Wichita State was a member of the Missouri Valley Conference for 72 years, but after dominating the league for the last couple of seasons, the Shockers jumped to the AAC.
Head coach Gregg Marshall enjoyed his time in the Missouri Valley, but it was time to move on.
“We kind of outgrew that league,” Marshall said on Tiki and Tierney “We went 68-4 over the last four years in conference play, and we were the only team in my last couple of years that had a chance to get an at-large bid. So now we’re in this American Athletic Conference where there’s probably going to be three teams at least – and if someone outside the top three wins the conference tournament, there will be four teams.”
No. 19 Wichita State (19-5, 9-3) is currently second in the AAC behind No. 5 Cincinnati (23-2, 12-0). Those teams will square off in the Queen City this Sunday and again on March 4 in Wichita.
“We’ve got Cincinnati twice in the last couple of weeks,” Marshall said. “Mick Cronin should be getting some mention for coach of the year with the job he’s done there this year. We have to go play Johnny Dawkins at UCF – another team that, despite of all their injuries, has had a great year. We go to SMU, (which) beat us here on our home court. We’ve got Temple coming and Tulane led by Mike Dunleavy. They’re much-improved. There’s no nights off in this league. We’ve got a chance to play top-50 teams probably five of our last six games.”
The Shockers have won four of five overall and have four players averaging double figures. Sophomore point guard Landry Shamet, in fact, leads the team in scoring (14.8 points per game) and assists (5.2). He’s also shooting 50.0 percent from the floor, including 45.6 percent from three.
Shaquille Morris, Darral Willis Jr., and Conner Frankamp, meanwhile, are all averaging between 10.0 and 12.9 points per game.
“We’ve been blessed with recruiting players that certainly have athleticism, skill, talent, size, but the most improve thing they have is the ability to play hard and be coachable,” Marshall saud. “We’ve got guys that are so unselfish. This is one of the best offensive teams I’ve ever had.”