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Charlie's Inside Corner: April 14

Shocker bite too big to chew

POSTED April 18, 2017 8:47 p.m.

With a lot of fanfare, Wichita State University has announced that they have outgrown the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) and will be taking their games to the American Athletic Conference, (AAC). The Shockers and the MVC are synonymous. They have been a part of that glorious conference-though most of their glory is in the past-since 1945. The feeling in Wichita is that in the past 17 years or so, Wichita State has outgrown the MVC. Maybe so, but have they grown big enough to compete, in all sports, in the AAC?

Yes, Wichita State is a national player in men’s college basketball. In the past six years the Shockers have played in 15 “Big Dance” games. Can they continue that pace? Probably so if they keep Greg Marshall as their coach. Maybe not if they don’t. The Shockers have had some very good men’s basketball coaches, especially in the last two decades. They also had some bad ones just before that. It could happen again.

Specifically though, I wonder if the other sports at Wichita State can compete, on a regular basis, in the AAC. We’re talking some national players here. Connecticut, Memphis, Cincinnati, Houston, SMU and Central Florida are spending big bucks on athletics and regularly expect to compete in post-season play.

Time was when Wichita State was also a top-tier baseball program. No more, though the memories linger. .500 seasons have become the norm, not post-season play. Since Gene Stephenson was awkwardly escorted out the door the Shocker baseball program has fallen on hard times and now, well now,  they can’t even compete in that piddly little old Missouri Valley Conference.

Women’s basketball, once a strength, is in an uproar as WSU has fired their most successful coach ever and who knows what the future will bring. The AAC will not be kind to a new coach trying to rebuild a faltering program.

Golf and tennis? Not bad for the Valley but you’re talking Houston, SMU and Central Florida here and wins will be hard to come by. Ditto for Track and Field. Bowling, a Wichita State strength, is considered a ho-hum event in most of the collegiate sports world.

Obviously folks at Wichita State and the Wichita media felt like the Shockers had outgrown the MVC and, perhaps, in men’s basketball they had but there is a whole lot more to a collegiate athletic program than just basketball. Football, of course, is out and most of the schools in the AAC play a pretty high-level kind of football.

So, puffed up as the Wichita media is about how blessed the AAC is to get their men’s basketball program, my thought would be that the Shocker athletic department had better “strap it on and gear up” as they are in for a few surprises coming from the new competition in their new conference alliance! Too big a bite to chew? We’ll see.

                                            

CHALK TALK:……………………………………….The rich get richer. KU grabbed a couple of high profile basketball transfers from Memphis………………………………………..This off-season for Kansas State basketball is huge. They’ve got to come up with a post player, a rebounder and defender to replace D.J. Johnson or the glow comes off of next year’s possibilities…………………………………..Now you know why professional baseball teams spend so much money on pitching. The Royals starters are good when their relievers aren’t and the relievers are good when the starters aren’t…………………………………..Well rounded. That would be the Wisconsin Badger athletic department. Their football team has been in 15 consecutive bowl games and their basketball team has been in the Big Dance 15 consecutive years…………………………………..I find it ironic that the colors red, white and blue stand for freedom UNTIL they are flashing behind me!

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