The RTC Podcast: #cheerfortheears Edition

Posted by rtmsf on February 11th, 2014

The RTC Podcast is back in action, and there was plenty to talk about this week as unbeaten Wichita State got through its mathematically toughest set of games remaining on its schedule. Can the Shockers run the table? Is it time to #cheerfortheears? We brought on‘s Matt Norlander to discuss the bet and a bunch of other relevant things in this week’s podcast. The full rundown is below.

  • 0:00-6:00 – #CheerForTheEars Origin Story
  • 6:00-13:46 – Chances Wichita State Actually Goes Undefeated
  • 13:46-25:13 Marcus Smart Fall Out (you did drop another Markel Starks, but I deleted it haha)
  • 25:13-29:50 – Notable Games Around the Country
  • 29:50-32:55 – Overanalyzed Teams
  • 32:55-37:04 – Shaky Top of the Rankings
  • 37:04-46:17 – More Norlander Predictions
  • 46:17-53:58 – Week Preview
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RTC Bracketology: February 10 Edition

Posted by Daniel Evans on February 10th, 2014

Daniel Evans (@bracketexpert) is Rush the Court’s resident bracketologist. He will update his brackets at least twice a week through the rest of the regular season here at RTC, but his updated brackets can be viewed daily at Bracketology Expert. As we approach March Madness, he’ll also provide occasional blind resumes. Evans has been ranked by the Bracket Matrix as the nation’s 11th-best bracketologist out of hundreds of entries. 

The movement in my latest bracket is not at the top.

  • The No. 1 seeds remain the same with Syracuse, Arizona, Florida and Wichita State on the top line. After winning at Northern Iowa, the Shockers have survived all of their major regular season hurdles and appear destined to be an outstanding 34-0 going into the NCAA Tournament.
  • Most of this week’s changes are at the bottom. The difference between the last eight teams in and the first eight teams out is minimal. For instance, LSU, Missouri and Tennessee are all among the last few teams in, while Ole Miss is among the last four out. That’s how close the SEC is to only having two teams — Florida and Kentucky — make the field this year.
  • A big winner this week includes SMU, a team that dominated Cincinnati Saturday night. On the flip side, Oklahoma State is now a No. 8 seed following another loss and the Marcus Smart situation, which leaves the Cowboys without their best player for the next three games. Of course, I’m not projecting those games (potential losses) into the field here.

Bids by Conference: Big 12 (6), ACC (6), Big Ten (6), Pac-12 (6), SEC (5), AAC (5), Big East (4), Atlantic 10 (4), Mountain West (2), WCC (2)

First Four Out: Dayton, Oregon, Georgetown, Ole Miss

The full bracket is after the jump:

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RTC Bracketology: February 3 Edition

Posted by Daniel Evans on February 3rd, 2014

Daniel Evans (@bracketexpert) is Rush the Court’s resident bracketologist. He will update his brackets at least twice a week through the rest of the regular season here at RTC, but his updated brackets can be viewed daily at Bracketology Expert. As we approach March Madness, he’ll also provide occasional blind resumes. Evans has been ranked by the Bracket Matrix as the nation’s 11th-best bracketologist out of hundreds of entries. 

Five top 10 teams lost this weekend and my latest bracketology reflects all of the wild results. No. 1 Arizona finally lost after playing with fire multiple times in the last few weeks, but more importantly, the Wildcats also lost power forward Brandon Ashley for the season. The Wildcats — a lock to make the Big Dance — will be evaluated by the selection committee as a new team without their second-leading scorer and rebounder in the lineup. Don’t read too much into it right this second, though. If the NCAA Tournament started today, I have no doubt that Arizona would still be a No. 1 seed.

  • Wichita State finally moved up to the No. 1 line in my bracket after Kansas lost to Texas, but like always, I’m going to be brutally honest about the Shockers. Wichita has only TWO wins over teams in my bracket and that is not the sort of quality resume you expect to see from a No. 1 seed. Still, I have the Shockers on the top line because they are undefeated and they look like a top-5 team when you watch them play.
  • Texas is moving up in a hurry after a convincing win Saturday over the Jayhawks. UCLA is also moving up, even after a loss to Oregon State on Sunday. The Bruins are unranked because the Pac-12 is seen as a weak conference (other than Arizona) and it’s really unfair to UCLA. Despite their bad loss yesterday, Steve Alford’s team looks like the conference’s second-best squad at this point and have the quality wins of a middle-of-the-road seed.
  • Pittsburgh is about to start sliding. The Panthers still lack a top-50 win after falling to Virginia on Sunday. For now, I left Pittsburgh as a No. 6 seed but the Panthers have the feel of a team that gets “shafted” on Selection Sunday and end up a couple of seed lines lower. I’m going to keep re-evaluating the Panthers, of course, but based on how the national media perceives Jamie Dixon’s team (currently seen as a Top 25 team), I have to predict the committee will likely see Pittsburgh in the same light and seed them accordingly.

For the first time this season, there are more than 36 at-large teams deserving a spot in the field which made it hard to pick the final few teams. The full bracket is after the jump:

First Four Out: Oregon, BYU, Clemson, Georgetown

Bids by Conference: Big 12 (7), ACC (6), Big Ten (6), Pac-12 (6), SEC (5), American (5), Atlantic 10 (4), Big East (3), Mountain West (2)


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RTC Bracketology: January 20 Edition

Posted by Daniel Evans on January 20th, 2014

Daniel Evans (@bracketexpert) is Rush the Court’s resident bracketologist. He will update his brackets at least twice a week through the rest of the regular season here at RTC, but his updated brackets can be viewed daily at Bracketology Expert. As we approach March Madness, he’ll also provide occasional blind resumes. Evans has been ranked by the Bracket Matrix as the nation’s No. 11 bracketologist out of hundreds of entries. 

A lot changed in my bracketology following a crazy weekend of college basketball. I’m going to try to break it down and make it as simple and as easy as possible. First, let’s start at the top.

  • Villanova replaces Wisconsin on the No. 1 seed line after Wisconsin lost twice last week. The Wildcats simply have a better resume than Florida, who is No. 5 on my S-curve despite a loss to Wisconsin earlier this season. Remember, the Gators were not completely healthy in their loss at Wisconsin. Point guard Scottie Wilbekin, who has become the go-to guy for Florida in the final minutes of games, missed the final few minutes of the last second loss at Connecticut.
  • Wichita State stays on the No. 3 seed line despite being undefeated. The Shockers simply do not have the profile of a No. 1 or No. 2 seed at this point. Gonzaga didn’t last year at this time either, and still ended up on the No. 1 line, so stay patient Shocker fans.
  • Oklahoma has jumped up to a No. 4 seed after wins against Baylor and Iowa State. The Cyclones stay as a No. 3 seed, but are sliding. Baylor falls to a No. 8 seed after a couple more losses. Ohio State is also sliding — the Buckeyes’ profile looks nothing like the seed of a surefire NCAA Tournament team, although that is where most bracketologists continue to seed them as a No. 3 or No. 4 seed.
  • Anyone wanting a prediction from me can write this one down: Kansas will end up with a No. 1 seed. The Jayhawks have a tremendous profile like always, and are playing their best basketball of the season.

I think that’s enough for now. If you have questions (and surely you do), please tweet me @bracketexpert.

First Four Out: VCU, Illinois, Arkansas, Southern Mississippi.

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RTC Bracketology: January 18 Edition

Posted by Daniel Evans on January 18th, 2014

bracket pic

Daniel Evans (@bracketexpert) is Rush the Court’s resident bracketologist. He will update his brackets at least twice a week through the rest of the regular season here at RTC, but his updated brackets can be viewed daily at Bracketology Expert.

Going into Saturday, this has been a crazy week in college basketball. Let’s review:

  • Baylor is sliding after getting destroyed by Texas Tech.
  • Ohio State continues to have zero good wins and has now lost three straight games.
  • Wisconsin lost its first game of the year at Indiana Tuesday night.
  • Kansas knocked off Iowa State Monday night and continues to move up in my bracketology rankings.

I listed Kansas as a No. 1 seed in my preseason bracketology because the Jayhawks earn No. 1 seeds more consistently than any other team in the country. Kansas always schedules well and it pays off. The Jayhawks are up to No. 2 in my latest bracket and are nearing the No. 1 seed line at this point. Wichita State remains on the No. 3 line despite being undefeated. It’s nothing personal against the Shockers — really, it’s not. They just don’t have the profile of a top two seed at this point. Colorado lost Spencer Dinwiddie to an ACL injury earlier this week and the Buffaloes lost to UCLA  a few nights later. I’ve moved Colorado down because of Dinwiddie’s loss. For now, I’m keeping New Mexico State and Belmont in the bracket below despite losing games this week and technically falling out of first place. It’s still early in the year and for one night, I am willing to give those teams the benefit of the doubt.

Here is the complete field, seeded #1-#68:

First Four Out: Arkansas, Stanford, Indiana, Saint Mary’s

#1 Seeds:
Michigan State (Midwest)

#2  Seeds:
KANSAS (Big 12)
San Diego State (MWC)

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RTC Bracketology: January 10 Edition

Posted by Daniel Evans on January 10th, 2014


Daniel Evans (@bracketexpert) is Rush the Court’s resident bracketologist. He will update his brackets at least twice a week through the rest of the regular season here at RTC, but his updated brackets can be viewed daily at Bracketology Expert.

Our latest bracketology shows a little bit of movement at the top. After Michigan State‘s big win over Ohio State Tuesday night, the Spartans jump to the No. 1 line. Iowa State continues to climb and is up to No. 6 overall on my S-curve, while Wichita State is up to No. 9. I’m still doubting that the Shockers can get a No. 1 seed unless they finish the regular season with an unblemished record (or at most one loss), so for now they remain on the No. 3 seed line despite remaining undefeated.

The "Most Annoying Team in America" to Bracketologists (Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports)

The “Most Annoying Team in America” to Bracketologists (Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports)

North Carolina remains the most annoying team in the country. The Tar Heels lost to Miami (FL) earlier this week to add another awful loss to a resume full of them. Of course, the Tar Heels also have three of the best wins in the country over Michigan State, Kentucky and Louisville.. The Tar Heels are like many of my ex-girlfriends, bipolar and unpredictable.

Here is the complete field, seeded #1-#68:

LAST FOUR IN: Georgetown, Texas, Oklahoma, Dayton
FIRST FOUR OUT: California, SMU, North Dakota State, St. Mary’s

#1 Seeds:

  • ARIZONA (Pac 12/WEST)
  • Michigan State (Midwest)

#2  Seeds:

  • Ohio State
  • IOWA STATE (Big 12)
  • Oklahoma State

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The RTC Podcast: Midseason Reset Edition

Posted by rtmsf on January 7th, 2014

Happy conference season, everyone! Here’s hoping that you’re staying warm out there, wherever you are, avoiding the crushing chill of the polar vortex and all that. While it’s been beyond freezing outside, it’s stayed hot on the court, with a number of interesting upsets getting us through the weekend. Since we’re at the midpoint of the season — more or less — we thought it was the right time to do some resets, analyzing some of the surprises and disappointments of the first half of the season, while digging a bit deeper into each of the power conferences to determine which teams will win their leagues. As always, Shane Connolly (@sconnolly114) hosts us through all the discussion, so be sure to check the below outline to jump around if you like.

Make sure to add the RTC Podcast to your iTunes lineup so that you’ll automatically upload it on your listening device after we record. And feel free to contact us through Twitter or email — we’re listening.

  • 0:00-3:02 – Upsets Galore This Weekend
  • 3:02-6:19 – Notre Dame Opens ACC Play With a Big Win Over Duke
  • 6:19-10:41 – Upsets With Long Lasting Impact
  • 10:41-12:15 – Shoutouts to Randy and Wisky
  • 12:15-14:12 – #RootForTheSuit
  • 14:12-16:35 – Surprise Team in the Non-Conference
  • 16:35-18:27 – Disappointments in Non-Conference Play
  • 18:27-20:06 – Still Ain’t Buyin’
  • 20:06-21:19 – PreSeason Picks We Want Back
  • 21:19-22:34 – Preseason Picks That Make Us Feel Better About Ourselves
  • 22:34-26:19 – Conferences We’re Excited For
  • 26:19-28:10 – Toughest Conference to Call
  • 28:10-37:17 – Re-evaluating Each Conference
  • 37:17-40:14 – Seriously UNC, WTF?
  • 40:14-51:04 – Preview The Week
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The RTC Podblast: Legalize It Edition

Posted by rtmsf on January 3rd, 2014

Happy New Year, everyone! After a brief hiatus over the holidays, the RTC Podblast is back for the first edition of 2014 and ready to get on with the rest of the season! As always, Shane Connolly (@sconnolly114) hosts the proceedings, guiding the guys through topics that included the biggest takeaway from games the last two weeks, a number of injuries and suspensions that have come down lately, and most importantly, #rootforthesuit. A full rundown is below. We’ll be back on our regular schedule with the next full RTC Podcast dropping on Tuesday.

Make sure to add the RTC Podcast to your iTunes lineup so that you’ll automatically upload it on your listening device after we record. And feel free to contact us through Twitter or email — we’re listening.

  • 0:00-3:48 – Most Important Game During the Holidays
  • 3:48-8:42 – Evaluating the Injuries and Suspensions Suffered by Contenders
  • 8:42-11:44 – Upset Alert on Saturday
  • 11:44-17:17 – Marquee Match-ups on Sunday (Including a #rootforthesuit game)
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Where 2013-14 Happens: Reason #16 We Love College Basketball

Posted by rtmsf on October 30th, 2013


Here we go… headfirst into another season heralded by our 2013-14 edition of Thirty Reasons We Love College Basketball, our annual compendium of YouTube clips from the previous season completely guaranteed to make you wish games were starting tonight. For the next three weeks, you’ll get two hits of excitement each weekday. We’ve captured what we believe were the most compelling moments from last season, some of which will bring back goosebumps and others of which will leave you shaking your head in astonishment. To see the entire released series so far, click here.

#16 – Where Cinderella Shockers Happens.

We also encourage you to re-visit the entire archive of this feature from the 2008-092009-10, 2010-112011-12, and 2012-13 preseasons.

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Morning Five: 09.25.13 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on September 25th, 2013


  1. Yesterday we mentioned that‘s Andy Glockner was brewing up a firestorm with his series of articles ranking the top 20 current programs in college basketball. Such an endeavor has two verifiable truths: first, everyone loves lists; second, everyone loves to rip lists. With that in mind (and he’s well aware of those truths), his honorable mentions came out Monday, followed by his rankings of programs from #16 to #20 on Tuesday. In order, let’s welcome Gonzaga, Illinois, Michigan, Georgetown and Texas to the top 20. Of this group, we’re having the most trouble with the Illinois pick at #19. The Illini had a renaissance season under the tutelage of new head coach John Groce last year, but spent most of the previous five years struggling to regain its national relevance of the early-to-mid 2000s. We realize of course that Glockner is using historical and other qualitative metrics to make these determinations, but we probably would have had Pittsburgh, Marquette, Xavier and several others ahead of the Illini. Still, that’s nitpicky. What will really make or break this list will be how Glockner handles the top five (and the fans of the four runners-up will let him know it!). We’re excited to see the next group released later today.
  2. As more and more people marry themselves to the idea that college football and basketball players are being exploited by their schools and the NCAA, we’ll continue to see analyses like one from Business Insider published on Tuesday. Their methodology for determining the fair market value of players at the top 25 revenue-producing football schools is quite simple, probably overly simple — just multiply football revenue by 47 percent (per the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement with its players), then divide by the number of scholarships (85). What BI found mimics the numbers we’ve seen elsewhere — at the richest athletic schools such as Texas, Alabama and Michigan, college football players are worth roughly a half-million dollars each annually in value. The same analysis is also easy enough to do for college basketball players. Louisville‘s hoops revenue of $42.4 million in 2012 is divided in half given the NBA’s rough 50/50 split with the players, leaving $21.2 million to be split 13 ways. The result: a Cardinals’ basketball player is worth $1.63 million to the university (if you buy into this methodology). This is the mistake that many of these gridiron-centric analyses don’t realize — while it’s definitely true that football provides more aggregate revenue to the schools, the players in college basketball are individually much more valuable. If you want to make the point most strongly, which is the better headline? Texas football players are worth a half-million each; or Louisville basketball players are worth three times that much?
  3. While on the subject of football powers, the NCAA announced yesterday that Penn State would regain some of the football scholarships it lost as a result of the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal. In announcing the removal of those sanctions, the NCAA recognized that the school had made great efforts to change its culture of abuse but NCAA president Mark Emmert made it clear that other schools shouldn’t expect a reduction in their own penalties. That’s too bad, writes The Dagger‘s Jeff Eisenberg, who outlines four major recent (and fixable) misfires by the NCAA, two of which were focused on men’s basketball. The most well-known example, of course, was the NCAA’s “strict liability” punishment on Memphis for playing Derrick Rose in the 2007-08 season, even though the NCAA Clearinghouse had deemed him eligible to play before that season. The other is far less recognizable, involving the NCAA’s decision to rule that Old Dominion’s Donte Hill was ineligible for his senior season because he played eight minutes in a closed-door preseason scrimmage against Clemson back in 2010. We’re quite sure that we could probably come up with a dozen more of these if we spent the time on it, but Eisenberg’s list is a good place to start. It wouldn’t hurt the NCAA to consider more reductions (or commutation) of sentences based on additional facts, precedents and behaviors.
  4. What’s a Final Four appearance worth to an MVC school like Wichita State? We’ll have to wait for the Business Insider analysis on that one, but it’s at least worth around $600,000 to its head coach, Gregg Marshall. The university announced his new salary on Tuesday, with a base of $1.6 million that kicks in this November and another raise to $1.75 million that begins next April. The long-underrated head coach will move into the top 25 or so highest-paid college basketball coaches as a result of this raise, which is a substantial financial commitment for a school living outside the Power Six or Seven hoops leagues. But Final Four appearances at schools like Wichita State tend to result in ironclad job security.
  5. Believe it or not, but with the new practice rules in effect this season, schools will actually begin suiting up for real, live, full-on practices this Friday. As in 48 hours from now. One of the players who will definitely be there to play post-practice games of HORSE with his teammates is Ole Miss’ Marshall Henderson. As reported by Gary Parrish at, Andy Kennedy expects the all-SEC shooting guard to be on the floor Friday. The controversial shooting guard reportedly failed multiple drug tests and spent much of the offseason “suspended” from the team, whatever that means, but let’s be honest with ourselves here. There aren’t all that many name-brand players who pass through Oxford, Mississippi — especially in roundball — so there was not much of a question as to whether Henderson would suit up this year.
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Rushed Reactions: #1 Louisville 72, #9 Wichita State 68

Posted by rtmsf on April 6th, 2013


RTC is reporting from the Final Four in Atlanta, Georgia, this weekend.

Three Key Takeaways.

Luke Hancock's Game of His Life Ensured Louisville Advanced Tonight

Luke Hancock’s Game of His Life Ensured Louisville Advanced Tonight

  1. The Game Was Ugly, But Louisville Can Do Ugly. One reason the Cards are so difficult to match up against is that they are just as comfortable playing an ugly, foul-ridden, poor-shooting train wreck of a game as they are an up-and-down virtuoso performance. This was the former. In the first half, the Cards allowed Wichita to force them to settle for long-range jumpers to the tune of 4-of-13 with only seven field goal attempts coming from two-point range. By the time Louisville had fallen behind 12 points just shy of midway through the second half, those numbers looked even worse — 18 shots from three and only 11 from within the arc. Only when Louisville started driving the ball inside to a more equitable split (the Cards finished the game with a 25/24 ratio) did openings appear for the only hot shooters on the floor, Luke Hancock and Tim Henderson. 
  2. Tim Henderson and Luke Hancock Saved the Day. Speaking of those two, there’s no question that their contributions on nights where Peyton Siva and Gorgui Dieng couldn’t make shots (they combined for a 1-of-10 performance) saved the Cardinals’ hides tonight. It wasn’t so much as the volume of scoring — Hancock ended up with 20 points, while Henderson had six — but it was the when that mattered most. After the Shockers’ lead ballooned to 12 points, it was Henderson who nailed consecutive threes to bring the lead back to a much more manageable six very quickly. If Wichita had pushed its lead up to 15 or more at that point, it’s questionable whether the Cards would have found enough offense to come back in this one. After Henderson’s pair of bombs, it was Hancock’s turn. He followed up with a pair of layups and a three, ensuring that the Louisville push was for real, and then not only gave the Cards its first lead in a long time with a three at the 6:30 mark, but essentially sealed the game with another one at two minutes. He also managed to get his hands on some balls for deflections and steals, but the key point is that 13 of his 20 points came in the last 12 minutes of the game. More on his Final Four-saving performance below.
  3. Wichita Was One Bad Stretch From the Unthinkable. For much of this game, the appearance on the floor was that Gregg Marshall’s group was the better team. Their ability to not fall victim to the Louisville pressure was outstanding for the majority of the contest, mishandling the ball only five times in the first 33-plus minutes of action. Once Louisville started to finally get some shots to go down, Wichita got rattled for the first time all game, turning it over four times in the next two minutes and three more times down the stretch. It’s certainly not worthwhile to delve too much into hypotheticals, but Wichita had the exact game plan and execution it needed to win this one. Peyton Siva and Gorgui Dieng were offensive nightmares. Russ Smith was solid, but high-volume in his attack. Wayne Blackshear and Chane Behanan weren’t going to beat the Shockers tonight. It really took a totally couple of unexpected efforts from Hancock and Henderson to make the difference here in Atlanta, or it says here that Wichita would have been playing on Monday night.

Star of the Game. Luke Hancock, Louisville. Certainly didn’t have that one on the SOTG pool, and I’m not sure anyone else did either. As noted above, it wasn’t just his overall numbers — 20 points, four rebounds, two assists, two steals, on 6-of-9 from the field, including 3-of-5 from distance — it was that so much of his offensive effort was exactly when Louisville needed a player to step up. Hancock averaged 7.4 PPG this season and only hit the 20-point mark once all season (22 against Notre Dame in 46 minutes of action).

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Rushed Reactions: #9 Wichita State 76, #1 Gonzaga 70

Posted by AMurawa on March 23rd, 2013


Andrew Murawa is an RTC correspondent. He filed this report from the Round of 32 game between #1 Gonzaga and #9 Wichita State at the Salt Lake City pod this evening.

The Shocker certainly live up to their name Saturday evening. (AP)

The Shocker certainly live up to their name Saturday evening. (AP)

Three Key Takeaways.

  1. Spectacular Ending. After trailing much of the first and start of second half, Gonzaga took a 43-41 lead with 13:39 remaining on a Mike Hart three. For the next seven minutes or so, it seemed like the Zags were on the verge of pulling away and a Kevin Pangos three with 6:30 remaining put the Bulldogs up seven. That was just the start of the madness. That Pangos three was just the start of five threes on six offensive possessions and a Carl Hall jumper gave Wichita State the lead back. Then, following a Ron Baker personal 5-0 run, Fred Vanvleet nailed the calmest, sweetest three anyone (anyone except a Zag fan, that is) ever did see with one second left on the shotclock to put the Shockers up seven and effectively seal the game. It was a wild stretch that left the West region without four of its top five seeds.
  2. Wichita Three-Point Shooting. For the year, Wichita State is a 33% three-point shooting team, good for 213th in the nation. And just one player on the roster had made more than 40 threes this season. Today? The team went 14-of-28, got four threes from 29.8% three-point shooter Cleanthony Early and four threes from Baker, a freshman who missed 21 games in the middle of the season. That type of performance was, well, shocking, but ultimately it is what puts Gregg Marshall and company through to their first Sweet 16 in the Marshall era.
  3. Gonzaga Rebounding. We knew coming into the game that Gonzaga would have a big size advantage inside, but with the way Wichita handled their business on the glass against Pittsburgh, the expectation was that the Shockers would be okay. Suffice it to say, they were not okay. While they did a fine job on their own offensive glass (35.7 OR%), they got smoked on the defensive glass, allowing the Zags to collect 21 offensive rebounds, grabbing better than half of their own misses. It was this, and a striking advantage from the free throw line (at least until the Zags had to foul in the end game scenario) that even allowed the Bulldogs to remain as close as they did.

Star of the Game. Ron Baker, Wichita State. First off, this is a kid that missed the last 21 game of the regular season, returning only in time for the start of the MVC Tournament, where he immediately jumped back into the fire by dropping 15 points. He joined the starting lineup against Pitt (but went 0-of-5 from the field), then tonight dropped a phenomenal game, doing a little bit of everything for the Shockers. He scored 16 points, knocked down four threes, grabbed six boards and has four assists, along with some excellent defense against the Zag guards. In a game with a six-point final margin, the Shockers were +19 with Baker on the floor.

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