WSU sophomore center Garrett Stutz after a steal and save to a teammate.Savor Wichita State’s two-game win streak over Iowa. The 1981 game meant a little more. This one? Quite different. Take nothing away from WSU’s win. The Shockers were the better team and they played like it. Iowa never recovered from an early Shocker burst. It never got within seven points in the second half. That’s a solid, convincing performance by WSU.
This leads into ESPN’s Jay Bilas’ argument about good non-BCS conference teams getting too much credit for beating bad BCS conference teams. That’s what happened on Tuesday in the Sprint Center. Bilas would say WSU shouldn’t get too hyped for beating a bad Iowa team. The Hawkeyes are young and struggling. They will finish in the bottom of the Big 10. So for WSU, it’s a nice taking-care-of-business win. It’s not one that will mean much in March, except for the fact it’s not in the bad loss category (and we’re getting ahead of ourselves by talking about WSU and March in November). It does, however, look good because of the name on the opposing jersey. Nothing wrong with getting excited about that in a reasonable amount.
Center Garrett Stutz showed why Shocker coaches may get frustrated with him, but they will never give up. Stutz took advantage of a good matchup, which is what he should do. He will do that more and more as he matures. Two plays seemed particularly significant. His dive into the bench after his steal and his follow of his own missed showed his work in the weight room is paying off. I don’t think he makes either as a freshman. The steal-and-save sequence showed quickness and hustle that will serve him well. On the follow, he missed and quickly jumped for the rebound and put it back in without needing to gather himself.More than anything, it highlights WSU’s depth. Stutz won’t do that every night. He doesn’t need to do that every night. WSU needed it Tuesday because J.T. Durley got in foul trouble. His replacement scored 18 points.Hannah’s return provided a big lift, as we knew it would. WSU didn’t need him scoring to big to put up 74 points. Almost every Shocker played better on Tuesday, in part because Hannah played.Gabe Blair gave WSU another good game off the bench. His improvement since the first game is moving along quickly.I would think WSU fans got the attention of CBE Classic organizers. Without them, the CBE could have been played in the Lyric Theatre. WSU, as long it remains competitive, would make a good choice to be a regular in this event. Shocker fans gave KC’s Power and Light district good reviews. The CBE is a nice event which I think WSU fans would embrace in growing numbers with a return visit.For those who couldn’t stay up, Texas ran away from Pitt late for a 78-62 win. Mark the Kansas-Texas game on your calendar (Feb. 8).Iowa is off to its worst start since 1929. Cully Payne’s lob basket gave Iowa its highlight.Bob Lutz reveals Gregg Marshall’s new look.Bad grades for the Hawkeyes.Stutz made the evening a success for The Kansas City Star. Can’t beat the hometown story.