The Norman Transcript

National Sports

February 4, 2014

Test time for the Shockers

WICHITA, Kan. — There aren’t a whole lot of statement games on Wichita State’s schedule this season.

Two of them are coming up in a matter of days.

The unbeaten Shockers are headed to Indiana State on Wednesday night, followed by a trip to Northern Iowa on Saturday. Those two teams are the closest contenders behind the fourth-ranked Shockers in the Missouri Valley race.

Perhaps more important, they’re arguably the two teams with the best chance of dealing Wichita State (23-0, 10-0) a defeat before the start of the conference tournament March 6.

“It’s the week that everyone’s been talking about and pointing at, arguably two of the best teams in our league, back to back, on the road,” Shockers coach Gregg Marshall said. “I know they’ll be great atmospheres coming up and we’ll have to play really good basketball.”

They might want to avoid spotting their opponents a big early lead, too.

Wichita State allowed Evansville to race out to a 15-point first-half advantage on Saturday before rallying for an 81-67 victory. When then-No. 1 Arizona lost to California later that night, it left only the Shockers and new No. 1 Syracuse as the nation’s undefeated teams.

To put that into perspective, the only other team from the Missouri Valley to win its first 23 games was Larry Bird’s Indiana State team, which went 33-0 before losing to Magic Johnson and Michigan State in the 1979 NCAA championship game.

The last team to enter the NCAA tournament undefeated was UNLV in 1991.

“Nobody in this program feels like we’re at our best our reached our peak,” guard Fred VanVleet said. “Besides, we don’t worry about what the outside world is talking about. We know every game in the Valley is a challenge.”

Poll voters have been largely unimpressed by the Shockers’ relatively weak schedule, which is why they remained No. 4 this week — behind the Wildcats, who dropped to second, and Florida, which has already lost twice this season.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
National Sports
  • Hamlin crew chief out 6 races

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — NASCAR suspended Denny Hamlin’s crew chief and car chief on Tuesday for six races because the Joe Gibbs Racing entry failed inspection following his third-place finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Darian Grubb and ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Bell focuses on every facet of his game

    LATROBE, Pa. — Le’Veon Bell kept watching the tape over and over, equal parts pleased and puzzled by what he saw....

    July 30, 2014

  • Sam factor may ready Rams for sensitivity class

    ST. LOUIS — To guard against another bullying scandal, NFL teams are holding sensitivity sessions during training camp....

    July 30, 2014

  • Romo skips full-pad session for the first time at camp

    OXNARD, Calif. — The Dallas Cowboys are taking it easy with Tony Romo’s back....

    July 30, 2014

  • Vikings hire help for Kluwe talks

    MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Vikings have hired the attorney who investigated the Miami Dolphins bullying scandal and another who played a prominent role in the fight for marriage equality to help in settlement talks with former punter ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Cards’ Abraham charged with DUI

    ATLANTA — Authorities say Arizona Cardinals linebacker John Abraham was arrested on a drunken driving charge a month ago in the Atlanta area. Abraham has been absent from the team’s training camp since Friday....

    July 30, 2014

  • Players elect new executive director

    Michele Roberts has watched basketball for as long as she can remember. It was an easy choice growing up in a home with one TV and two older brothers....

    July 30, 2014

  • NCAA settles head-injury suit

    CHICAGO — The NCAA agreed on Tuesday to help athletes with head injuries in a proposed settlement of a class-action lawsuit that college sports’ governing body touted as a major step forward but that critics say doesn’t go nearly far ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Yanks hold off Rangers

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Brett Gardner had four hits to go with a tremendous sliding catch and the New York Yankees held on for a 12-11 victory at Texas on Tuesday night in spite of J.P. Arencibia’s seven RBIs. Gardner had a leadoff homer and ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Twins pick up undrafted arm ‘out of nowhere’

    SAN FRANCISCO — In one of their craziest scouting experiences, the Minnesota Twins have reached a deal with a 24-year-old pitching prospect who has thrown 100 mile per hour fastballs but has never been drafted....

    July 30, 2014