College basketball notebook: Wichita State has eyes set on history
No. 2 Wichita State def. Missouri State
The Wichita State Shockers have done just that by defeating Missouri State 68-45. Their perfect 31-0 regular season has taken the college basketball world by storm. The last time a team caped off a perfect regular season was in 2004 when Illinois went 29-0 before losing to North Carolina in the NCAA championship game.
“It seems like the season started about three weeks ago as opposed to months ago,” Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall said. “It’s been incredible. They’ve met every challenge.”
The Shockers will have a first round bye in their conference tournament next week.
Oklahoma State def. No. 8 Kansas
After losing three straight games, the Cowboys have won three straight, but none were more important than beating No. 5 Kansas 72-65 at home.
A tale of two halves was the story for sophomore guard Marcus Smart, who returned from his three-game suspension. He missed his all his seven shots in the first half and scored only a point from the free throw line. The second half was a different story — Smart scored 20 of his 21 points after the break by being aggressive and attacking the rim.
“I was always taught that you’ve got to attack the shot blocker,” Smart said. “You’ve got to attack his body and chop him down a little bit. Take his legs from under him and that makes him a little shorter.”
With the Big 12 being competitive, it could still take some key wins down the stretch and conference tournament wins to get in the NCAA tournament.
No. 5 Virginia def. No. 7 Syracuse
Virginia has gone under the radar but has been is at the top of the ACC with a 16-1 conference record. Syracuse has won games down the stretch, but Virginia had other plans as they get the 75-56 victory. The Cavaliers shot 50 percent from beyond the 3-point line.
Coach Bennett thought that the crowd played a big role in the victory.
“The last time I heard it that loud, I was at a Taylor Swift concert,” Bennett said.
With the ACC conference tournament next week you have to keep an eye on the Cavaliers. Syracuse has gotten a lot of publicity, but will all come down to what the teams do on the court in March.
20 Memphis def No. 11 Louisville
After losing to UH last week, Memphis looked to rebound with Louisville coming to town. The Tigers finished off the season sweep of the Cardinals with a 72-66 win. With Memphis down eight with four minutes left to go in the second half, the Tigers made a run led by Michael Dixon Jr. who scored 15 of the last 16 points.
“That’s a big-time win,” Memphis head coach Josh Pastner said. “So great a bounce back for the guys. That’s not easy to do after a tough loss on Thursday, but to bounce back like that today just so proud of our young men.”
With the American Conference tournament next week, the two teams are sure to see each other again.