KANSAS CITY, Mo. —
“We don’t talk about it too much, to be honest,” said coach Gregg Marshall, who has the school back in the round of 16 for the first time since Mark Turgeon led it there in 2006.
“You keep winning, you’ll get notoriety,” Marshall said. “I think the fact that we’re in the middle of the country, not on the East Coast, not on the West Coast, not in a BCS league, you get used to it. But ultimately, it’s your play that gets people to talk about you.”
Wichita State ran roughshod over eighth-seeded Pittsburgh in its tournament opener, and then managed to combine silky smooth shooting with its rough-and-tumble style to rally from an eight-point second-half hole and send Gonzaga home early.
“We were at the movies and I was watching the first half on my phone,” said La Salle guard Tyrone Garland, “and I saw they were up and I was like, ‘These guys are good.’
“When I got home to the hotel and saw the second half, they play hard, just like we do,” Garland said. “They play defense and they have good guards. They have players that come off the bench and contribute, just like we do. I just think they are kind of just like us. They go out there and play hard and whatever happens, happens.”
La Salle may be the biggest surprise in a West Region ripped to shreds, but the Shockers are relishing the chance to make a little history of their own.
They can join Boston College in 1994 as the only No. 9 seeds to make a regional final with a win over the Explorers. Wichita State hasn’t made it that far since 1981, and before that, it was the school’s Final Four year back in 1965.