Southern: They were eliminated by Illinois at the Louisville Regional, but enter 2016 with high expectations after a 20-13 season. SIU returns four starters plus libero Mariana Pilon, and added 5-11 middle hitter Kolby Meeks from South Alabama.
Peoria Journal Star: The Braves open the season with 13 straight matches either on the road or at neutral sites, and will not host a home match until the last day of September.
Evansville Courier & Press: Sergej Vucetic is an anomaly in college basketball. He’s a fifth-year senior and, at the same time, a mystery. In two seasons at Nebraska and one at the University of Evansville, he has played a total of 74 minutes. But Evansville’s coaches and teammates have said all along that he’s no stiff – even if that’s the way his body felt after unfolding his 7-foot-1 frame for some mop-up duty at the end of a blowout.
Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier: (Bobbi) Petersen enters her 17th season as UNI’s head coach with all the key contributors back from her main rotation for the first time she can recall in her coaching career. It’s a group that ended the program’s rare two-year NCAA Tournament drought, but also finished the 2015 season with a .187 hitting efficiency that ranked the lowest for a UNI team since 1984.
Evansville Courier & Press: Power forward Silas Adheke is reclassifying into the 2016 recruiting class and will join the Evansville men’s basketball team this fall, his high school coach confirmed Friday.
Evansville Courier & Press: The bad news is the Aces will need to make up ground on the rest of the MVC despite losing their best player. Genesis Miranda, a second-team all-MVC performer who led UE in kills and aces last year, transferred to Iowa State.
The Pantagraph: “Ever since I was little I always wanted to go to ISU. Being 30 minutes away is phenomenal,” said (William) Tinsley. “If I would have went to Florida State it would have been rare (for family and friends) to watch a home game. ISU is right there and they can catch any home game.”
The Pantagraph: Leading the returnees is two-time all-MVC first team selection Jaelyn Keene, a 6-foot-2 junior middle blocker. She hit a team-leading .420 last fall while averaging 2.82 kills per set and a team-best 0.83 blocks. No one in ISU history has a higher career hitting percentage than her .384.
The Southern: Pay attention to the order of the schedule as much as the opponents when 11 a.m. rolls around. According to Saluki athletic director Tommy Bell’s August newsletter, SIU is out of the three-day Lone Star Showcase in Texas but has agreed to three road games against Power 5 conference teams in 2016-17. Those are in addition to a road game at UNLV in December as part of the Missouri Valley-Mountain West Conference Challenge.
The Southern: SIU ended its fall camp with its second scrimmage Saturday night at Davies Gym. With 13 upperclassmen on an 18-player roster, the Salukis appear more balanced and deeper at most spots than they were last season.
New York Daily News: (Ron) Baker is a big deal in his home State. As the publisher of the book, Jefferson Knapp, declared, “He’s the Pride of Kansas. Everybody looks up to him here.” The guard’s story is rooted in a small farming town called Scott City, a big change from Manhattan, or even Westchester, where Baker is projected to end up with the D-League squad.
Colorado Springs Gazette: Yes, football is the most visible and obvious issue. When asked about the likelihood of the Mountain West bringing the Shockers into the league, commissioner Craig Thompson said it was unlikely and that having a football program is “important.”
Florence Times Daily: Former Florence High School standout Malcolm Armstead hosted his 1st Skills & Development Training Camp this past week at the Florence gym
Vice.com: The NBA has created a situation where it is far more valuable for a player to go undrafted than to be selected in the back half of the second round, which means that the second half of the draft is now defined by negotiation and posturing from teams and representation.
Forbes.com: “We travel to college fairs all over the country,” said Bobby Gandu, director of the Office of Admissions at Wichita State University, which made the Final Four in 2013 as a 9-seed. “Prior to the Final Four appearance that we had, people might walk by our booth at that college fair and think, ‘Okay, that’s Wichita State.’ Nowadays, if someone walks by our booth at a college fair in another city that we’re not geographically close to, they’ll look at us and say, ‘Wichita State, that’s the basketball school,’ so it gives us the opportunity to have more conversations with people.”
Bleacher Report: But be wary of counting out Baker making it to the NBA. He had to walk on and redshirt as a freshman at Wichita State just to earn a spot on the roster. Before that, he had only two Division I scholarship offers: Arkansas-Little Rock and South Dakota State.
CBSSports.com: Plenty of players averaged more points, and more assists, and project better defensively to the NBA. Basically, there isn’t any singular tangible skill that (Fred) VanVleet that stands out to make you say he is worthy of a draft pick.
Draftexpress.com: Ron Baker
Draftexpress.com: Fred VanVleet
Draftexpress.com: Mock draft
NBADraft.net: Mock draft
Sports Illustrated: Mock draft
CBSSports.com: Mock draft
NBA.com: It’s safe to surmise that college basketball history would have been drastically altered had not Wichita State assistant coach Chris Jans showed up for the semifinals of the Kansas state high school tournament in the winter of 2011.
NBA.com: Q&A with Ron Baker from Denver.
NBA.com: Baker might be a difficult projection for NBA teams for the same reasons he was only modestly recruited coming out of Scott City, Kan., five years ago. He doesn’t have great size for a shooting guard and he’s an average athlete.
Hoopshabit.com: Baker has the potential to be a solid role player in the NBA and he should be able to help out a team right away. He is not a flashy player, he is just going to make the right plays and do his job on the court when called upon.
Ridiculousupside.com: This isn’t the first time VanVleet has been overlooked during his basketball career. As an all-state point guard at Auburn High School in Rockford, Illinois, VanVleet received scholarship offers from Wichita State, Colorado State, Drake, Northern Illinois, Southern Illinois, Detroit, and Kent State. Not a single big-time program showed serious interest.
MLive.com: Wichita State guard Ron Baker worked out for the Pistons and there are plenty of personnel evaluators who will say it came two years late.
NBA.com: “You could thank Cleanthony Early for that,” said VanVleet, referring to his former teammate and forward who’s appeared in 56 outings for the New York Knicks the past two years. “He made me look pretty good, him and [Wichita State shooting guard] Ron Baker. I got that award based off of those guys making me look pretty good.”
Pennlive.com: Because he’s the sort of guy who could end up on an NBA roster in a couple of years and everyone will ask, “Where did Fred VanVleet come from? I don’t remember him being drafted.”
The Southern: SIU’s men’s basketball team officially added 6-foot-8 shot blocker Thik (pronounced Teek) Bol out of Iowa Western Community College on Wednesday, the first day of the late signing period.
Des Moines Register: The Drake men’s basketball team added much-needed depth to its roster Wednesday. Junior college transfers De’Antae McMurray, a 6-foot-2, 170-pound point guard, and T.J. Thomas, a 6-foot-8, 205-pound forward, signed letters of intent with the Bulldogs, making them available for the 2016-17 season.
Terre Haute Tribune Star: For various reasons, Indiana State’s men’s basketball team has tried to get by in the last two seasons with players playing out of position and with players signed late in the process. The results have been predictable: two seasons that showed flashes of promise, but that both ultimately put ISU under the .500 mark.
ISU coach Greg Lansing had enough. With Donovan Franklin and Demonte Ojinnaka, from whom ISU received Letters of Intent on April signing day on Wednesday, along with incoming freshman Jordan Barnes, Lansing feels some clear needs were addressed.
Evansville Courier & Press: University of Evansville basketball coach Marty Simmons wasn’t looking for another guard in the 2016 recruiting class.
But when freshman Harris Brown announced in late March his intention to transfer, the Aces moved quickly to find a replacement in the backcourt. Jaiveon Eaves, a 6-foot-2 combo guard from Madisonville-North Hopkins (Kentucky), signed with the Aces on Wednesday, the first day of the spring signing period.
Peoria Journal Star: “We’re bringing in two young men who can lead, make good decisions with the ball in their hands and are also providing good shooting ability,” BU coach Brian Wardle said. “They’ve performed well against top-level prep basketball competition. They’re gym rats, they’re good students. They fit all the DNA we want in our players. I’m very excited to add them to the puzzle.”
Springfield News-Leader: After another season when the Missouri State men’s basketball team saw injuries ravage its backcourt, the Bears added another guard on Wednesday’s first day of the spring signing period.
The Bears officially welcomed Ronnie Rousseau III, a second-team pick for the NJCAA Division I All-America team after averaging 23.2 points per game for State Fair Community College as a sophomore.
Springfield News-Leader: Missouri State put the finishing touches on its women’s basketball recruiting class on Wednesday, with the official addition of Brice Calip, a 5-foot-8 guard from Sapulpa, Okla.
Omaha World-Herald: “I don’t think I’ve ever had a day like the day of that Clemson game. One of my favorite memories of that year is running out for the introductions before that game. The stadium was electric. The city of Omaha was just different that week.
“We always felt like we were pretty good, but when we got to that series, it was a whole different level. I still think about that day. I don’t think I’ve ever had a better day in my life.”
Forest City Summit: Rob Kampman is easily one of the most traveled Forest City basketball players to ever play for the Indians. And no one was happier to see him last weekend than his 2001 FCHS teammates.
“It’s been a few years since I’ve been back for the alumni tournament,” he said after the first round games Friday night. “Seven, maybe 10 years, I’m not sure.”
Des Moines Register: Dominik Olejniczak is leaving the Drake men’s basketball program.
And although news of his departure was a surprise on Tuesday, it’s also a reflection of what has become a regular occurrence nationally. The 7-foot sophomore-to-be from Poland joined a list of roughly 300 players who are transferring to other schools.
Des Moines Register: (Keno) Davis was torn, back in April of 2008. And even now, he wonders how things might have been different if he had stuck around at Drake.
“It’s human nature,” he said. “Whatever decision you make in life, especially when you look at it, and it maybe wasn’t the right decision.
“The only reason for doing that is so hopefully you make the right choice the next time.”
ESPN: The Way-Too-Early Top 25 always earns its moniker. The first few seconds after the national title game, confetti still wafting in the celebratory air, is a hilariously premature point to try to pin down what the sport will look like in seven months. This is a standard disclaimer. We trot it out every year. We don’t pretend otherwise.
The Sporting News: Jamal Murray has already announced he’s leaving school after an outstanding freshman season, and even if Ulis, Labissiere, Lee and Briscoe follow him out the door, Kentucky probably will have the best team in the country.
USA Today: Events of the offseason — players testing the NBA waters, the cycling of coaches and transfers through the landscape and the impact of more incoming freshmen choosing teams — are sure to shake things up. But for now, here’s USA TODAY Sports’ instant look at the way-too-early top 25 for next season.
Yahoo.com: A clear-headed look at next season is especially difficult this year with four Rivals top 20 recruits not having chosen a school, transfer season only just beginning and dozens of NBA draft prospects still deciding if they intend to stay in school or turn pro.
CBSSports.com: This is basically an #InGreggMarshallWeTrust ranking. In other words, we’re just going to assume Wichita State will be good again because, you know, Wichita State will probably be good again.
The Sporting News: Wichita State, however, was a victim to a brutal bracket that set up a second-round matchup with Kentucky. The Wildcats edged the Shockers 78-76 and advanced to the NCAA championship game before losing to Connecticut.
Colorado Springs Gazette: “There’s some frustration,” Colorado coach Tad Boyle said Tuesday when I asked if the sport’s cheating culture dug under his skin. “I’d by lying if I said there wasn’t.”
Springfield News-Leader: Missouri State officials have said frankly in recent months that the school’s athletics spending needs to be reined in. Battered by declining ticket revenue and budget overruns, the athletics department increasingly has relied on support from the university’s general fund to pay its bills.
The Southern: With four potential starters back in 2016-17, SIU men’s basketball coach Barry Hinson vowed to play a schedule better suited for that type of experience next winter.
The Pantagraph: Still, the Redbirds’ Valley championship and NCAA Tournament droughts reached 18 years. No one wants to see that end more than (Dan) Muller. “Our goal is to win this league, period,” he said Monday while on the road. “That’s what we’re working for every day.” With five of his top six players expected to return next season, Muller is setting the bar high and squarely on a Valley title — and beyond.
Cedar Rapids Gazette: By late Friday night, the state of Iowa was swollen with pride. After Iowa State’s strong performance in a first-round NCAA men’s basketball tournament victory over Iona Thursday, the dramatic ways Iowa and Northern Iowa won their games Friday left their fans giddy. Entering Saturday’s second round, our state had as many teams among the 32 survivors as the Big 12 Conference, and more than the Pac-12 and SEC.
Cedar Rapids Gazette: Northern Iowa has itself a nickname. It elicits some laughs, but “Jake and the Giant Killers” has picked up some steam in the last few days as it circulated as a meme online and was inserted into play-by-play man Gary Rima’s emphatic call of the Texas buzzer-beater. The Panthers have made the upset become routine. They’ve made the upset not an upset.
Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier: When Northern Iowa beat Kansas in the 2010 NCAA Tournament, the Panthers’ head coach celebrated “a little bit” and then moved on to the next game. Upon further review, Jacobson told his players that going forward “we’re going to find some time to enjoy it when we’ve earned that opportunity.” Then came Friday night, and Paul Jesperson’s halfcourt buzzer beater that lifted UNI past Texas in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. With Sunday’s matchup against Texas A&M on the horizon, Jacobson felt the Panthers had earned the right to enjoy the moment for more than a few minutes.
Miami Herald: And with that, the Hurricanes stormed the Dunkin’ Donuts Center court and put on one of the most dominating 12-minute starts and one of the gutsiest comebacks in recent tournament history. They raced to a 21-point lead, let the lead evaporate, and then rallied to reach the Sweet 16 with a 65-57 victory. It’s the second time UM reached the Sweet 16 in four seasons.
Palm Beach Post: They were sick of hearing about Wichita State’s top-ranked defense. They were tired of reading about its Final Four-caliber backcourt, how it was the NCAA tournament’s most dangerous 11-seed. Really, the third-seeded Hurricanes already had all the motivation they needed. Then, they saw that Las Vegas considered them an underdog.
Palm Beach Post: After Miami’s 21-point lead shrank to three and with 12 minutes, 28 seconds left, Larranaga earned a rare technical foul. He barked long and loud at an official after Ja’Quan Newton and Angel Rodriguez were whistled for fouls.
Miami Herald: Wichita State is no ordinary No. 11 seed. In fact, Vegas lists the Shockers as 2 1/2 point favorites over the Canes. Yes, an 11 is favored over a 3. The Shockers have the nation’s top-rated defense in points allowed (59) and efficiency (according to KenPom analytics). They swarm, swat and smother all game long. They are led by the phenomenal senior backcourt of Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker, who reached the Final Four as freshmen, were 35-1 as sophomores and beat Kansas to advance to the Sweet 16 last March.
Palm Beach Post: It was massive Thursday. Wichita State dominated its first-round matchup, holding sixth-seeded Arizona — which averaged 81 points per game — to 55. The Wildcats had 19 in the first half, and were down by as many as 24 with 12 minutes to go. They finished with nearly as many turnovers (19) as field goals (20).
Providence Journal: The line between college basketball’s power brokers and the so-called mid-majors has become increasingly blurred since George Mason’s storybook run to the 2006 Final Four. Perhaps no program better illustrates that than Wichita State, the perennial Missouri Valley contender and formidable opponent for ACC at-large qualifier Miami in Saturday’s 12:10 p.m. South Region game at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier: Paul Jesperson hit a shot that gave Northern Iowa a future. And Jesperson took his place in Panther history while doing it. Where Maurice Newby, Ali Farokhmanesh and Wes Washpun stand, Jesperson stands with them. The senior banked in a midcourt shot at the horn to give UNI an incredible, 75-72 victory over Texas Friday night in the first round of NCAA Tournament West Region action at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Cedar Falls Gazette: Maybe the Panthers being in the same building and locker room as the 2010 trip south didn’t have a direct effect on the game. But it sure makes for some beautiful symmetry. In 2010 it was Ali Farohkmanesh and beating Kansas. In 2016 it was Paul Jesperson and a half-court buzzer beater to beat Texas, 75-72 and send UNI to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Cedar Falls Gazette: Listen to Gary Rima’s radio call of Jesperson’s shot.
Des Moines Register: Move over, Ali Farokhmanesh. You too, Maurice Newby. Another Northern Iowa basketball player hit an NCAA Tournament shot for the ages Friday night.
Daily Oklahoman: “This isn’t meant in a bad way at all … but we’re tired of talking about that game and talking about that Kansas shot,” said UNI senior guard Matt Bohannon. “Great moment in our history, but we just want to do something pretty special, too. Go even further than that group did.”
Arizona Daily Star: Sometimes, a big loss in the NCAA Tournament can dry the tears up before they really even start, with everyone having plenty of time to absorb the finality of it all. Not so for the Arizona Wildcats, who lost for the first time in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament under coach Sean Miller, trailing by up to 24 and ultimately losing 65-55 to defensive-minded Wichita State at Dunkin’ Donuts Center on Thursday night.
Arizona Daily Star: Sean Miller was trending on Thursday, and it had nothing to do with Arizona’s NCAA Tournament performance. Miller sweat through his white button-up shirt on national television, causing the Twitterverse to temporarily explode. Arizona managers retrieved a new shirt for Miller at halftime. “We always bring two shirts,” said Brian Brigger, Arizona’s equipment manager.
Arizona Daily Star: You want to dump it on Sean Miller? Go ahead. He’s the most convenient target. He put together a team without a point guard at Point Guard U. He’s the guy who called a timeout 57 seconds into Thursday’s game as if to tell his befuddled team, basically, “Didn’t you hear a word I told you in the scouting report?” “They’re good. They lead the nation in defense. Didn’t you believe me?”
Providence Journal: Thursday’s NCAA Tournament finale at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center featured one of college basketball’s bullies beating up on what proved to be an overmatched foe.And no, there wasn’t a pregame costume change deep in the bowels of the building the sellout crowd of 11,559 couldn’t see. Wichita State, the at-large selection out of the Missouri Valley and First Four survivor Tuesday night in Dayton, cruised past two-time Elite Eight qualifier and Pac-12 power Arizona, 65-55, in South Region action.
Yahoo.com: Two dominant victories from Wichita State this week has already inspired second guessing of the Shockers’ No. 11 seeding. On one hand, Wichita State had only one Top 50 RPI win the entire season and had a resume that typically sends a team to the NIT. On the other hand, its dominance against inferior competition was so pervasive that multiple analytics systems suggested the Shockers were a Top 25 team and Ken Pomeroy’s ratings had them 11th in the country.
CBSSports.com: The craziest thing about this game? It wasn’t really even as close as the final score would indicate. Arizona used a late run to make the score more respectable as the Shockers took the pedal off of the gas after getting out to a 24-point lead with 12 minutes to go.
Wichita State just smothered Arizona with their nation-best defense. The Wildcats came into this game as a top-20 offense. But in the end, 19 was the opportune number for all the wrong reasons for them.
ESPN.com: They talked about being disrespected and undervalued, and used the First Four date as a combination of motivation and opportunity. Wichita State? Nope. That was VCU and Shaka Smart in 2011, en route to making history from the play-in game all the way to the Final Four. Dare we say this is looking familiar? The Shockers flat-out embarrassed Arizona on Thursday in the first round of the NCAA tournament, mopping the floor with the Wildcats and Sean Miller’s sweat-soaked shirts, 65-55.
Arizona Daily Star: Just them. All the sure-fire lottery picks of recent seasons were gone, leaving a mix of transfers, seniors, sophomores and freshmen that would ultimately rely on effort and chemistry almost as much as talent. That worked out pretty well. Arizona didn’t win the Pac-12 as it was narrowly expected to, but the Wildcats bring a 25-8 record and No. 6 seed into the NCAA Tournament opener Thursday against Wichita State, with the knowledge that they nearly defeated eventual No. 1-NCAA Tournament seed Oregon in the Pac-12 Tournament last week.
Arizona Daily Star: The Shockers lost to USC 72-69 in Orlando, Fla., early in the season in a game that VanVleet missed with a hamstring injury. They beat UNLV 56-50 and Utah 67-50 at home, and beat Bradley both home and away. UA split two games with USC, beat UNLV at home, and lost at Utah on Feb. 27. The Wildcats also drubbed Bradley.
Arizona Daily Star: While preparing his guys for a quick overnight trip to Providence, R.I., on Wednesday morning, Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall deployed a little psychology. “Arizona had to fly all the way across the country,” he said, in locker room comments televised by TruTV. “We only have to go halfway. We’ll be fine.”
Arizona Daily Star: “Wow,” UA coach Sean Miller said. “He reminds me a lot of T.J. McConnell.” Miller qualified the statement saying that VanVleet should take that as the “ultimate compliment.” “Fred, I think, is the heart and soul of their team,” he said. No qualification needed.
Providence Journal: The Shockers crawled into their hotel beds at about 5:30 a.m., weary travelers fresh in from Dayton after a 70-50 mugging of Vanderbilt in the First Four. Wichita State earned the No. 11 seed in the South Region by closing on a 20-2 run against the Commodores and will face No. 6 seed Arizona in the second game of Thursday’s night doubleheader.
Providence Journal: This is not the way the senior season for celebrated Shockers Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker was supposed to play out. Part of a class that has, in succession, reached a Final Four, completed an undefeated regular season and defeated in-state rival Kansas in the tournament, VanVleet and Baker have endured their toughest season as teammates.
Providence Journal: But the cupboard is hardly bare. When Arizona plays Thursday night’s final game, Miller will line up with a slew of highly touted players. The leaders are Ryan Anderson, a transfer from Boston College who’s led the team in both scoring (15.5) and rebounding (10.1); 7-foot New Hampshire native Kaleb Tarczewski; and Gabe York, a deadly 3-point shooter. Tarczewski owns the impressive distinction of being the winningest player in program history with 110 victories in his career.
Providence Journal: visitors guide.
That’s where modern technology steps in to help, with personal iPads and smartphones allowing a second viewing option while sitting in seats like those inside the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Such an offering requires robust wireless Internet capability, something the facility has been working toward since 2007 in partnership with ExteNet Systems.
Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier: When Northern Iowa plunged into a mid-season crisis, it would have been so easy for three seniors to turn off the lights and declare the party over.It never happened, and that’s one of the big reasons the Panthers and their fans have been celebrating a lot recently.
Cedar Falls Gazette: Northern Iowa has seen this movie before. North Carolina, Iowa State — even Wichita State — presented, on paper, what should have been insurmountable advantages. Size, strength and statistics all flew in the face of what the Panthers eventually were able to do.
Cedar Falls Gazette: (Matt) Bohannon isn’t shy about how he feels about his team and teammates, nor what he thinks this team is capable of. Before going to Des Moines and beating Iowa State in December, Bohannon let loose how he felt about the state of Iowa overlooking the Panthers. He said at the time, “We don’t care about what the media says, that they’re No. 2 and they have that number next to their name. We feel just as confident as they do. … We want to go out and prove how good we are.”
The Tennessean: The 20-point loss was also Vanderbilt’s third-largest losing margin in 25 NCAA Tournament games in program history, and the numbers showed that. “Surprised and disappointed,” said coach Kevin Stallings, summing up Vanderbilt’s worst offensive performance of the season.
The Tennessean video: What’s a Shocker? A scarecrow with Thunderbolts.
Dayton Daily News: It wasn’t an explosive effort for the duo, but it was more than Vanderbilt (19-14) could match against a Wichita State defense that ranks No. 1 in the country in scoring defense (59.3).
The Shockers (25-8) held the Commodores to 30-percent shooting from the floor, including 3 of 19 from 3-point range.
ESPN.com: Struggling to get much going offensively for much of the first half, the Shockers turned to their defensive work to change the momentum right after halftime. Wichita State held Vanderbilt scoreless for nearly the first six minutes of the second half and gave their offensive attack a jolt.
CBSSports.com: I’ve already given extended thoughts on this game in an upsets column. Wichita State has a good chance to pick up a win here, as this isn’t necessarily the most traditional Miller-coached team. It’s a deep team that’s strong offensively, but it can be prone to defensive problems. That’s going to make going against the nation’s No. 1 defense in Wichita State awfully difficult.
CBSSports.com: Let’s tour the rest of the South region, shall we? And we’ll make our way counterclockwise throughout the bracket. Tuesday night’s terrific First Four game will pit two coaches with contrasting musical tastes against each other: Kevin Stallings (Vince Gill) vs. Gregg Marshall (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers).
The Tennessean: Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall referenced the “bigs” in his undersized lineup — that is, the team’s rotation of post players, who all stand no taller than 6-foot-8. Compare that to Vanderbilt’s three 7-footers.
Experience and size are certainly relative terms when it comes to the matchup of Vanderbilt’s oversized lineup and Wichita State’s postseason veterans. Both will try to compensate for what they lack to advance to the 64-team bracket.
The Tennessean: There was a fear that one of Vanderbilt’s most talented teams in recent memory would not even get a shot at the NCAA Tournament. Damian Jones and Wade Baldwin are projected NBA first-round picks, and Luke Kornet also may have a pro career.
Quad City Times: Northern Iowa, Drake and Missouri State, the tournament’s top three seeds, brought the largest contingents of spectators to the games and with four 20-win teams on the court for weekend games, attendance was solid. The crowd of 2,241 at Saturday’s two-game semifinal session and 1,842 at Sunday’s championship game were the best for those sessions since the Missouri Valley first went to neutral sites for its women’s basketball tournament in 2008.
The Tennessean: Most national bracketologists, including ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, didn’t project Vanderbilt to make the NCAA Tournament after it suffered a 67-65 upset loss to Tennessee in the SEC Tournament Thursday. On Sunday night, Stallings criticized what he called the “media creation” of the ever-changing NCAA Tournament bubble and said, “ESPN has created Joe Lunardi as God.”
CBSSports.com: The Shockers were the subject of the longest external debate of bubble season. Would Fred VanVleet, Ron Baker, and company get in after losing in the Missouri Valley Conference semifinals to Northern Iowa?
Sports Illustrated: The lack of star power. The tournament is devoid of superteams as well as name brands among the players, at least compared to previous years. “There are certainly years when you have superteams like a Kentucky and that is one of your main storylines going into the tournament.” said CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus. “The story is that it’s wide open.”
Yahoo.com: The reduction of the shot clock from 35 to 30 seconds has helped speed up play, and an officiating crackdown on physical defense has enhanced the flow. Scoring is up more than five points per game per team; possessions are up; points per possession are up; and shooting percentages from all areas of the court (2-point, 3-point and free-throw) are up as well. Unfortunately, complaints about officiating seem to be up as well – but that’s a byproduct of change.
Yahoo.com: The appeal of the NCAA tournament’s opening weekend is the potential for a no-name mid-major to pull a stunning upset, but this year’s committee members robbed the event of some of its usual charm. They passed over a handful of deserving small-conference at-large hopefuls in favor of forgettable middle-of-the-pack bubble teams from power conferences.
The Sporting News: Monmouth got hosed. There’s no other way to describe what happened to the Hawks during the NCAA’s Selection Show on Sunday evening. There will be no “bench mob” in the tournament this year, despite the program’s decision to schedule tough opponents in its non-conference play, and that’s a dangerous message that the committee is sending to mid-major teams.
CBSSports.com: What you need to know is that no power-five school with a top-54 RPI was omitted this season, but eight non-power-five schools with top-54 RPIs were -- specifically St. Bonaventure (30), Akron (34), Saint Mary’s (38), Princeton (39), San Diego State (41), Valparaiso (49), Monmouth (52) and Hofstra (54).
Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier: All the bracketology is done. UNI, after a week of waiting, now has an opponent, a site and an approximate time when it begins play in the NCAA Tournament. Seeded 11th in the West Region, Ben Jacobson’s team will take on No. 6 seed Texas Friday night in Oklahoma City. That game, the last of the four scheduled in Chesapeake Energy Arena, will tip after the 6:20 p.m. Texas A&M-Green Bay matchup concludes.
Cedar Rapids Gazette: When the bracket for the NCAA Tournament was revealed Sunday, more than a few people smiled at the matchup for No. 11-seed UNI: a date with No. 6-seed Texas, back in Oklahoma City on Friday. Coach Ben Jacobson sure remembers the last trip there, and isn’t exactly disappointed with the prospect of a return.
Joe Lunardi:No. 9 seed in Des Moines
FoxSports.com: No. 9 seed in Spokane
Jerry Palm: No. 11 seed in Dayton
Sports Illustrated: No. 10 seed in West Region
Bracketmatrix.com: No. 10 seed, appearing on 94 of 102 brackets
Warrennolan.com: No. 10 seed in Raleigh, N.C.
Assemblycall.com: No. 11 seed in Denver
USA Today: No. 11 seed in Dayton
basketpredictions.blogspot.com: No. 10 seed
bracketball.blogspot.com: No. 9 seed
nbcsports.com: No. 11 seed in Providence
Bracketmatrix.com: No. 10 seed, appearing on 88 of 97 brackets.
Warrennolan.com: No. 11 seed in Dayton
SI.com: No. 10 seed in South Region
Jerry Palm: No. 11 seed in Dayton
Joe Lunardi: No. 9 in St. Louis
Bracketmatrix.com: Holding steady at a No. 10 seed; not on all 103 projections.
USA Today: No. 12 seed in Denver.
Foxsports.com: No. 9 seed in Brooklyn.
Assemblycall.com: No. 10 seed in St. Louis
Joe Lunardi: No. 8 seed in Des Moines.
Bracketball: No. 10 seed, plus CIT and NIT fields.
Bracketproject: No. 9 in Des Moines.
Jerry Palm: Dayton.
Yahoo.com: No. 11 seed.
Foxsports.com: They should. (Gregg) Marshall has made the NCAA tournament in 10 of the past 16 seasons; this season ought to be the 11th. But for Gregg Marshall, someone who has always overachieved through sheer force of will, an obstacle that is now in the hands of someone else is the most difficult of them all.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Missouri Valley Conference powerhouse Wichita State is one of the brand names of mid-major basketball, perhaps second only to Gonzaga.
Sports Illustrated: Not many schools would merit discussion with a résumé like this. The Shockers have only one top-50 win, and that came at home against Utah on Dec. 12.
USA Today: This March, Wichita State (24-8, 16-2 Missouri Valley) has an identical overall record to what it did in 2010-11 heading into Selection Sunday. But the overall credentials are much better. Instead of zero top-50 wins, the Shockers have a top-10 win against Utah, by 17 points at that. And instead of a non-conference strength of schedule outside of the top 100, they have the 12th-best in the nation.
New York Times: In past years, that ranking in the index would have left Wichita State’s hopes of making the N.C.A.A. tournament for the fifth straight year on life support, especially after it lost in the semifinals of its conference tournament, eliminating its chance at earning an automatic bid.
Foxsports.com: No. 10 vs. Texas Tech.
Jerry Palm: Let other teams drop.
Bracketmatrix: Holding at No. 10.
Primetimebracketology: First four out.
NCAA.com: Tournament sites, dates.
Joe Lunardi: No. 8 seed in Brooklyn.
CBSSports.com: First four out.
FoxSports.com: Back to Scottrade Center.
USA Today: Last four in.
Quad City Times: Hoops in the Heartland, as the 10-team tourney is being billed, provides Northern Iowa’s Jen Keitel, Bradley’s Leti Lerma and Southern Illinois’ Celina VanHyfte with a homecoming of sorts.
Springfield News-Leader: One year ago, the Missouri State Lady Bears came within 40 minutes of reaching the NCAA Tournament. Those hopes ended in an 85-71 loss to Wichita State in the championship game of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.
The Pantagraph: Shakeela Fowler didn’t play varsity basketball for four years and reach the 1,000-point plateau as a junior at King High School in Milwaukee by backing down from challenges.“I’m not scared of anything or anybody,” Fowler says with considerable conviction.
The fact Illinois State coach Barb Smith was unafraid to offer a 5-foot-3 player a full scholarship has paid off handsomely for both her and Fowler.
Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier: The Panthers won a pair of games to clinch the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season championship and now head to Moline, Ill., for this week’s MVC Tournament as the No. 1 seed. UNI begins its quest for an NCAA Tournament slot Friday at noon against the winner of Thursday’s Wichita State-Bradley matchup.
Springfield News-Leader: (Paul) Lusk’s future – and the future of the program – has been debated among factions of the fan base all season, as a sub-.500 finish appeared inevitable and attendance continued to decline. The decision seems certain to spur more discussion, and dissent among some fans.
Joe Lunardi: Rematch of 2012.
Jerry Palm: First one out.
Bracketmatrix: Holding steady.
Yahoo.com Also holding steady.
Primetimebracketology: First four out.
Joe Lunardi: Same seed, different city.
Yahoo.com: Holding steady at No. 11.
CBSSports.com: First four out.
Washington Post: A trip to Des Moines.
Evansville Courier & Press: Evansville’s inclusion in the NIT isn’t a given. The NIT Bracket Project didn’t list the Aces in its most recent projected field, which was updated Saturday. On the other hand, the NIT “bracketology” on nycbuckets.com lists UE as a No. 6 seed in its projection updated Sunday night.
ESPN.com: Joe Lunardi drops the Shockers a seed.
Yahoo.com: No. 11 seed.
Bracketmatrix.com: Consensus No. 10 seed.
ESPN.com: Immediately afterward, the tweets began to fly: The Shockers would be sweating out Selection Sunday. They were on the bubble. They were worse than [insert my favorite team]. Or, most extreme, they didn’t have a case for inclusion, period.
basketballpredictions.blogspot.com: That said, Wichita State has two things going for it. First of all, they played much better in the second half of the season after getting their full roster together, and the Selection Committee has always weighed late season games more than early season games. Second of all, we saw for the first time last season that analytical ratings like Pomeroy were taken into account a little bit.
SBNation: Wichita State’s only loss to a team from outside of the Top 100 came at 119th-ranked Illinois State. The Shockers went 19-1 in games against teams ranked between 101st and 351st. Valparaiso has four such losses after last night’s defeat to Green Bay, all to teams ranked 160th or higher. However, the Crusaders played 24 games against teams ranked 101st or worse, going 20-4.
RealtimeRPI.com: No. 13 seed.
Primetimebracketology: Monmouth moves out of the tourney to the 6th team out with their loss in their conference tournament. Many consider them to be a contender for a play-in but at this point I just don’t think their resume cuts it.
Washington Post: As for the Shockers, they’re actually in somewhat decent shape even if their only top-50 victory is a defeat of Utah. But the best thing going for them is they won’t play again.
Thebiglead.com: Wichita State lost to Northern Iowa again, and now must rely on an at-large selection. They don’t have the strongest traditional resumé with only one win versus a likely tournament team (Utah). But, they did dominate the Missouri Valley and are 11th in Ken Pomeroy’s ratings.
CBSSports.com: If that’s true, Wichita State presents the ultimate litmus test for the committee. As of Monday morning, the Shockers are ranked 11th at KenPom. That standing not only suggests that Wichita State is undeniably one of the best teams in the country -- but that there should be no debate about their inclusion into the field if we’re discussing the best at-large candidates.
Jerry Palm: Their at-large chances are slim-to-none, and if this wasn’t a team with a recent Final Four run and undefeated regular season, I doubt we’d be talking about them at all.
Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier: Said (Matt) Bohannon, “These (Wichita State) guys are very good and a very talented team, but we knew we could take away a lot of what they wanted to do and we knew if we stuck with it for another 20 minutes and played our butts off, things would be pretty good for us.”
Cedar Rapids Gazette: UNI reached the Arch Madness final by way of another big game in a big situation from senior guard and Cedar Rapids Washington grad Wes Washpun, who finished with 20 points on 7 of 16 shooting, including a running bank shot with 0:18 left in overtime that put the game out of reach for Wichita State (24-8, 16-2).
Jerry Palm: Springtime in the Rockies.
Joe Lunardi: Return to St. Louis.
USA Today: Also, return to St. Louis.
Terre Haute Tribune Star: WSU lost in last season’s tournament to Illinois State in the semifinals. This year, WSU might have to stare down Northern Iowa in a semifinal, a team it lost to at Koch Arena in February. St. Louis is not kind to the Shockers. Beating its St. Louis jinx might be harder than the opponents it will face in doing so.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Eventually, the Panthers ended Wichita State’s 43-game home winning streak and finished the regular season with nine wins in 10 games.
“I thought we’d have three or four more wins right now,” (Ben) Jacobson said this week. “We had two and a half weeks we were spinning our tires. But you want to be playing like we’re playing right now. That’s the best way to go into the tournament.”
Peoria Journal Star: When it comes to the Missouri Valley Conference men’s basketball tournament, Bradley is hoping ignorance is bliss.
Once again, the young Braves, seeded ninth, are facing a new experience when they meet eighth-seeded Loyola at Scottrade Center in the first play-in round game on Thursday at 6:05 p.m.
Springfield News-Leader: The Shockers are back in the national rankings, and they are the clear favorites to be cutting down the nets at the Scottrade Center on Sunday afternoon. They’ve also done enough to merit an at-large bid to the NCAA showcase.
The Southern: SIU guard Anthony Beane passed initial tests of the NCAA’s concussion protocol after the game Saturday night and Sunday morning, according to Saluki coach Barry Hinson, but his status for the league tournament this week is still uncertain.
USA Today: Rematch of 2015 in Omaha.
Jerry Palm: Rematch of 1989 in Omaha.
Joe Lunardi: Don’t touch Kemba Walker.
Yahoo.com: Hasn’t changed WSU opinion in two weeks.
Bracketmatrix.com: No. 9.
The Pantagraph: ISU has a decent shot to earn its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1998 by capturing the MVC tourney title. But it won’t be easy, especially with the Shockers regaining their mojo and flexing their considerable muscles.
The Southern: With his last chance to make the postseason he’s always dreamed about, (Anthony) Beane hopes to pull the first 20-win team in Saluki history in nine years with him.
The Sporting News: They were so connected for four years that when Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker wound up together in the handshake line following their final game at Koch Arena, even their actions there were perfectly synchronized: a shake of the hand, a slap to the opponent’s shoulder. Once, twice, three times: almost as if it had been choreographed by Susan Stroman.
Sports Illustrated: When they exited the arena, (Fred) VanVleet and backcourt mate Ron Baker—as well as fellow seniors Evan Wessel, Anton Grady and Tom “Bush” Wamukota—were two days away from their last regular season game, a home date with Illinois State on Saturday. Players come and go every spring, of course. But this is different.
The Pantagraph: Wichita State will be out to honor its star-studded senior class — and gain some revenge — when ISU visits in the 1 p.m. regular-season finale at Koch Arena. To say there will be a buzz as the Shockers bid farewell to Fred VanVleet, Ron Baker and Evan Wessel would be an understatement.
FoxSports.com: CBS expands selection show.
ESPN.com: Different week, same drill: The Shockers are so obviously the best team in the Missouri Valley that even saying so feels redundant, and they are shaping up, once again, to be an absolutely horrifying high-single-digit seed in some No. 1 or No. 2 seed’s first-round pod.
Joe Lunardi: Remember that traveling call in 1976?
FoxSports.com: Back to St. Louis.
USA Today: Rematch with Cuonzo.
USA Today: Bubble bad for WSU.
Jerry Palm: Don’t court-storm these Wildcats.
Jerry Palm: No. 11 seed.
Joe Lunardi: No. 7 seed in a rematch of 1976.
USA Today: No. 12 seed vs the Big 12.
Jerry Palm: The NCAA selection committee has always said such things are “taken into consideration” during their proceedings, but the reality is that in only one circumstance would you ever notice such consideration. That circumstance is a season-ending injury to a key player — and that consideration always works against a team.
Terre Haute Tribune Star: Blood was in the water at Hulman Center on Sunday. When Wichita State is in the building, that’s usually not a good sign for the home team. However, no one could have forseen just how bad it ultimately got for Indiana State’s men’s basketball team on Sunday.
Terre Haute Tribune Star: ISU has to fix itself before it can solve Wichita State.
Peoria Journal Star: It was. BU rode the shot to its third Valley win in 16 tries, creating a two-game lead over the 10th-place Bulldogs with two games left. “It was well guarded and what we wanted,” said Drake coach Ray Giacoletti. “A good player making a heckuva play.”
During most of the first 34 minutes, it didn’t appear Bradley would be in position for such a play.
The Pantagraph: Where that defensive effort was for the first 22 minutes at the McLeod Center was a mystery to the Redbird coaches and players.
Northern Iowa picked ISU apart and opened a 19-point lead early in the second half. The Redbirds made a big rally, getting within three, before the defense betrayed them again as the Panthers earned a 75-66 victory before a crowd of 6,145.
Evansville Courier & Press: Jaylon Brown found himself wide open on the left wing with more open space between him and the basket. Evansville’s 6-foot guard hurtled toward the rim, exploding off two feet for a one-handed dunk that electrified the Aces and a Ford Center crowd of 7,163.
Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier: Thanks in large part to Wes Washpun and the return of the high ball screen offense, the Panthers fought off a second-half Redbird rally and posted a 75-66 victory in Missouri Valley Conference action at the McLeod Center. Now 9-7 in the MVC and 17-12 overall, UNI took a large step toward avoiding the Thursday round of action at the league tournament March 3 in St. Louis. Moreover, the Panthers regrouped after their six-game winning streak came to an end Wednesday night at Loyola.
Cedar Rapids Gazette: It’s seven wins in eight games now for Northern Iowa (17-12), which is doing everything it can to stay far, far away from the first night of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament in a couple of weeks. The Panthers are 9-7 in league play, good for fifth place. The top six teams avoid having to play that dreaded Thursday night opening-round game in St. Louis. UNI concludes its regular season with a home game Wednesday night against Indiana State and a road game a week from Saturday at Evansville.
Terre Haute Tribune Star: Mitch Hannahs has a problem as his Indiana State baseball team makes its season debut today, but that’s not necessarily bad news. “It’s a good problem,” ISU’s third-year coach said earlier this week. “There’s good competition, and a lot of jobs are up in the air.”
Terre Haute Tribune Star: However, when it comes to Wichita State’s visit to Hulman Center in 1979? It’s best to pick one of the most memorable regular season games, maybe *the* most memorable, in ISU’s history.
We all know what happened in 1979. ISU took an undefeated mark and the No. 1 ranking in the nation into the national championship game against Michigan State. The Sycamores fell to the Spartans, but not before cementing their own legendary status in college basketball’s annals. Of course, Larry Bird was the primary reason for that. Hulman Center was his launching pad to burst on the national scene.
Thesouthern.com: The Salukis hit .249 as a team and allowed more than double their 14 home runs (35) during an injury-plagued 12-46 campaign that set the school record for losses. With six positional starters back and several new additions, SIU coach Ken Henderson expects better power numbers and a quick rebound from a season that began 2-10 last year.
CBSSports.com: Headed to Oklahoma City.
ESPN.com: No. 7 seed far, far away from Wichita.
USA Today: No. 12 seed.
Yahoo.com: Unable to dodge the scythe, the Wheat Shockers, a near at-large lock just two weeks ago, have themselves in a perilous position. Crippling losses to Illinois St. and Northern Iowa, a pair of 100-plus RPI black eyes, leaves Wichita with zero margin for error.
Springfield News-Leader: The Shockers put on their personal slam dunk contest, finishing with 10 crowd-pleasing dunks in a 99-68 victory over Missouri State, Wichita State’s 12th win in a row in the series.
Omaha World-Herald: The good news for Midwest baseball fans is college baseball has improved in the Big Ten and Missouri Valley. The bad news is, (Ed) Servais competes with those schools (and the Big 12) for players but must sell them on playing in a league with seven teams — four on the East Coast. Servais is constantly selling the positive spin. He says the Big East has opened new recruiting doors for him on the East Coast. And he says an at-large bid is not as long a shot as you think.
Springfield News-Leader: Yet pieces remain. Like preseason All-Americans Jake Burger at third base, and closer Bryan Young. And left fielder Spencer Johnson, the team’s third preseason All-Missouri Valley Conference pick. Other letter winners back include left-handed pitcher Jordan Knutson, catcher Matt Fultz, first baseman Justin Paulsen and right fielder Blake Graham. Their presence – and last year’s success – has helped lead the Bears to a spot as the preseason favorite in the Valley and a No. 17 national preseason ranking.
SI.com: Put the name brand aside, and try to spin that as a worthy at-large résumé. It’s nearly impossible. One more regular-season loss would seal Wichita State’s at-large fate. The Shockers are, however, overwhelming favorites to win the MVC tournament.
ESPN.com: No. 8 seed in Raleigh.
CBSSports.com: No. 12 seed in OKC.
USA Today: No. 12 seed in Denver.
Yahoo.com: No. 8 seed.
Yahoo.com: There have been some high notes – including several wins in recent years over Big 12 kingpin Kansas – but Travis Ford’s overall résumé is pretty average in eight years on the job, so it’s almost assuredly time for a change at a place that aspires to be better than average. How good is the job: Trails Kansas and Texas within the league, but better than most of the rest. Who might get the call: Feels like a Gregg Marshall job to The Minutes. Maudlin alum sentiment will be with TV/radio guy Doug Gottlieb, and Doug Gottlieb will do his best to stoke that sentiment.
Editor’s note: Nobody else thinks of Oklahoma State as a “Marshall job” or Stillwater as a Marshall town.
Evansville Courier & Press: “He had about 50 people from Lithuania here today so I knew he was going to be juiced from the get-go,” said UE junior Blake Simmons, who buried three three-pointers en route to 11 points.
Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier: How tough has it been for anyone to win at Koch Arena? For 43 straight games, opponents had walked into it and came away empty-handed. It was the nation’s longest homecourt winning streak. Koch Arena felt as secure as a bank vault — until Saturday.
Cedar Rapids Gazette: The losing streak that plagued January seems long gone for the Northern Iowa men’s basketball team, but it isn’t forgotten. What caused the Panthers (15-11, 7-6 Missouri Valley Conference) issues in those four straight losses are the exact things that have given them success in the five straight wins.
Jerry Palm: No. 10 seed in Gonzaga’s backyard.
Evansville Courier & Press: “They just punked us,” said (Adam) Wing, Evansville’s senior forward. “I hate to say it, but they wanted it more and it showed on the court.”
The Pantagraph: The Redbirds held the Purple Aces, who came in as the country’s third-best shooting team, to 30 percent from the field in the second half Thursday night. Nick Banyard scored a career-high 18 points as ISU took over sole possession of second place in the Missouri Valley Conference with a 70-60 victory over Evansville before a Ford Center crowd of 4,195.
Evansville Courier & Press: “He does a beautiful job of telling the story,” (Kathy) Vonderahe said of (Joe) Atkinson. “Everything was with respect. (The private screening) was the first time I’ve been the same room with the families. There was a community gathering at Roberts Stadium (after the crash), but services were in the players’ home communities. It was a really powerful presentation.”
Des Moines Register: Hosting Wichita State is rarely a party. Inviting the Shockers to your gym after they’ve suffered a loss is the pits.
Jerry Palm: Check out this rematch.
ESPN.com: Return to St. Louis.
USA Today: Return to Des Moines.
Peoria Journal Star: The Braves beat Indiana State 63-58. The Sycamores are a pretty good team. Not a great team, but one that came into Peoria tied for second in the Missouri Valley and had finished outside the MVC’s top five only once in the past six seasons. The Braves, as usual, were substantial underdogs. But they were unusually good throughout, and unexpectedly tough when it came time to seize victory and close out a close contest.
Peoria Journal Star: One of the signs of a veteran team is the ability to take charge of games down the stretch. On Saturday night at Carver Arena, the more inexperienced group assumed that role.
Terre Haute Tribune Star: “Extremely disappointed wouldn’t come close to how I feel. We talk about bringing competitiveness and toughness to the road and about being the more mature team,” Greg Lansing said. “A group of freshmen and sophomores were more mature and more competitive and tougher. That’s really disappointing.”
The Southern: “We needed to play great in order to beat Southern Illinois today, and we did,” Loyola coach Porter Moser said. “I just have an amazing amount of respect for getting this atmosphere back.”
The Pantagraph: This was the Redbirds’ second consecutive win over Wichita State after losing seven straight times to the Shockers. ISU beat the Shockers in the MVC Tournament semifinals in March. Muller said he doesn’t have any secrets to beating Wichita State.
The Pantagraph: “I’m not sure (about revenge). That was last year,” said Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall. “I think these guys are motivated for every game. It’s pretty simple — the next team we play is the one they’re motivated for.”
ESPN.com: Jay Bilas loves us!
Washington Post: Fourteen teams have adopted this strategy in 2016, and all are either potential Cinderellas (UNC Wilmington, UALR, Monmouth and Hawaii) or squads ready to capitalize on significant pre- and in-season hype (Wichita State, VCU, and the aforementioned Mountaineers).
CBSSports.com: NBA Draft top 150.
CBSSports.com: Just when you took your mind off them, the Wichita State Shockers got really good again and became one of the best stories and most dangerous teams in college basketball. Turns out that three-game losing streak and 2-4 start in November was just the right smoke screen to deflect our attention and lower the expectation bar on Gregg Marshall’s group.
The Sporting News: At the start of this week, teams were scoring 73.31 points per game. That’s down only a shade from where the game was when conference play began in earnest during the final week of December, at 73.78. Scoring trended downward during January, which is reason for vigilance, but not at such a rate as to be cause for concern or alarm.
SI.com: Having said that, no matter what the Shockers do the rest of the season, their best win will be over Utah. If they lose in the MVC tournament, they will be nervous on Selection Sunday.
SI.com: Rematch with Seton Hall.
The Washington Post: “I wish I was better sometimes. I’ll go home, I’ll be lying in bed and thinking I could’ve spent five more minutes with Leo before bedtime,” (Mark) Turgeon explained. “That’s the biggest thing: the pull. Am I being a great dad? Am I being a great husband?”
Springfield News-Leader: Wichita State’s Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker are locks, and you can’t pass up Evansville’s inside-out duo of D.J. Balentine and Edigijus Mockevicius. They are all dominant players on easily the two best teams in the Valley.
ValleyHoopsInsider.com: Southern Illinois guard Anthony Beane’s case for the Larry Award comes from his team’s place in the standings and his career-best numbers. With a true point guard for the first time in his career, the 6-foot-2 senior has soared for the resurgent Salukis (18-4, 7-2 Missouri Valley Conference), who enter the second half of the league season tied for second place with Evansville.
CBSSports.com: We want Duke.
USA Today: Rematch with Notre Dame.
Yahoo.com: Ultimately, if Wichita State keeps winning, I hope the selection committee bucks history and take VanVleet’s injury into account because otherwise the Shockers have a chance to be the team no high seed wants in its section of the bracket. Otherwise, can you imagine the reaction from the No. 1 seed whose second-round draw is a 27-win Wichita State team with a top 15 KenPom rating and loads of postseason experience?
ESPN.com: Lunardi slots WSU as a No. 6 team.
Evansville Courier & Press: Those fans witnessed this lasting image: Shockers guard Fred VanVleet strolling in front of his bench, flexing his arms after scoring over UE center Egidijus Mockevicius in the closing seconds.
Evansville Courier & Press: “We have a lot of the season left and hopefully we’ll get another opportunity to play these guys. They are the best and you certainly want to play against the best,” said the UE coach. “I think our guys will respond.”
The Southern: It took less than five minutes for SIU’s men’s basketball team’s shot at another historic road win to unravel at Northern Iowa Sunday.
Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier: Head coach Ben Jacobson has maintained lately that (Bennett) Koch has given the team quality minutes, but just not enough of them. Sunday, he delivered while staying in a positive frame of mind. Emotional peaks and valleys have also been issues.
Cedar Rapids Gazette: (Bennett) Koch has had other games this season in which he’s shown the ability to do what he did against the Salukis (18-5, 7-3 Missouri Valley Conference), but has had more than a few games in which frustration took him down a bad road mentally.
Evansville Courier & Press: No special promotions or major ticket discounts were given out for the Wichita State game, (Evansville AD Mark) Spencer said. “You really don’t do any price promotions or anything for this game because it sells itself,” he said. “A Tuesday night against Loyola or Drake, you’ve got to give out $5 tickets.”
Sports Illustrated: This has been the circle-your-calendar game in the Missouri Valley Conference all season. Wichita State edged the Purple Aces by three points in Wichita back on Jan. 6, mostly because the Shockers were able to hold the league’s top scorer, senior guard D.J. Balentine, to 14 points on 13 shots.
Sports Illustrated: Much of the teasing is done in good humor—the Twitter account @JohnHigginsHair has more than 3,600 followers—but some of it is not. Higgins has received harassing phone calls at his home in Omaha, Neb. He has seen pictures of his kids posted online by angry fans. Soon after he worked the epic triple-overtime game between Kansas and Oklahoma on Jan. 19, he received a threatening email at his business. He forwarded it to the FBI.
The Southern: Up three with 4.9 seconds to go against Evansville, the Salukis were instructed to foul after four different timeouts by coach Barry Hinson, but were too afraid of a four-point play at SIU Arena. Aces guard D.J. Balentine, the Missouri Valley Conference’s leading scorer, didn’t need those four.
Evansville Courier & Press: “I looked at Adam (Wing) and said, ‘We got this,’” (D.J.) Balentine said after the Aces’ mens’ basketball team triumphed 85-78 in front of 6,345 at the SIU Arena.
Washington Post: Scot McCloughan — hired one year ago and charged with pulling off a reclamation project — won’t make the same mistake. Asked on Wednesday afternoon whether he would avoid that pitfall, the Redskins’ general manager interrupted the question, blurting, “I’m never satisfied.”
CBSSports.com: Jerry Palm’s bracket.
USA Today: Spokane.
Peoria Journal Star: “It will be my first visit to Koch Arena and it will be a great challenge for our team,” BU coach Brian Wardle said through a spokesman. “From watching the tapes, you can see the fans bring a great deal of energy to the building and the players feed off that energy.”
Cedar Rapids Gazette: “When you talk out loud, it sounds a little easier. But when you’re out there, it’s a little tougher,” said Matt Bohannon, who had 14 points. “Maybe at times we’re making it tougher on ourselves by not doing what we should, but at the end of the day we’ve got to take pride and understand every possession counts.”
Des Moines Register: Ron Baker was the catalyst for Wichita State, finishing with 21 points, seven boards and three assists. “He’s a great basketball player,” Shockers coach Gregg Marshall said of Baker, an All-America candidate. “You can’t pigeonholed him and say he’s a shooter or he’s a ball handler or he’s a defender. “He does everything really well. In baseball terms, he’d be a five-tool guy.”
Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier: After the Panthers struggled again offensively in the 74-55 loss to Wichita State Wednesday at the McLeod Center, the head coach pointed a finger in his own direction when asked about finding a way to end the losing streak at three.
The Pantagraph: Against any other Missouri Valley Conference team, the Redbirds might have been headed to their fourth straight loss. But Bradley, the country’s youngest team, couldn’t take advantage of the many openings that ISU allowed.
Peoria Journal Star: But the Braves couldn’t quite finish the job as the Redbirds hung on for a 55-52, Missouri Valley Conference victory before a Carver Arena record-low crowd for this rivalry game at 7,300 — 49 fewer than last year’s previous low. It marked the fourth win in a row for ISU in the series and the 12th in the last 14 meetings. But this was the closest contest between the rivals since the Redbirds won 54-53 at Carver four years ago.
Peoria Journal Star: It did get better, and basketball scored a point or two. But then it got worse. Then it got a lot worse. Then it got real good for ISU and real bad for Bradley. And finally it got real good for Bradley and real bad for ISU. Then time ran out with ISU on top of a 55-52 score, and a paid crowd of 7,300, which included a few ghosts, went home hoping memories of this horror show would not make them insomniacs.
The Southern: “We can’t take the next step until we had a winning season. We could get e coli and not win another game for the rest of the year, and we’re still going to have a winning season, and I’m happy, but I’m happy for this program,” (coach Barry) Hinson said. “This region, our alumni, Saluki Nation, our fans and our students, because the eight-year drought is over.”
Seth Davis: Northern Iowa made lots of noise early in the season with wins over North Carolina and Iowa State, but the Panthers have opened conference play poorly. They won’t be easy to beat in Cedar Falls, but I think the Shockers are a rapidly improving team.
Terre Haute Tribune Star: However, VanVleet’s impact on a game goes way beyond numbers. In my time covering the Missouri Valley Conference — this is my 12th season — I’ve never seen a player who has a bigger effect on all nine of the other players on the floor in the way VanVleet does. For that reason, but along with many others, I think he’s the best player I’ve seen in my time in the MVC. Better than scoring guru Doug McDermott of Creighton. VanVleet’s influence goes far beyond scoring.
ESPN.com: Wichita State moving up in Joe Lunardi’s work.
SI.com: Bracket projections.
CBSSports.com: Bracket projections.
Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com: And, before you ask, yes, I realize Wichita State is 11-5. But three of those losses came while Fred VanVleet was sidelined, and another came while he played but was hobbled. The Shockers have won nine of 10 since VanVleet returned. They’re 10-2 with him.
Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier: As Jeremy Morgan summed it up, “We felt coming in we should win. When we play like we did today, we’re not going to win many games.”
Cedar Rapids Gazette: Unfortunately for the Panthers, more of the same meant more struggles — at historic levels, this time — and more hand-wringing in the wake of a loss. UNI set a McLeod Center record for lowest point total in a 51-41 loss to Loyola, and in the process dropped its first Missouri Valley Conference game at home since 2013-14 — a stretch of 14 games.
Terre Haute Tribune Star: Both (Devonte) Brown and (Khristian) Smith are well-aware that they can impart lessons when it comes to winning at Wichita State, but it only goes so far. Until the players experience the atmosphere, there’s no good way to replicate it elsewhere. It didn’t stop ISU from trying Friday as crowd noise was pumped into Hulman Center at an ear-splitting decibel level.
Peoria Journal Star: The Braves (3-16, 1-5) were in this game only briefly, leading 3-2 on Luuk van Bree’s 3-pointer at 17:40. The Bears (7-11, 3-3) then used a 16-3 spurt to take control for good before a paid crowd of 6,076.
Terre Haute Tribune Star: Of course, it’s also instructive to remember how good ISU was at the time. When the Sycamores arrived at Wichita State on Jan. 27, 2001, they might have been at the peak of their powers. ISU had not yet suffered through a losing streak that would side-track defense of their 2000 MVC title. The Sycamores swaggered into Levitt Arena as the alpha dogs of the league. Defending MVC regular season champs, they went to Wichita with the conference lead and all kinds of confidence.
Evansville Courier: Evansville, known more for its offensive prowess, got it done with defense. The Aces started out in a 2-3 zone and forced the Redbirds to clank away from the perimeter for most of the game.
The Pantagraph: “It was an ugly game by us in a lot of ways,” said ISU coach Dan Muller. “We just didn’t play the right way offensively, which we’ve worked so hard on that. Credit Evansville, they had something to do with that. I thought we had guys who kind of looked like we did before Christmas, which is disappointing.”
Terre Haute Tribune Star: (Greg) Lansing considered starting Everett Clemons in Brenton Scott’s place after Clemons’ excellent game against Illinois State last Saturday. Clemons talked him out of it.
Springfield News-Leader: Missouri State is pulling out all the stops this time around. Half-price tickets on Wednesday are available for fans wearing school colors. A halftime ring ceremony honoring the 2015 baseball team that won the Valley and advanced to the Super Regional. Considering the bitter rivalry Wichita State and Missouri State engage in on the baseball diamond, there’s no way the timing of this ceremony is coincidental. Now it’s Missouri State’s turn to get all the mojo going it can muster, for what should be a full house at JQH Arena on Wednesday. Surely there will be a large fan showing of Wichita State faithful in attendance, as well.
The Southern: “He shot a 25, 27-footer? Very well-contested with one second on the shot clock,” (Dan) Muller said. “We were in our zone, and they made two, they made two threes from about 25 feet against our zone late, and, hey, tip your hat when they make those.”
The Pantagraph: ISU lost a double-digit lead for the second straight game in falling to 9-9 overall and 3-2 in the Valley. (MiKyle) McIntosh finished with 25 points. Tony Wills added 15 points, while DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell, Deontae Hawkins and Paris Lee scored 11 each for the Redbirds. Hawkins pulled down a game-high nine rebounds.
SI.com: The selection committee is going to give Gregg Marshall some much-deserved credit for putting together a challenging schedule, and it will give the Shockers the benefit of the doubt because they did not have a full complement of players for any of their losses.
ESPN.com: A rematch with Indiana?
SI.com: No. 12 seed.
CBSSports.com: No. 11 seed
Cedar Rapids Gazette: But nearly a year removed from becoming an All-American and Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year, Seth Tuttle looked and carried himself just a bit differently. His European haircut and clothes — including a scarf he was particularly proud of — framed a young man halfway through his first professional basketball season. He was back to take in some UNI practice, maybe catch a game and for certain see his old teammates and coaches.
The Southern: It seems like a different lifetime, but just a decade ago Carbondale was a serious hoops destination. And, the SIU Arena? It was the place were winning streaks went to die. This building was a hostile environment.
The Southern: The Shockers (10-5, 4-0 MVC) looked every bit the part of the preseason conference favorites, jumping on top 18-6 to start the game and leading by as much as 18 in the first half. All-American guard Ron Baker scored 16 of his 18 points in the first half and Conner Frankamp added 14 off the bench.
Springfield News-Leader: Another game, another game-winner for Dequon Miller. The Missouri State junior point guard delivered his second consecutive game-winning shot on Saturday afternoon, draining a floating 8-footer with 2.3 seconds to play to give the Bears a 56-54 victory over Loyola in Chicago.
Springfield News-Leader: Was that Missouri State coach Paul Lusk or Cam Newton? After a 56-54 last-second victory Saturday over Loyola in Chicago — Missouri State’s second-straight buzzer-beating victory — Lusk decided to have some fun In the locker room.
Terre Haute Tribune Star: When Indiana State was scuffling badly in the first half against Illinois State on Saturday at Hulman Center, Brenton Scott — who played a big role in ISU’s woes — came to the bench to be greeted by a tongue-lashing from ISU coach Greg Lansing.The sophomore was dribbling too much, taking questionable shots, and generally, not playing within the team concept.
The Pantagraph: “We had a bunch of breakdowns and let Scott get open for four threes in a quick period of time. That was a huge mistake,” said ISU coach Dan Muller. “Turnovers and rebounding hurt us. I thought we played hard, but not smart. That’s life on the road.”
The Southern: “I think that the biggest thing that we need to understand is while we are having a really good season, we haven’t accomplished anything yet,” SIU coach Barry Hinson said. “The team on top of the Valley is and always has been over the last few years is the team that is coming into our gym on Saturday.”
Peoria Journal Star: The MVC has a bonus system by which the top officials earn more money when they work more Valley games on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The best refs receive a flat fee of up to $3,000 per game (which covers expenses and the game work). The minimum per-game rate paid by the Valley, for the least experienced refs, is $1,000 per game.
Springfield News-Leader: Consider this the best medicine for a team in desperate need of a Missouri Valley Conference victory. Or a victory of any kind, really. Missouri State rallied from 10 points down in the final 10 minutes, defeating Northern Iowa 59-58 on Wednesday night at JQH Arena.
Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier: The problem was toughness, according to Northern Iowa’s senior guard. Minutes after UNI blew a 10-point lead, a short walk away from the spot on the JQH Arena court where Dequon Miller’s driving layup with five seconds to go lifted Missouri State to a stunning, 59-58 victory over the Panthers, someone asked Matt Bohannon to pinpoint where it went wrong.
Peoria Journal Star: Barry Hinson, the Southern Illinois coach, riffed for 16 minutes on his superstitious wife, Bradley coach Brian Wardle, (not really) hanging out with former Bradley coaches at Big Al’s, the rain here compared with Stephens County, Okla., where he grew up and the drought is so bad, he said, “the Baptists have gone to sprinkling, the Methodists are using wet wipes, the Presbyterians are promising rain checks and the Catholics are turning the wine back into water.”
Evansville Courier & Press: “When you play good teams, they’ve got five guys out there that can score the basketball and it makes it tough,” Evansville coach Marty Simmons said. “I thought we had pretty good pressure on a lot of those guys, and they knocked them in.”
SI.com: You may be looking at the Shockers’ record and wondering why they deserve to be mentioned in this space. This is why: Wichita State has been a different team since Fred VanVleet returned from a hamstring injury
Newton Kansan: “It was such an awesome experience,” Emily Hiebert said of the NCAA regionals in Lincoln. “Especially being able to play in front of 9,000 people in Nebraska. Their fans were awesome.”
CBSSports.com: Jerry Palm’s bracket projections.
Peoria Journal Star: The first 10 minutes of Wichita State’s 85-58 victory over Bradley at Carver Arena felt like the competitive battles of yore between these two tradition-proud Missouri Valley Conference men’s basketball programs.
Peoria Journal Star: There are lots of reasons Wichita State has become the premier basketball program in the Missouri Valley and one of the most successful in the nation over the past several years. Obviously, one reason is the Shockers have high-quality players. But another is it’s unacceptable to play with less ferocity than that of a rabid pit bull.
Hutchinson News: Ron Baker helped start Scott City’s run of Class 3A titles.
Newsday: Cleanthony Early may visit Knicks practice on Monday.
Peoria Journal Star: Pittman grew up on the same hardscrabble streets on the west side of Rockford as VanVleet. It’s long been known as a drug-infested, crime-ridden area that swallows up young talent rather than nurturing it.
Springfield News-Leader: While our initial discussion was borne out of a talk on men’s basketball, multiple readers couldn’t allow Jackie Stiles to stay off the list. That’s understandable, considering she still holds the NCAA Women’s Basketball career scoring title.
New York Daily News: It was the latest incident that his mother, Sandra Glover, a longtime foster care worker in the Bronx, had to absorb. In 2014, she told the News that she no longer answered the phone late at night out of fear that more bad news would come.
Omaha World-Herald: Despite predictions that reconfiguration might cause slippage in the league’s national stature, the Big East remains a strong player on the national scene.
Peoria Journal Star: Bradley has lost eight games in a row at the McLeod Center, while UNI has won a dozen consecutive MVC home games under coach Ben Jacobson.
Terre Haute Tribune Star: “He’s taking my little 1,000-point ceremony and blowing it out of the water with his 2,000 points,” said Khristian Smith, who will look to keep D.J. Balentine from adding too many to that impressive total tonight. “I take pride in my defense, just to get a chance at guarding him. I pretty much know the plays and how they run them and what he likes to do, but they have counters.”
Evansville Courier & Press: Capable bench players give the Aces (11-2) a needed safety net for the grind of Missouri Valley Conference play, which begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday against Indiana State (6-6) at the Ford Center.
The Southern: Ibby Djimde, who scored 34 points last season, has 57 this season. SIU’s quartet of bigs — starting center Bola Olaniyan (5.8 points, 7.8 rebounds per game), senior center Deng Leek, freshman forward Rudy Stradnieks and Djimde — could make a big difference for the Salukis (11-2) in Missouri Valley Conference play.
thecatchandshoot.com: Southern Illinois is almost like last year’s Loyola team. The Salukis returned their core players but added several new, important pieces, particularly from the junior college ranks.
The Pantagraph: Tony Wills won’t line up at center for Illinois State in the Missouri Valley Conference basketball opener against Missouri State at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Redbird Arena. Then again, you never know.
Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier: Since UNI lost to Brigham Young in the fifth-place game of the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu, coach Ben Jacobson has consistently said that UNI did some good things against a stretch of challenging opponents. He’s also said repeatedly that his team learned some lessons while going from Richmond to George Mason to New Mexico to Iowa State to Hawaii to Washington State to BYU.
Des Moines Register: “Wichita State is still the favorite, and they should be,” Northern Iowa coach Ben Jacobson said. “I still believe that Wichita State is a top 25 team in the country. And they will be before the season is over.”
Yahoo.com: Gregg Marshall has tried to publicly goad Kansas into agreeing to a home-and-home series for the past couple years. Bill Self feels his program has nothing to gain by deviating from his longstanding policy of not scheduling Wichita State. That backstory made the first matchup between in-state powers in 22 years the most compelling game of the 2015 NCAA tournament’s round of 32.
The Pantagraph: The Redbird coach took his two leading scorers, DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell and Paris Lee, out of the starting lineup for Tuesday’s final nonconference game against Tennessee State. Lee played only three minutes as ISU earned a 66-55 victory, upping its record to 6-7.
The Southern: This is a better start than could have been expected. Now, the question is, how will this translate to the MVC. It’s graduation time, and there are plenty of areas in which the Salukis must improve – most notably on the defensive end. Bottom line, this is clearly the best SIU team Barry Hinson has taken into the MVC.
Springfield News-Leader: It looked like a joke — two people who knew each other or had some history along the Missouri Valley Conference trails of the past, perhaps. It soon became apparent that nobody was kidding. Janssen was at the scorer’s table, pointing to the fan. A couple of minutes later, security and a police officer were talking to the fan at his seat. Eventually, the man was escorted out of the arena.
College Baseball Central: The wild card in the Missouri Valley, and the team that will have a lot to say about how deep and competitive the league is, will be Wichita State. The program has been building under Todd Butler for a couple of years now, and it seems like it’s only a matter of time before his wins on the recruiting trail translate into wins on the field.
Lyndal Scranton: With the ticket-buying public already voting their displeasure by staying away in droves, pressure on fifth-year coach Paul Lusk will only increase. I’m all for letting things play out, with nearly two-thirds of the season remaining, but the short-term outlook is bleak.
Reno Gazette-Journal: In a game most noteworthy for the number of free throws attempted, Nevada was both outplayed by Wichita State and exasperated with the officials in its 98-69 loss before a sellout crowd of 10,506 at Charles Koch Arena, a loss that snapped the Wolf Pack’s season-best three-game win streak.
Reno Gazette-Journal: For the third straight game, freshman Cameron Oliver was held without a point in the first half. But like he had in the previous two games, Oliver came out strong in the second half.
The Southern: The Salukis scored a season-low 65 points, but held Saint Louis to six second-half field goals in a 65-52 victory at Chaifetz Arena. SIU (11-2) improved to 4-0 on the road, and ended its non-conference schedule with a victory in a new way.
Reno Gazette-Journal: The Wolf Pack will likely only have eight scholarship players available for this game, so it’s going to need contributions from everybody. In order to spring the upset, and the Pack is a considerable underdog.
Reno Gazette-Journal: “You can go and look up their record at home,” said Wolf Pack coach Eric Musselman, whose team plays at Wichita State on Tuesday (Nevada is getting $100,000 to play the guaranteed-money game).
Terre Haute Tribune Star: MVC report cards for men’s basketball. Todd Golden is a tough grader.
Des Moines Register: Flashbacks of a past defeat may have filtered through the Northern Iowa crowd Saturday night at Wells Fargo Arena, but the Panthers players never flinched during an 81-79 upset of fifth-ranked Iowa State.
Asbury Park Press: Seton Hall (9-2) got the best of an elite backcourt. Senior All-America candidates Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker shot 11 of 31 and committed 11 turnovers between them. Those two carved the Pirates to bits when these teams met in Kansas last December.
Asbury Park Press: The last time Seton Hall men’s basketball hosted a marquee opponent out of conference, the current Pirates attended elementary school, Barack Obama had just resigned from the Illinois Senate, and phones didn’t take photos.
Springfield News-Leader: Wichita State may not have football, but it’s by far the marquee school in the Valley. The recent string of deep NCAA Tournament runs by its men’s basketball program has helped bring increased attention to all league schools. They’ve gone to the Final Four and Sweet 16 in the last three years, and have players in place to make another run in March.
Springfield News-Leader: “He’s put so much time in, he’s making his free throws and can make the 15-footer,” Lusk said about Camyn Boone. “Now they have to respect that, and for a guy his size, he can drive to the basket. He’s got a knack for scoring.”
Bleacher Report: That steaming pile of you know what in Orlando was the team ranked 10th in the preseason losing three games in four days at the AdvocareInvitational and creating bubble talk in November. Only it wasn’t the team that garnered that high ranking; it was a poor-man’s variation of it.
CBSSports.com: Jerry Palm’s bracket projections.
Andy Katz: Put the Shockers in the top 25 soon.
Yahoo.com: By defeating UNLV (7-2) and Utah (7-2) in back-to-back games, Wichita State improved to 5-4 and picked up a pair of badly needed potential quality wins. The Shockers have to take advantage of their remaining opportunities in non-league play because the Missouri Valley Conference doesn’t afford them many chances to face RPI top 50 opponents.
Salt Lake Tribune: Wichita’s pressure forced Utah’s offense 25 feet out from the basket and beyond. Poeltl was often forced out of the low post on offense, and the Utes had trouble early getting shots off before the shot clock. Pick and rolls resulted in turnovers as often as they resulted in shots.
Salt Lake Tribune: While the Utes said afterward they spent days working on facing Wichita’s pressure defense, they looked unprepared for it. The Shockers clogged passing lanes, put bodies on Utah’s taller post men and took advantage of almost every mistake.
Desert News: The Shockers avenged last season’s overtime loss in the Huntsman Center with a 67-50 victory over the 24th-ranked Utes Saturday afternoon before a sellout crowd of 15,004 at Intrust Bank Arena.
Terre Haute Tribune Star: Though Bardo made it clear that Wichita State has no current plans to leave the Missouri Valley Conference, when the MVC bell weather is openly talking of conference affiliation, it really can’t be interpreted in any other way than a shot across the MVC’s bow.
Salt Lake Tribune: Expect a roaring sea of black and yellow, signs and big-head cutouts to try to make the game every bit as difficult for the Utes. Huntsman Center fans did it for Wichita State last year, in a 69-68 overtime win that established Utah as a serious program — so the Shockers wouldn’t mind paying them back.
Salt Lake Tribune: Now a sophomore forward with the Runnin’ Utes, (Kyle) Kuzma has advanced from little-used role player to starter, a major reason Utah sits at 7-1 headed into Saturday’s contest at Wichita State.
Knoxville News Sentinel: Holly Warlick knows that at times like these, it helps to have thick skin. The Tennessee women’s basketball coach is well aware of the reaction to both her and the No. 16 Lady Vols (6-2), who are fresh from a stunning 57-43 home loss to unranked Virginia Tech.
Las Vegas Review-Journal: Wichita State won in a place it hardly ever loses, beating the Rebels 56-50 before a raucous 10,506 and claiming a 35th straight home victory. The Shockers are more of a sure thing in Kansas than wheat blowing in the wind across vast farmland.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Billikens struggling on offense during two losses.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Majerus’ words still start every game for the Billikens.
Rob Dauster: We’ve reached the nightmare scenario for Wichita State.
USA Today: Team that went to the Sweet 16 last season now a Final Four sleeper.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Evansville counts on experience to return to the NCAA Tournament.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Loyola makes fast progress as Valley member.
Terre Haute Tribune Star: Sycamores aim to rebound after MVC Tournament disaster.
The Southern: SIU women embrace high expectations.
The Southern: Coach Barry Hinson counts on new faces to diversify offense.
The Southern: SIU signs a guard whom coach Barry Hinson compares to Marmaduke.
Des Moines Register: Northern Iowa coach Ben Jacobson compares recruit to Deon Mitchell.
Loyola Phoenix: Ramblers deal with growing expectations.
Springfield News-Leader: Better chemistry could help Missouri State surprise.
Springfield News-Leader: Recruit is recovering from ruptured appendix, flesh-eating bacteria.
Springfield News-Leader: Missouri State women start season with SEC challenge.
Peoria Journal Star: Wichita State’s rise helped MVC survive Creighton’s departure.
Peoria Journal Star: So, so, so many newcomers at Bradley.
Peoria Journal Star: Kirk Wessler gives us 10 points to ponder regarding the Braves.
Evansville Courier & Press: Aces sign guard Dru Smith, a local player.
The Pantagraph: Illinois State moves recruiting focus to high schools.
The Pantagraph: Experience should help Redbirds move toward top of MVC.
The Pantagraph: Redbirds face toughest schedule in program history.
Lincoln Journal Star: Wichita State volleyball recruit Allie Davis excels while handling diabetes.
SI.com: Sports Illustrated ranks the Shockers No. 7.
SI.com: The Rockford connection remains strong in this one.
SI.com: The top 20.
ESPN.com: Joe Lunardi fires up bracket racket and calls WSU a No. 3 seed in Oklahoma City.
Kenpom.com: Ken Pomeroy ranks the Shockers No. 15.
Bleacher Report: Ranks Wichita State No. 8, after a glitch kept the Shockers out of the slide show at first.
SI.com: Wichita State starts the season a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
The Pantagraph: ESPN3 brings MVC hoops to more screens.
Omaha World-Herald: A brief update on former Shocker Jake White.
USA Today: Three MVC schools could surprise in March.
SI.com: Sports Illustrated projects Wichita State’s defense to stop many scorers.
Springfield News-Leader: Missouri State lands commitment from three-star point guard.
SI.com: Sports Illustrated ranks them all and sees good things for WSU and if SIU finishes with an RPI in the top 150, it will be a great season for the MVC.
USA Today: All-American basketball team with Shockers.
Baltimore Sun: Mark Turgeon watches the Royals clinch with his sons.
Jon Rothstein: Illinois State guard Paris Lee makes this under-the-radar list.
FoxSports.com: Ranking the top 50 college players. No. 1 will change your life.
NCAA.com: Our first seed projection of the season puts Wichita State at ...
Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier: Experienced guards highlight the Valley’s talent.
Peoria Journal Star: Braves coach Brian Wardle isn’t surprised at preseason poll.
Kirk Wessler: Coaches concerned about another effort to cut down on physical play.
Springfield News-Leader: Wichita State remains the Valley’s favorite.
The Pantagraph: Wichita State is the favorite, rules changes and motivation for the Redbirds.
TribStar.com: Indiana State presents MVC with two unknowns.
Todd Golden: The MVC in 2016 looks like the magical season of 2006.
Tribstar.com: Indiana State needed a true point guard and Everett Clemons may fill that job.
The Sporting News: Ron Baker is TSN’s top shooting guard.
SI.com: Fred VanVleet named second-team All-American.
The Southern: Hinson wants recruits to take point-guard duties from Anthony Beane.
qctimes.com: UNI women are healthy and ready to challenge at top of MVC.
Des Moines Register: UNI women want to return to top of the MVC.
Dick Vitale: He came here last season and he loves the Shockers.
Topeka Capital-Journal: Conner Frankamp is as-advertised on offense and improving on defense.
NBCSports.com: Wichita State is the favorite in the MVC.
SI.com: Fred VanVleet should be one of the nation’s most efficient scorers.
The Pantagraph: Jim Benson reveals his MVC basketball picks.
Springfield News-Leader: Missouri State coach Paul Lusk is dealing with injuries to two key players.
Springfield News-Leader: Missouri State volleyball star Lily Johnson lives up to the hype on the court and classroom.
USA Today: Scott Gleeson picks the most important player on the top 25 teams. Who he picks for the Shockers will change your life.
St. Louis Business Journal: Blues discuss much-needed upgrades to Scottrade Center, something MVC fans would heartily support.
FoxSports.com: Nick Bahe and Reid Forgrave discuss Gregg Marshall in the HOF. For a former Bluejay, Bahe is a pretty good guy.
Dick Vitale: Fred VanVleet is All-Solid Gold, baby.
CBSSports.com: Matt Norlander forecasts the MVC finish and who he picks No. 1 will amaze you.
CBSSports.com: Gregg Marshall talks beating KU, Evan Wessel, Conner Frankamp and Anton Grady.
CBSSports.com: Wichita State No. 9 in a ranking of all 351 schools. Grambling State is No. 351.
CBSSports.com: The top 101 players in college basketball and — BOOM — there are Shockers on the list.
SI.com: College basketball’s top 20 guards. Guess who?
CBSSports.com: Gary Parrish admits that keeping Ron Baker off an All-American team wasn’t easy.
CBSSports.com: Fred VanVleet named to All-American team.
CBSSports.com: Mark Turgeon revives his career at Maryland after a tough start with the Terps.
Des Moines Register: Freshman center Dominik Olejniczak considered an impact player at Drake.
Seth Davis: Officiating changes mean whistles will get a workout.
Yahoo.com: Jeff Eisenberg ranks transfers who are going to contribute.
ESPN Radio: Interview with Gregg Marshall.
Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier: Northern Iowa’s strength shifts from Seth Tuttle to the backcourt.
Des Moines Register: With Paul Jesperson sidelined for six weeks, UNI’s Aarias Austin can make his case for playing time.
Upsidemotor.com: Utah’s Jakob Poeltl isn’t much of a shooter. NBA teams with a lottery pick might not care.
Al.com: Long-time Shocker baseball nemesis Sunny Golloway fired at Auburn. Strange timing. I don’t think I’ve encountered a coach who leaves more of a trail of hard feelings and weirdness in his path.
ESPN.com: Cleanthony Early continues his yoga routine in the NBA.
SI.com: Shockers No. 57 on this list.
John Gasaway: One look at dividing majors and mid-majors in college hoops.
Yahoo.com: Jeff Eisenberg bats down some of KU’s arguments against scheduling the Shockers.
MVC: Podcast with Mark Adams talking Valley hoops.
Bleacher Report: Weird picture of Gregg Marshall and Giant Ron Baker distracts from this ranking of college basketball’s top duos (or trios).
CBSSports.com: Gary Parrish visits with former WSU assistant Steve Forbes about reshaping his roster.
CBSSports.com: Most of these are not hard decisions. Which team dominates its state in college basketball?
Blue Ribbon: Wichita State No. 11 in preview magazine’s ranking.
ESPN:C.L. Brown summarizes basketball’s rule changes.
Gary Parrish: As long as Gregg Marshall coaches, Wichita State is set up for success.
Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier: MVC checks out the Quad Cities in advance of the women’s basketball tournament.
Springfield News-Leader: Missouri State baseball adds son of ex-big leaguer to roster.
Des Moines Register: Drake sophomore center Becca Jonas is out for the season.
Washington Post: Scot McCloughan, a former WSU baseball player and GM of the Washington Redskins, watches his wife lose her mind on Twitter and then apologize.
Gary Parrish’s podcast includes some Wichita State mentions in their discussion of the top jobs.
Sports Illustrated: Baker, VanVleet ranked among the nation’s top seniors.
BustingBrackets.com: A story on Ron Baker’s NBA draft hopes that doesn’t add much to the discussion. But it’s about Ron Baker.
Times Herald-Record: Cleanthony Early signs autographs and hands out backpacks in his hometown.
Times and Democrat: South Carolina State plans a weekend to honor Willie Jeffries, who also coached football at Wichita State.
The Southern: SIU volleyball star Taylor Pippen wants to take the Salukis to the NCAA Tournament
Evansville Courier & Press: Aces must replace most of its attackers.
Lansing State Journal: Michigan State guard Tum Tum Nairn goes to school on Fred VanVleet’s work.
Peoria Journal-Star: Bradley’s leading scorer is dismissed from the team.
The Pantagraph: Redbirds coach Dan Muller pleased with Spain exhibition trip and knocks down Deontae Hawkins rumors.
Asbury Park Press: WSU’s game at Seton Hall likely to be an early afternoon tip to clear out for the NHL game that night.
Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier: Northern Iowa volleyball aims to end two-season NCAA drought.
ESPN puts Baker and VanVleet in its list of top players (membership needed).
ESPN ranks the Shockers No. 9 in its August top 25.
Jon Rothstein: Five questions for the MVC.
Wichita State wanted Cameron Payne when other high-profile schools didn’t. He went to Murray State.
The Pantagraph: MVC coaches aren’t sure how much the shot clock will help offenses.
WCFCourier.com: Returning guards give UNI a strong start on following up 2015’s success.
Grantland: A cautionary tale for Wichita State football.
Washington Post: Former WSU coach Mark Turgeon talks regret and family life.
Former Drake women’s basketball star Kyndal Clark transfers to Nebraska for her final season.
From 2014: A look at Gal Mekel’s relationship with trainer David Thorpe.
Missouri State’s Eric Cheray turns down minors to start coaching career.
PJStar.com: Bradley adds a ninth freshman to its basketball roster.
PJStar.com: Braves won’t play games on campus under the new leadership.
Gene Stephenson remembers Miami’s 1982 CWS title and says he turned down a chance to coach the Hurricanes.
Future Shockers softball player earns all-state honor.
Josh Cunningham, one of the Valley’s top freshman, is transferring to Dayton.
Springfield News-Leader: NCAA hurt Missouri State’s baseball team with lack of flexibility.
AL.com: UAB brings back the football program it killed in December.
Rockford Register Star: Back home, VanVleet says “Basketball has directly influenced my life. I’m trying to spread it down to these kids.”
AL.com: CUSA doesn’t want UAB without football.
ESPN.com: Missouri State, Missouri softball programs battle in email exchange.
The Advocate: Future Shocker Lenni Kunert hit .485 with 10 doubles as a senior in Louisiana.
SI.com’s Luke Winn ranks the Shockers No. 10 on his preseason power ranking.
SBNation: WSU No. 17 on spring top 25.
TheBigLead.com: WSU No. 11 on its spring top 25.
AL.com: UAB considers reviving football program.
AL.com: UAB prefers MVC membership as a landing spot.
Shot clock, fewer timeouts among changes proposed.
USA Today: Shockers No. 14 in the super-early top 25.
Fred VanVleet is always the big story in Rockford.
UAB will know more about its future in Conference USA in June.
Jim Connell of the Springfield News-Leader isn’t exactly up for WSU’s challenge.
Sean Keeler: Return of the guards makes WSU favorites in the Valley.
Daily Oklahoman: Marshall wise to stay at Wichita State. It’s a better job than most in power conferences.
Newsday: Cleanthony Early feeling more comfortable in recent games for the Knicks.
Las Vegas Review-Journal: UNLV doesn’t need a trip to Wichita State next season.
AL.com: Marshall’s move fits with what he told Alabama recruit Dazon Ingram.
AL.com: In 2006, a football coach turned down the Tide and things turned out great.
ALcom: Pitino? Prohm? Miller?
Dallas Morning News: Texas hires Shaka Smart.
Richmond Times-Dispatch: Team meeting signaled the end at VCU.
Richmond Times-Dispatch: Smart’s move not surprising after six seasons.
Washington Post: Smart walks away from VCU, free brisket and lap dances.
Dallas Mornings News: Texas AD Steve Patterson needed to boost his image with this hire.
The Oregonian: Shaka, beware Texas AD Steve Patterson.
Dallas Morning News: Can Texas lure Shaka Smart from VCU?
AL.com: Alabama should pay attention to Marshall’s family, Seth Greenberg advises.
AL.com: Paul Finebaum offers the insight that this is a big deal for Alabama.
Minneapolis Star-Tribune: Alabama may talk to Richard Pitino.
Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier: Ben Jacobson agrees to 10-year deal.
Evansville Courier and Press: Aces defeat Tennessee-Martin to move into CIT championship game vs. Northern Arizona.
Chicago Tribune: Loyola takes 1-0 lead in CBI best-of-3 championship series vs. Louisiana-Monroe.
AL.com: Alabama AD leaves Wichita alone on his chartered plane.
Kevin Scarbinsky: Monday feels like a win for the Tide.
FoxSports.com: This is what Marshall’s decision should be about.
Austin American-Statesman: Crazy, crazy Monday in Texas.
Horns Digest: Marshall too blunt for Texas?
CBSSports.com: Texas talks hoops with VCU’s Shaka Smart.
Dallas Morning News: Summing up the Texas search.
Richmond Times-Dispatch: Smart declines comment; AD says no contact yet.
Richmond Times-Dispatch: We’ve been here before with Smart.
Peoria Journal-Star: Bradley coach Brian Wardle starts work in Peoria.
The Southern: Transfers knock Southern Illinois back into rebuilding mode, admitted or not.
AL.com: Report says Texas chasing Shaka Smart.
Yahoo.com: Texas’ list starts with Marshall.
USA Today: Alabama isn’t the right fit.
FoxSports.com: Marshall can do better than Alabama
AL.com: Alabama’s basketball pedigree is better than you think.
AL.com: Tide should check out Avery Johnson as a candidate.
AL.com: UAB needs to find a home and the MVC might be a possibility.
USA Today: Notre Dame’s offense overwhelms the Shockers.
South Bend Tribune: WSU couldn’t counter Jackson’s attack.
Indystar.com: ND coach Mike Brey didn’t need to say much during timeout.
Irish Illustrated: ND catches WSU at a good time.
New York Times: Notre Dame’s two-sport star came back for this moment.
USA Today: Marshall tells the truth when asked about Alabama.
Cleveland.com: Local recommendations for Shockers fans.
South Bend Tribune: Irish new to facing hype in the NCAA Tournament.
South Bend Tribune: Improved defense helps Irish advance.
Chicago Tribune: Notre Dame coach Mike Brey leans on family during difficult time.
Al.com: Why Gregg Marshall might consider Alabama.
Washington Post: Marshall doesn’t need Alabama.
Omaha.com: Kansas fans meet their worst nightmare.
Omaha.com: Shockers get their chance to play Kansas.
Indystar.com: Hoosiers can’t be satisfied with this role.
SI.com: Shockers don’t need validation by playing Kansas.
Washington Post: Emojis for every tournament team.
SI.com: See who didn’t pick Kentucky.
SI.com: Previews of every game, every team.
Grantland.com: It’s all about Big Blue Nation. Enjoy it.
Grantland.com: All about the tournament, mostly about the Kentucky.
ESPN.com: Mid-major danger or high-major meh?
538.com: Follow Kentucky’s (and three other teams) likely path to the Final Four.
Associated Press: Indiana survived a wave of bad news to reach March.
News-Sentinel: 5 keys for the Hoosier.
Journal Gazette: Emmitt Holt stepped up for Indiana in the Big Ten Tournament.
Indystar.com: Injury update is, not much of an update on Indiana’s big man.
Omaha.com: No. 7 seed may help WSU play disappointed or something like that.
Omaha.com: Dana Altman skipped out on Creighton. Time should soften that memory.
Omaha.com: Transplanted Shockers welcome their team.
Indystar.com: MVC coaches break down the Shockers.
Indystar.com: WSU coach Gregg Marshall sees familiar size in opponent.
Insidethehall.com: Hoosiers have some history with Wichita State.
Indystar.com: Indiana was prepared to play in First Four or NIT.
ESPN.com: No. 5 vs. Wofford in Jacksonville (West Region)
CBSSports.com: No. 7 vs. Purdue in Columbus (West Region)
USA Today: No. 5 vs. Wofford (South Region)
Warrennolan.com: No. 6 vs. Colorado State in Lousiville (West Region)
Foxsports.com: No. 7 vs. Purdue in Omaha (South Region)
Yahoo.com: No. 5 seed
FoxSports.com: No. 6 vs. Purdue in Omaha (South Region)
ESPN.com: No. 5 vs. Wofford in Jacksonville (South Region)
CBSSports.com: No. 7 vs. Boise State in Columbus (West Region)
Yahoo.com: No. 5 seed
SI.com: No. 7 vs. Oregon (Midwest Region)
Warrennolan.com: No. 6 vs. Davidson in Omaha (East Region)
The Southern: SIU coach Barry Hinson wants to keep his roster intact, for the most part.
Toledo Blade: Former Shockers assistant Chris Jans will take his team to the CIT in his first season as coach.
Washington Post: Toure Murry appears headed to the Wizards.
Springfield News-Leader: Who is the 2016 favorite?
Sports Illustrated: Mark Turgeon raised Maryland to a surprising season.
Omaha World-Herald: Conference tournaments lose their zest as conferences expand.
Washington Post: Former WSU coach Mark Turgeon named Big 10 Coach of the Year.
Des Moines Register: UNI works to keep coach Ben Jacobson comfortable.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Casting a critical eye at the rise of the MVC.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Illinois State’s rise improves MVC outlook.
Bleacher Report: VanVleet runs WSU as its coach on the floor.
The Pantagraph: In 2012, an upset shook up the MVC Tournament.
News-Leader: Bears freshmen debut in St. Louis and hope for better times.
Journal-Star: Bradley needs to believe it can be part of the madness.
Des Moines Register: MVC Cinderella will likely need to be two ranked teams.
Courier: Shockers, Panthers try to pretend it’s not all about a rematch on Sunday.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: WSU, UNI are on same path to NCAA Tournament.
Grantland.com: Mark Titus reluctantly ranks WSU No. 12 and explains mid-major fatigue.
CBSSports.com: Gary Parrish says WSU and UNI are good enough to play deep into March.
Omaha World-Herald: 100 years of Nebraska’s all-state basketball. OK, it’s not really MVC-related, but the OWH did a great job with this and basketball fans will enjoy.
ESPN: WSU a No. 4 seed in Seattle vs. Valpo.
CBS: Shockers a No. 5 seed vs. Valpo in Charlotte.
Yahoo.com: No. 5 seed.
USA Today: Panthers, Shockers likely locked in to No. 4 or No. 5 seeds.
Gary Parrish: Tekele Cotton doesn’t need the spotlight.
WCF Courier: Panthers must lose from loss to Shockers.
WCF Courier: Crowd pushes Shockers past UNI.
Des Moines Register: Panthers a prop in WSU’s big day.
SI.com: WSU needed a win for its NCAA resume.
ESPN: Shockers return to the top of the MVC.
SI.com: Former WSU assistant Chris Jans turns things around at Bowling Green
Joe Lunardi: WSU a No. 5; UNI a No. 4.
Jerry Palm: WSU seeded No. 7 vs. Oregon
Yahoo.com: WSU No. 5; UNI No. 4
CBSSports.com: No. 7 vs. fading Iowa
ESPN.com: No. 4 vs. Eastern Washington
SI.com: No. 6 vs. Illinois
Yahoo.com: No. 5 seed
USA Today: Does anybody in Wichita want a shorter basketball season?
Yahoo.com: Pat Forde throws a bit of the spotlight on former WSU assistant Chris Jans.
Peoria Journal Star: Shockers aren’t pretty. Just effective.
The Pantagraph: WSU never loses its cool.
Kansas City Star: Skeptics resurface as the Shockers keep winning.
Terre Haute Tribune Star: Todd Golden loves him some Tekele Cotton. And why not?
College baseball brackets: Shockers, Patriots are starting strong.
SI.com: WSU’s backcourt makes the Shockers a contender.
ESPN: Lunardi slots WSU as a No. 5 seed.
CBSSports.com: Wake up Marco Baldi, Jerry Palm pits No. 6 WSU vs. St. John’s.
Yahoo.com: Shockers at the top of the No. 6 group.
CBS: Fred VanVleet turned to basketball after a tough start to life.
USA Today: Kyle Korver’s NBA career hits a high point at age 34.
KSHB: The story doesn’t seem to support the headline, but this look by a Kansas City TV station at WSU’s enrollment prospects is eye-catching. And most of those old-fashioned college players very much hope to play professionally.
ESPN.com: Shockers drop to a No. 5 seed.
CBSSports.com: Jerry Palm drops WSU to a No. 6 seed.
Yahoo.com: Shockers fall to a No. 6 seed.
SI.com: Loss to UNI dumps WSU to a No. 5 seed.
Jason King: NBA scouts talk Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet.
George Mason’s post-Final Four surge faded with loss of coach, conference change.
Yahoo.com: Shockers hold steady at No. 4.
ESPN.com: Lunardi keeps the Shockers a No. 4 seed.
Yahoo.com: No. 4 seed.
Fox Sports: Measuring Ron Baker’s NBA chances.
SI.com: A No. 4 seed for the Shockers.
CBS: WSU No. 4 seed, UNI No. 7 in Jerry Palm’s bracket.
ESPN: WSU No. 4 seed by Joe Lunardi.
ESPN: Backcourts you can trust in March.
Terre Haute Tribune Star: Challenge series with Mountain West Conference may make a comeback.
ESPN: Joe Lunardi places WSU as a No. 5 seed, UNI a No. 6.
CBS: Jerry Palm seeds WSU as a No. 4 and UNI as a No. 8.
The Sporting News: Kansas ranks in the top five of all 50 for hoops.
Springfield News-Leader: Bears on hold while Marshall-Lusk drama plays out.
Sports Illustrated: Shockers face challenges from the MVC, and that’s a good thing.
Peoria Journal Star: UNI’s skill trumps Bradley’s athletic ability.
Springfield News-Leader: Terrorism in France affects MSU senior Ron Mvouika.
Springfield News-Leader: Bears need leadership and more voices to stop skid.
Rockford’s NBC affiliate explains how Fred VanVleet is helping other athletes.
Springfield News-Leader: MVC teams see hope in race with Wichita State.
The Pantagraph: Redbirds played with proper passion at WSU in defeat.
Jason King throws some love the MVC’s way in his non-conference review.
Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier: MVC power rankings.
Missouri State senior regains his spot in the rotation as the Bears enter MVC play.
Anthony Beane needs help from other Salukis on offense.
Indiana State starts fresh, and the Sycamores need it after a dismal two months.
Redbirds benefit from Paris Lee’s growing experience.
Northern Iowa’s non-conference record adds interest to MVC race.
Panthers open MVC play with the week’s big game at Evansville.
ICYMI: UNI’s locker room upgrades.
New York Times: Cleanthony Early, and other NBA rookies, watch their spending on Christmas presents.
Early plays Secret Santa for teammate J.R. Smith.
New York Daily News: Early’s return from knee injury nears.
Dave Skretta of the AP: Fred VanVleet learned tough lessons in Rockford.
Sports Illustrated suspects Northern Iowa will provide WSU a real challenge in the MVC.
Santa Scranton of the Springfield News-Leader visits the MVC and hands out good stuff to the top programs.
Western Kentucky assistant coach asks fans to emulate the crowd at Koch Arena.
Did you feel like you helped the Shockers beat the Tide? Yes? A coach agrees.
ESPN.com’s Myron Medcalf ranks the nation’s top point guards.
Vitale boogies with Shockers cheerleaders.
After escaping Alabama, Wichita State might not face another challenge, SI.com wonders.
AL.com looks at Tuesday’s game.
Topeka Capital-Journal columnist Kevin Haskin dreams of a holiday tournament in Kansas City.
Peoria Journal-Star: UNI may play North Carolina at home, thanks to Marcus Paige.
ESPN ranks the best hair in college basketball.
NJ.com compiles reaction to the Seton Hall game.
Loss to San Diego State sticks with Utes star.
WSU’s Final Four run started in Salt Lake City.
Utes coach almost sick over excitement for Wednesday’s game.
The sons of Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak worked as ball boys for the Shockers in the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
Utah starts a tough stretch of games that includes WSU, BYU and Kansas.
Former Shocker Toure Murry thrives in Idaho.
SIU coach Barry Hinson daydreams about a new MVC member.
Springfield News-Leader: Missouri State improves its size and raises its expectations.
The Pantagraph: Illinois State’s depth may require sacrifices in playing time.
The Pantagraph’s Jim Benson grows into a multi-media superstar.
Des Moines Register: Drake freshmen get the call for introductions.
Terre Haute Tribune-Star: Indiana State’s new look without Odum challenges coach.
Terre Haute Tribune-Star: Point guard Tre Bennett must learn quickly for the Sycamores.
The Southern: Salukis find a backup for foul-prone starter.
The Southern: MVC coaches motivated to compete with WSU.
Peoria Journal-Star: Braves roll out a bigger, deeper roster. They hope.
Chicago Sun-Times: Doyle’s injury clouds outlook for Loyola.
Indiana State adds two big men in its recruiting class.
Yahoo.com’s Pat Forde ranks intriguing coaches and Gregg Marshall intrigues him, but less than 14 others.
Fred VanVleet also intrigues Pat Forde at Yahoo.com.
Obediah Church, from Springfield, Ill., headlines Missouri State’s recruiting class.
Illinois State turns to high school ranks for the class of 2015.
Northern Iowa adds juco guard to its recruiting class, stealing him from South Dakota State.
Bleacher Report looks at Ron Baker’s journey from Scott City to WSU.
ESPN’s writers discuss expectations for the Shockers.
Gregg Marshall enjoyed the off-season and wouldn’t mind if it dragged on and on.
Athlon’s picks the MVC.
Tekele Cotton’s dunk skills catch the attention of ESPN.
The Sporting News puts Ron Baker on its second-team All-America list.
Sports Illustrated ranks Wichita State No. 16.
ESPN ranks Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet in its top 10.
Fox Sports finds a chip on the collective shoulders of the Shockers.
MVC MEDIA DAY COVERAGE
The Pantagraph: Illinois State coach Dan Muller voted his team No. 1.
Peoria Journal Star: Kirk Wessler rips off a depressing view of the future of college basketball.
Peoria Journal Star: Bradley coach Geno Ford isn’t concerned about preseason polls.
Springfield News-Leader: King Kong is back in the MVC.
Springfield News-Leader: Illinois State is the MVC’s mystery guest.
Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier: Shockers used to playing with a target on their backs.
Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier: MVC women’s basketball strong in Iowa.
Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier: Valley schools checking their wallets.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Shockers chase one remaining goal - NCAA title.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Marcus Marshall’s return proceeds cautiously at Missouri State.
Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com ranks Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker in his top 100. Utah’s Delon Wright is on the list
CollegeBasketballTalk ranks the top point guards and shooting guards nationally. Normally, I don’t link to this blog, because it is the most parasitic bunch on the Internet, shamelessly rewriting stories and disguising the original publication (you know, the one that did the work). Pout over.
Mike Rutherford of SBNation ranks the nation’s top 100 players and includes VanVleet, Baker, Tuttle and Balentine. Prepare your fantasy draft, I guess.
ESPN ranks WSU No. 10 and Joe Lunardi projects the Shockers as a No. 2 seed.
Two Shocker opponents (and one potential) make The Dagger’s list of teams on the rise.
USA Today ranks WSU No. 11 and gets Gregg Marshall to say he’s happy in Wichita.
Bradley’s injury problems are easing.
Lyndal Scranton of the Springfield News-Leader likes what he sees from Missouri State and picks them third in the MVC.
Todd Hefferman of The Southern picks WSU No. 1 in the MVC, followed by Northern Iowa and Missouri State.
Indianapolis Howe guard Harris Brown commits to Evansville with the goal of winning the MVC.
SIU’s Tyler Smithpeters is back on the team.
Loyola’s Milton Doyle could miss the season after tearing the labrum in his shooting shoulder.
SIU’s Tyler Smithpeters is taking time off for personal reasons.
Carson Tigges of the Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier picks WSU No. 1 in the MVC and showers Ron Baker with affection.
Bradley coach Geno Ford welcomes four big men back to practice after injuries.
Northern Iowa builds roster with two talented transfers.
Marcus Marshall’s health is a key factor for Missouri State.
Fred VanVleet is ready and willing to speak to your children.
Lyndal Scranton of the Springfield News-Leader says the MVC will adopt a three-tiered scheduling system to build RPI.
Northern Iowa center Seth Tuttle turned into more of a scorer than his coach expected.
The Panthers are thinking NCAA Tournament, but not talking about it. Kind of.
Northern Iowa scheduled with an at-large bid in mind.
A $1 million gift helps Northern Iowa upgrade and expand locker rooms.
Loyola grabs a commitment from Sunrise Christian guard Roosevelt Smart, a Chicago native ranked No. 146 nationally by Rivals.com.
Missouri State’s 1999 Sweet 16 team reunited in Springfield. No word on if they paused to reflect on Troy Mack’s 23 and 22.
Northern Iowa coach Ben Jacobson is increasing his profile as the top Panther.
Students are upset that Missouri State can’t complete track and field facilities in time to hold the MVC Outdoor Championships.
Sports Illustrated ranks two Shockers on its list of top 20 guards.
Missouri State took a shot at Juwan Morgan before he hit the big time.
SI.com’s Seth Davis talks recruiting with Gregg Marshall.
Former WSU assistant Earl Grant takes over as head man at College of Charleston.
USA Today projects Northern Iowa as an NCAA at-large team on the strength of five returning starters and 8,569 redshirts.
UNI adds Richmond to complete a non-conference hoops schedule that includes Virginia Tech, Iowa and VCU.
Southern Illinois volleyball moves toward top of MVC.
Illinois State volleyball starts with six seniors.
Northern Iowa volleyball lost a key player to transfer after missing the NCAAs.
Injury problems continue for Bradley basketball.
Illinois State coach Dan Muller sees his team ahead of last year’s pace.
Angry birds: Creighton’s logo under attack by Toronto.
BasketballInsiders lists Cleanthony Early as one of the Summer League studs.
SIU guard Anthony Beane needs to take advantage of better shooters around him.
A coach breaks down WSU’s pick and roll.
Missouri State’s Marcus Marshall driven by injury and memory of loss to WSU.
Quad-City Times: MVC should draw well for its women’s tournament.
USA Today ranks Fred VanVleet among the top mid-major players.
The Big Lead ranks Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet among the top players in the nation.
Phil Jackson may not be sold on Cleanthony Early as a backup to Carmelo Anthony.
Howard Beck of Bleacher Report sits with Early for a video look at his early days in the NBA.
Early picks up books to learn his new bosses.
NBA.com cameras catch up with Early.
New York Daily News: Early a good fit for Phil Jackson’s offense.
New York Post: Falling into second round a blessing.
New York Times: Early prepared to play with, or without, Carmelo.
Times Herald-Record: Early stop at Denny’s includes autographs, pictures.
Newsday: Knicks picked Early for a reason.
MVC commissioner Doug Elgin looking for a scheduling partner.
MVC schools feel the loss of BracketBusters and MWC Challenge.
NY Times: The sad story of a Bradley great barred from the NBA.
Age may have caused Early to drop in NBA Draft.
Conor Gillaspie makes his case as Chicago’s future third baseman.
ESPN.com ranks Gregg Marshall No. 8 among college coaches.
Cleanthony Early works out for Phoenix.
Nick Wiggins talks family genes at Golden State.
WSU’s women’s basketball team will play in the Paradise Jam, a field that includes Kentucky, Ohio State, Clemson, Oklahoma and others.
Fred VanVleet is the No. 7 point guard IN THE NATION, according to The Sporting News. Utah’s Delon Wright, a WSU opponent, is No. 2.
TSN ranks Ron Baker the No. 2 shooting guard in the nation.
Baseball recruit Isaac Anderson turned down $100,000 on draft day.
Ed Braeuer, father of former Shocker player Matt Braeuer, made a big impression on a young sports writer.
Future Shocker volleyball player Shimen Fayad started her WSU workouts.
Cleanthony Early’s performance vs. Kentucky raised his stock.
Tampa Bay execs are pleased to get Casey Gillaspie in uniform quickly.
Seton Hall is upgrading its basketball schedule with help from WSU.
Compare athletic departments in USA Today’s budget database.
SportsNet Central’s Dalen Cuff looks at Cleanthony Early’s draft potential.
MLB.com ranks Casey Gillaspie No. 25 on its draft list. Recruit Sam Hilliard is No. 167.
Painter finds a fitting home for his tribute to Bradley basketball.
HoopsHype sees Cleanthony Early going No. 20 to Toronto.
Conor Gillaspie takes over at third base for the White Sox.
The Sporting News follows Cleanthony Early on his draft tour.
Other teams may be willing to lure Toure Murry from the Knicks.
Sports Talk Florida’s Matt Stein projects Casey Gillaspie as a big-league first baseman.
Former Shocker pitcher Anthony Capra loves living in Wichita.
Cleanthony Early says Gregg Marshall predicted his NBA future.
Former Shocker Paul Guffrovich takes a new coaching job.
Oregon coach Dana Altman’s reputation takes a hit.
The Quad-Cities wants to host the MVC women’s tournament.
NBCSports.com looks at which schools might challenge WSU.
ESPN.com explains why coaches, including Gregg Marshall, stay put.
Q&A with Fred VanVleet by the hometown TV station.
Mark Turgeon understands why Maryland fans are anxious.
Perfect Game projects three MVC teams in the baseball regionals.
Drake, Bradley, Loyola picked up prominent Chicago-area recruits in the spring.
Eric McKnight, who displayed interest in WSU, is going to Tennessee. There is no evidence WSU reciprocated that interest.
Bradley assistant coach Ron Coleman is bringing Chicago talent to Carver Arena.
Wingnuts manager Kevin Hooper: WSU wanted college experience.
Former WSU assistant Chris Jans benefits from a big donation at Bowling Green.
Sean Keeler: Nothing has changed in regard to scheduling Kansas State and Kansas.
Rivals: WSU offers Class of 2016 guard Lamonte Turner.
Missouri State baseball attendance is a losing proposition at Hammons Field.
The Big East experienced growing pains with it TV schedule.
Cowley track star Jamesia Milton signs with WSU.
Philly guard Levan Alston has an offer from WSU, according to a local recruiting website.
Creighton wants to lead the Big East in baseball like WSU did in the MVC.
TUESDAY, MARCH 25
Before the Shockers’ loss, Twins teammates had some fun with former WSU pitcher Mike Pelfrey (video, it’s tremendous).
They were taking note of UK-WSU even at the University of Wisconsin student paper.
MONDAY, MARCH 24
Los Angeles Times’ Chris Dufresne takes the selection committee to task for Kentucky being an 8.
SI.com’s Luke Winn with the inside access to Sunday.
SI.com says Cleanthony Early was the best player on the floor.
USA Today calls it one of the best first-weekend games in recent memory.
SBNation’s Sea of Blue fan site with its breakdown of the game.
SUNDAY, MARCH 23
Louisville Courier-Journal: Early finds right fit at WSU.
Bryan Burwell: Which team is David?
Jerry Tipton: The Shockers never quit on their principles.
Jerry Clay: Kentucky has a chance to prove the hype is real.
The Shockers get the edge in the backcourt.
Pat Forde: Marshall’s brand is growing.
SATURDAY, MARCH 22
Fans are overwhelmed by divided loyalties in St. Louis.
Eleven days off didn’t slow the Shockers.
Sam Mellinger of The Star: I don’t see any disrespect.
Pat Forde of Yahoo.com: CBS gets the match-up it wanted.
Gary Parrish: Biggest. Game. Ever.
Odd article by ESPN.com’s Adam Finkelstein: WSU lacks an identity in recruiting. Not sure about this one.
FRIDAY, MARCH 21
Here’s an ESPN.com scouting report from the guys who didn’t get it done.
Pat Forde of Yahoo wonders how Kansas’ divided loyalties will affect the crowd noise.
Do people paying SASO donations agree with this, from ESPN’s Darren Rovell?
Bryan Burwell: The selection committee did the Shockers a favor.
Bluejay alert: Fun read on divided loyalties in Nebraska. Kansans can relate.
TUESDAY, MARCH 18
Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times is glad WSU is no Duke.
Wichita State gets admiration from Forbes.com for its wins vs. millions spent ratio.
The Shockers make the top 10 of Matt Norlander’s rooting rankings. So does Creighton.
Scruffy, guest columnist for the Morris (Ill.) Times Herald remembers Drake’s 1964 win over the Shockers in Des Moines.
USA Today: Embrace your draw, Shockers.
Andrew Sharp of Grantland.com wants to see WSU-Kansas State.
MONDAY, MARCH 17
Ken Pomeroy’s numbers say the Midwest Region is tough at the top, easy through the rest.
WSU’s margin of victory doesn’t impress at FiveThirtyEight.
SUNDAY, MARCH 16
USA Today says WSU should begin the nuts and bolts cheer.
From the Recordonline.com: Cleanthony Early feels no pressure on Selection Sunday.
SATURDAY, MARCH 15
You know Wichita State has arrived when there’s an Evolution of WuShock photo gallery on the New York Times website. (By the way, it’s awesome.)
Jim Benson of the Pantagraph takes on Doug Gottlieb.
The New York Daily News examines Cleanthony Early’s road from New York to Wichita.
FRIDAY, MARCH 14
USA Today with a look at assistant Chris Jans eyeing head-coaching opportunities.
Former Shocker Carl Hall experiences the losing side of life in Japan.
Charles Barkley sticks up for the Shockers and turns the question on TMZ.
THURSDAY, MARCH 13
Lyndal Scranton of the Springfield News-Leader wonders if this is what it was like watching Indiana State in 1979.
Randy Kindred of the Pantagraph compares WSU’s unselfishness with that of the 2005 Illini.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 12
USA Today has Gonzaga coach Mark Few saying Wichita State can win it all.
CBSSports.com’s Jeff Borzello analyzes how far WSU has to get to avoid being called overrated.
Strength of schedule precedent throws up a caution flag, from the WSJ.
SI.com puts Fred VanVleet on its All-America teams.
TUESDAY, MARCH 11
Hey, Kansas is not the only state with a legislature thinking about regulating regular-season college basketball games.
Northern Iowa recruit Wyatt Lohaus controls his heart condition by dipping his face in a bucket of water
We post these stories sometimes wishing we had been able to edit them beforehand.
SportingNews.com says Gregg Marshall is the Coach of the Year.
SI.com’s Luke Winn dines and travels with the Shockers, but doesn’t get to sit next to Fred VanVleet. That seat’s taken.
Des Moines Register’s Andrew Logue on how the Valley takes advantage of 34-0.
MONDAY, MARCH 10
The long-form version, from Grantland’s Jordan Conn, on the non-rivalry between WSU and Kansas. (Editor’s note: He nails it.)
Bleacher Report may be the first out with its All-American picks.
The Lawrence Journal-World looks at Shocker fans in the Jayhawks’ front yard.
CBSSports.com’s Gary Parrish on Gregg Marshall being moved by the moment of reaching 34-0.
SUNDAY, MARCH 9
Indiana State needed every second on the clock to beat SIU.
Bryan Burwell: WSU is just that good.
St. Louis bars and hotel miss the Bluejay fans.
Sean Keeler: Marshall can end the frustration in St. Louis today.
SATURDAY, MARCH 8
Yahoo Sports’ Pat Forde on the sudden love affair -- Gregg Marshall and St. Louis.
Fox Sports KC’s Sean Keeler says the Shocker big men are big enough.
Wiggins vs. Wiggins. Yeah, they’ve talked about it.
FRIDAY, MARCH 7
St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Joe Strauss on that dreaded M-M word.
THURSDAY, MARCH 6
Yahoo! Sports’ Pat Forde thinks the Shockers need to lose in St. Louis.
CBSSports.com’s Gregg Doyel lets WSU associate AD Darron Boatright defend the Shockers’ schedule -- exasperatingly.
Des Moines Register’s Andrew Logue on the MVC spotlight squarely on the Shockers.
Kansas City sports media critic Greg Hall documents the love/hate for the Shockers.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 5
An NCAA.com video on the Shockers. With slo-mo footage!
Longtime Philly columnist Dick Jerardi sees the Shockers going a ways in the tournament.
Fort Worth Star Telegram’s Jimmy Burch is in the Shockers’ camp for a No. 1 seed.
TUESDAY, MARCH 4
Indiana communications student with an interesting take on Coach of the Year candidates.
SBNation with a defense of the Shockers’ non-conference schedule.
Bleacher Report’s Jason King on the influence of Fred VanVleet’s stepfather.
MONDAY, MARCH 3
In case you were wondering, St. Joseph’s coach Phil Martelli wasn’t going all ’72 Dolphins on the Shockers.
CBSSports.com’s Gregg Doyel wonders why we’re even arguing about the Shockers’ credentials?
We’ll expand into MVC Tournament stories this week. Here’s a good one from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on SIU coach Barry Hinson and his struggle to overcome a family tragedy.
SUNDAY, MARCH 2
KC Star’s Blair Kerkhoff weighs whether Shockers, Jayhawks fit on the bracket’s 1-line.
ESPN.com’s Jake Trotter was on hand for No. 31.
Bleacher Report’s Thad Novak writes that WSU is the only team not to stumble against an overmatched foe.
Forbes.com on how BCS conferences’ bottom-dwellers end up hurting the Shockers in seeding talk.
Vahe Gregorian of The Kansas City Star writes that WSU understands its season will be judged later this month by most.
SATURDAY, MARCH 1
Springfield News-Leader’s Lyndell Scranton on Missouri State trying to avoid being the Washington Generals on Saturday.
THURSDAY, FEB. 27
NBCSports.com on how Las Vegas wouldn’t mind the Shockers not going 40-0.
Fred VanVleet’s hometown paper with a story and video from Tuesday at Bradley.
WEDNESDAY, FEB. 26
Todd Golden of the Terre Haute Tribune Star votes four Shockers All-MVC.
Well, one website likes the Shockers as No. 1 in the nation.
Peoria Journal Star BU beat writer Dave Reynolds on Bradley’s best effort to end the streak.
Peoria columnist Kirk Wessler on the Shockers: 30-0’s great. Maybe not the nation’s best, but great.
The Eagle’s Suzanne Tobias on the Shocker bandwagon. They’re building a second deck for the postseason.
The Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy: Quit playing what ifs, the Shockers have earned this.
Ohio State players remember this Shocker bunch well.
Fox Sports.com on the Wiggins bridge between Wichita, Lawrence.
TUESDAY, FEB. 25
Peoria Journal Star’s Dave Reynolds on senior night for Bradley’s Walt Lemon Jr.
Editorial writers in Topeka are getting in on the Shocker love.
MONDAY, FEB. 24
LJWorld.com’s Tom Keegan has been escorted to the Douglas County border.
SUNDAY, FEB. 23
AP voter Rick Bozich has WSU No. 3 this week. He wishes Gregg Marshall would’ve scheduled tougher in non-conference.
The Newark Star-Ledger’s bracket analyst has WSU as the No. 1 overall seed.
Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com finds bitter Kansas fans and says pollsters should rank WSU No. 1.
FRIDAY, FEB. 21
SBNation recaps three reasons why WSU is unbeaten.
Kansas City TV/radio mouth Jack Harry stands up for the Shockers.
THURSDAY, FEB. 20
FoxSports.com’s Sean Keeler to the nation: Accept WSU as a No. 1 seed.
Rant Sports’ Taylor Sturm makes the case for WSU as the tourney’s No. 1 overall seed.
Chicago Tribune coverage of Wednesday’s Shocker victory.
WEDNESDAY, FEB. 19
CBSSports.com gets former Shocker opponents to scout up the nation’s lone unbeaten. Interesting stuff.
SI.com’s Seth Davis with some pro-Shocker insight: Skepticism is healthy, but WSU passes eye test.
The Shockers and Orange met in an online game simulation. A Syracuse writer, via WSU’s Sunflower, on the result.
CBS’ Jeff Borzello collects anonymous thoughts on the Shockers. All agree they can win it all.
MONDAY, FEB. 17
SI.com’s Seth Davis likes Gregg Marshall as his coach of the year.
Sam Mellinger of the KC Star blogs: If you don’t believe in WSU, you’re looking at a jersey name and not the numbers.
Shocker fans agree: The Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy is a right-thinking American.
CBSSports.com’s weekly podcast talks Shockers, among other things.
SUNDAY, FEB. 16
Minneapolis Star Tribune says don’t worry about the schedule, appreciate what WSU is doing.
FRIDAY, FEB. 14
Todd Golden of the Terre Haute Tribune-Star has been tweeting while participating in the NCAA’s mock selection process. Good stuff.
Wichita State, Kansas or Kansas State: Rant Sports says all three can lay claim to being the state’s best.
NBCSports.com now has WSU as a 1-seed facing GWU or New Mexico in the third round.
THURSDAY, FEB. 13
FoxSports.com on the Shockers’ most underrated player.
WSU’s former rival to the south talks about what it would take to get where the Shockers are.
ESPN.com’s Dana O’Neil talks to Ron Wellman, chairman of the NCAA selection committee about WSU’s case for a top seed.
WEDNESDAY, FEB. 12
The Southern’s Todd Heffernan on an opportunity missed by the Salukis.
KC Star’s Vahe Gregorian on the underappreciated Shockers.
FoxSports.com’s Sean Keeler: Shockers are a No. 1 seed; forget the score.
SportingNews.com with a look at St. Joseph’s Phil Martelli and living an unbeaten regular season.
TUESDAY, FEB. 11
SB Nation says Gregg Marshall is coach everyone wants, but why would he leave WSU?
The New York Times follows the Shockers to Cedar Falls and asks the No. 1 seed question.
MONDAY, FEB. 10
NBCSports.com on whether the Shockers are deserving of a top seed if unbeaten by March 16.
SUNDAY, FEB. 9
Waterloo Courier: Shockers impose will on UNI.
SATURDAY, FEB. 8
ESPN.com re-tells the “Play Angry” story.
CollegeInsiders.com talks about which is tougher, a Shocker Final Four run last year or this year?
FRIDAY, FEB. 7
SB Nation with an appreciation of how tough 18-0 would be in the MVC.
THURSDAY, FEB. 6
Yahoo Sports’ Pat Forde was in the Hulman Center. The Shockers heat up a cold Indiana night.
Terre Haute’s Todd Golden on how the Sycamores felt like one got away.
WEDNESDAY, FEB. 5
SI.com profiles Fred Van Vleet, revealing why he pals around with Ron Baker.
ESPN.com’s Dana O’Neil on WSU embracing “the big, fat zero.”
ESPN.com writers look for a Shocker weakness.
CBSSports.com’s Gary Parrish on the Shockers’ big week.
TUESDAY, FEB. 4
Bleacher Report on the Shockers’ unbeaten chances.
USA Today with a long profile of Gregg Marshall.
Athlon Sports with some unbeaten tidbits.
Lost Lettermen misses the Jays and Shockers getting together.
MONDAY, FEB. 3
Fox Sports KC: Indiana State’s Greg Lansing sees a difference with these Shockers.
USA Today concurs with Joe Lunardi and Jerry Palm. WSU goes unbeaten, it’s a No. 1 seed.
SI.com thinks Wednesday’s game at Indiana State could be a good one.
SUNDAY, FEB. 2
Arizona Star’s day-after coverage of No. 1 Arizona’s first loss, which leaves WSU and Syracuse as the nation’s remaining unbeatens.
AP’s Dave Skretta with his story from WSU’s win over Evansville (via Yahoo Sports).
SBNation on the Shockers’ comeback against Evansville, complete with “Wizard of Oz” references.
SATURDAY, FEB. 1
MLive.com writer calls Gregg Marshall’s postgame remark about Michigan State “snippy.”
Forbes.com says WSU lost money in its Final Four trip, at least on the balance sheet.