TERRE HAUTE —
It would seem there should be little to trouble Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall.
The Shockers are unbeaten in 19 games and easily took care of its only competition for the Missouri Valley Conference title with a 68-48 victory over Indiana State last Saturday.
But Marshall was in an ornery mood during the Missouri Valley Conference coaches’ teleconference Tuesday.
Specifically, when it came to a question as to whether his team could beat an elite team.
Mark Berman of the Roanoke (Va.) Times asked the question. It didn’t sit well with Marshall, who coached WSU to the Final Four a year ago.
“Does this team have the ability to beat teams in March? Is that what you asked,” Marshall queried. “Tell me what you consider an elite team? Like Villanova?”
Marshall’s irritation had to do with Berman moving Villanova past WSU in his Associated Press poll this week. Villanova was subsequently beaten by Creighton 96-68 on its home floor on Monday … after the voters vote.
“Is Villanova elite? They got smacked by 30 yesterday and were down by 40 at home. If we win two games this week, are you going to have us in front of them? Because you had us jumping them this week,” Marshall said.
Marshall noted that WSU beat top 25 team Saint Louis (on the road). He went on to list two Southeastern Conference teams — Tennessee and Alabama — that the Shockers have beaten this season.
Marshall admitted later in the teleconference that Berman moving Villanova past WSU in his poll “got to him” a bit.
“Our old brethren Creighton was up 40 on Villanova last night. Forty. They had 35 points with 10 minutes to go in the [first] half. They were on an 140-point pace. I was thinking, ‘Who would have to come to come here to do that to us at home?’ They’re an elite team … no doubt,” Marshall said.
With acid sarcasm, Marshall later shot down the idea that Illinois State — the Shockers’ foe at Redbird Arena tonight — and WSU have a rivalry.
Tensions ran high between the two teams after a contentious game in Normal, Ill. last season. WSU stormed back with an 8-0 run in the final minute to win 68-67 on Feb. 17, 2013 partly due to a Jackie Carmichael flagrant foul when he kicked his legs high on a rebound.
“Who’s had a rivalry?” asked Marshall. The question was then repeated. “Have they?”
“It’s a competitive game. We like to compete against them and they like to compete against us. I’m sure it’ll be a festive crowd. I’m assuming that’s what a rivalry is,” he finished.
Hell hath no fury like Marshall scorned.
TERRE HAUTE —
It would seem there should be little to trouble Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall.
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