Wichita State Shockers

Wichita State basketball happy with schedule options

I've done enough scheduling issues stories in six seasons to stretch from one end of Garrett Stutz to the other.

I'm not going to pass up a chance to take a different angle. Savor this: Wichita State is in a position of strength with its men's basketball schedule.

The Shockers need one game. Coach Gregg Marshall intends to use that game as a bargaining chip to put the squeeze on one of those schools who ordinarily screen his calls.

"If you hold it into August, you might get a BCS school to play a home and home," he said. "It's a great situation. Last year at this time, we needed like three or four games."

Most of WSU's marquee games are known. Utah State and UNLV come to Koch Arena. The Shockers travel to Tulsa and are on the road for BracketBusters. The field at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off (and NIT reunion) includes Alabama, Colorado, Maryland, Temple, Iona, Western Michigan and Purdue.

"I don't know that you can get much better of a schedule," Marshall said. "You've got high majors on a neutral floor. You can't get high majors to play home and home, so what do you do? You get the best non-BCS teams that you can."

That shifts the focus to making the most of the open date. WSU even enjoys flexibility with dates to make that slot more valuable.

"We have a couple of gaps that we could do something with," senior associate athletic director Darron Boatright said. "I know we're in a very good position right now to sit back and wait for someone to make an aggressive move."

WSU's preference is to fill the spot by starting a home-and-home series with an opponent from a high-profile (Bowl Championship Series) conference. The Shockers are willing to go on the road this season.

Boatright, who works on scheduling along with athletic director Eric Sexton and the basketball staff, said word of mouth will get WSU's message out. Coaches see each other on the road recruiting in July. Needs and open dates are passed around.

Often, schools with coaching changes are the most needy. The previous staff didn't fill the schedule, leaving the new guys with several dates and a budget demanding home games.

WSU wants to help.

"In July, that's when coaches are really scrambling," Boatright said.

If that doesn't pan out, WSU could look for a made-for-TV game on a neutral court. Another possibility is starting a series with a school from a similar conference, perhaps Conference USA or the Atlantic 10. If the date remains open deep into summer, WSU can always add another guarantee game.

WSU is hoping for a big catch. It is also using this situation to work on the 2012-13 schedule.

"We want to parlay this into trying to stay ahead," Boatright said. "I'm pleased to be in this situation. I won't be relieved until I don't have to work on scheduling any more."

Contract talks _ Sexton said he expects Marshall's raise and extension to be final within a few days.

"We're in good shape," Sexton said. "We've exchanged dotting I's and crossing T's and confirming a few little details."

WSU announced that Marshall agreed in principle to a new deal in early April, the same day he announced he was not interested in other jobs. Sexton said Marshall's recruiting duties and hiring assistant coaches delayed the process.

Marshall's current contract has him making $800,000, plus bonuses, annually through April 2015.

Road schedule _ WSU women's basketball coach Jody Adams is on her Harley this week riding in Cruisin' For A Cause.

Adams started on Wednesday in Rapid City, S.D. The ride ends Thursday in Las Vegas and covers more than 1,100 miles. Money raised goes to breast cancer research through the Champions For A Cause Foundation.

Adams is chronicling her trip on her Twitter account, @coachjodyadams. Fans can donate to Adams' ride by calling 316-978-3257.

Hasty decision _ Ottawa High point guard Adam Hasty will walk on to the men's basketball team. Hasty, an All-Class 4A selection by the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association, averaged 13.4 points, 6.3 assists and 4.2 rebounds in his career.

"Everything seemed like a good fit," Hasty said. "You can tell (Marshall) really prides himself on the effort and intensity his players bring."

Hasty said he also considered South Dakota State and Stephen F. Austin, in addition to smaller schools such as Baker. He said he is prepared for the often-thankless job of playing on the scout team in practice.

"I look at it as I'm getting the team better while I'm getting myself better," he said.

Ottawa finished as Class 4A runner-up to Kansas City Sumner in March.

Spring champions _ WSU's spring sports are heading into a big week.

The men's golf team learns its NCAA regional destination on Monday afternoon. The women's tennis team will play Clemson on Friday in the NCAA Championships first round in Fayetteville, Ark.

The MVC softball tournament begins Thursday in Springfield, Mo. The MVC outdoor track and field meet begins Friday in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Worth noting _ Shocker hurdlers Lawson Montgomery and Todd McKown moved up in the NCAA West region standings on Friday at the Arkansas Twilight. Montgomery's time of 13.70 in the 110 meters ranks him 12th. McKown is No. 14 with a time of 13.76.... WSU's basketball camps for girls begin June 23, with skill development and elite camps planned. For information call 316-978-6637.

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