By Ken Cross
Wichita State has arrived on the AAC basketball scene in full force. The Shockers come into their first AAC media day on Monday, picked second by the coaches behind Cincinnati, but most publications have the Shockers listed as the team to beat plus a top 10 squad.
As Greg Marshall brings his 13 NCAA appearances plus a Final Four date, the Shockers add depth and tremendous RPI capability into a league that has a number of talented teams already.
“When you add a program that has been nationally prominent for a number of years, how can that not help all of us?” said SMU coach Tim Jankovich, who led the Mustangs to both the AAC regular season and tournament title last season.
Jankovich, though, has a leg up on the league’s other coaches in familiarity as he saw Wichita State for five years as the head coach at Illinois State. He has studied the Shockers and knows their offense, so the matchup with SMU could take on a life of it’s own.
“We played them the five years I was at Illinois State and I know Greg really well,” said Jankovich, “One thing that the guys here may know and be impressed – they have a really tough home court. They have a lot of pride in their home court there and it was always one of the most fun places we played.”
🖤 Great atmosphere at our place
💛 Passionate fans who travel
— Go Shockers (@GoShockers) October 16, 2017
The Shockers had been in the Missouri Valley Conference for 72 years and in today’s sports landscape, a business decision has to be made when an opportunity beckons. Creighton left for the Big East in 2013-14 and has upgraded that league plus the program and now the marriage between Wichita State and the AAC should do the same for both parties.
“You look at the success they have had during the regular season and the success in the post season, you can put Wichita State, who is now in our conference, up against anybody in the nation.”