Archive for Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Wichita State gives Kansans somebody to cheer for

March 21, 2006


In a blue and red Kansas University ballcap and a matching vinyl jacket Monday, Scott Watson wore the gear of the team he loves.

And for the rest of this March Madness season, he has one message: Go Shockers.

"I'm more interested that they're a Kansas school," Watson said of the Sweet 16-bound Wichita State Shockers basketball team. "To do what they've done in the tournament, they're impressive."

By way of Kansas blood or simply the need for a team to root for, some KU fans have turned to the school two hours away - coached by Mark Turgeon, a former KU player and Topeka native - for a sparkle of hope during the NCAA Tournament.

The Jayhawks, of course, were bounced out of the 65-team field Friday by WSU conference-mate Bradley University. Wichita State - often snubbed as a lower-tier opponent by KU fans - is still alive and well after winning its first two games.

On Monday at Louise's Downtown, 1009 Mass., Chris Sudermann shot pool with a couple friends - all three wearing KU hats or sweatshirts. But he's into the Shockers, and why not? One Kansas school is better than nothing.

"It's good to see them win," Sudermann said between shots. "The Final Four would be great."

Around here, the Shockers' bandwagon has filled fast since KU fell.

Which begs the question: With the Shockers doubling KU's tournament win total the last two years, wouldn't an in-state rivalry game make some sense?

After all, the Shockers' Missouri Valley Conference has been the talk of this year's NCAA field, with Bradley's surprise victories against KU and Pittsburgh and the Shockers' promising and probable drive to at least the Elite Eight.

So why not?

Legislation that would have required KU's men's basketball team to play Wichita State was filed in 2004 at the Statehouse, but it went nowhere after KU objected.

KU said it would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost ticket and television revenue, a claim that the sponsor of the legislation, former state Rep. Todd Novascone, R-Wichita, said was a joke.

Novascone said the game would have been a revenue-driver because of the devoted fan bases within the state.

The two teams have not played since the 1992-93 season. They have met 14 times, with Kansas winning 12.

Root for WSU?

Five reasons to follow the Wichita State Shockers in the NCAA Tournament: 5. The Shockers haven't been in the tournament since 1988 - the same year KU won the national championship. An eerie coincidence! 4. The Shockers beat the Bradley Braves earlier this year. 3. Back in the day, the Jayhawks were a member of the Missouri Valley Conference. 2. Wichita State's head coach, Mark Turgeon, played for the Jayhawks in 1984-87. 1. They are from Kansas. Sunflower State pride!

Novascone's bill was essentially killed during a committee meeting in February 2004 as several members leaving said they had to hurry to get to the KU-Baylor game at Allen Fieldhouse.


But even if the two teams can't get a yearly ballgame going, at least one lawmaker thinks the Shockers' bandwagon should be packed with fans from Jayhawk country.

It probably won't become a state mandate, but Wichita Democrat Rep. Tom Sawyer said KU fans owe the Shockers one.

"There's a lot of KU support in Wichita," Sawyer said. "Every 25 years you guys get to root for us."

Not everyone here thinks so. Sure, the Shockers are in-state homeboys, but without the Jayhawks around to root for, nothing quite stacks up.

Mike Cuper is a manager at Buffalo Wild Wings, 1012 Mass., and all season long Wichita State fans have trickled into the restaurant to catch the team's games.

But since the tournament began, Cuper said, fans haven't exactly been turning up in droves to catch the midmajor bandwagon.

"I haven't noticed much," Cuper said of increased Shockers support in Lawrence. "A lot of the KU fans are on spring break. Or they've boycotted the tournament."

Staff writer Scott Rothschild contributed to this story.


OldEnuf2BYurDad 12 years, 3 months ago

I grew up in Wichita and was there for the WSU over KU victory during the Smithson years (MTXE!). The "Shox" are due for this. Hats off to "Turgeon-the-surgeon" for his continued contribution to "Kansas" basketball.

Our guys need to be watching them play on Friday. This is the opposite of choking in the big game, Jayhawks. Take notes, fellas.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 12 years, 3 months ago

OK, I'm sorry for saying that our guys "choked". I'm just a little frustrated.

Goooooooo SHOX!

LawrenceKSisgreat 12 years, 3 months ago

Hey Dad

No need to appologize. What makes games good is when anyone team can win or loose any day. What a booring event it would be if we knew the Hawks would win everytime we watch.

Shardwurm 12 years, 3 months ago

Only one team in the field finishes with a win.

Linda Endicott 12 years, 3 months ago

I've been rooting for Wichita St. since the beginning of the tournament. I always cheer for Ks teams. Hey, I even cheer for K-State, as long as they're not playing KU!

And Wichita managed to do something that even turncoat Roy and his N.C. boys couldn't two tourney games this year...ha.

xenophonschild 12 years, 3 months ago

It is a foul thing for anyone associated with KU to cheer for K-State, ever. K-State is a vile place, an agricultural college, a place where one must scrape the cow dung from his boots before entering any civilized abode.

During my undergrad years on the Hill, all the sharp guys and beautiful women went to KU. All the not-so-bright guys - the ones who were going to inherit the family farm someday - and the squat, dumpy girls, whose family sent them to college to find a husband (farmer), all went to K-Sate. Despite all evidence or argument to the contrary, that pretty well sums up the respective student bodies today. We are Snob Hill; they are Silo Tech. So be it.

I refuse to cheer for K-State, no matter what. When they played in bowl games while that Snyder person coached their football team, I always (fervently) cheered for the other team to win. I don't care if the dastardly purple fiends are playing tiddleywinks, I'll cheer for the other team.

There are two teams I will always support: the mighty, beloved Jayhawks, and whoever is playing against K-State. Ainsi-soit-il.

WSUShokker 12 years, 3 months ago

well X child ...good thing ..while you nose was blocking your view and it appears your attention span is short...the article was about WSU and your KU fans ...not KSU...but alas you do nothing but try to wonder Quantril walked through that town like crap thru a goose...No men....(if I understand you correctly to take care of business) just fancy lads...I was raised on KU grandmother adored the university from her home in Baldwin City and through the Allen family who were life long friends ...many things she had were gifted to a museum currator there in town....and she would be appalled at the attitudes that persist...and as she used to kid me...dont be a chickenhawk a Jayhawk...

xenophonschild 12 years, 3 months ago

No offense, but Wichita St. is like a little brother to most KU fans; a little brother you have to wipe his nose and make him hitch up his pants before he comes into the house.

I guess it's okay if they do well in the tournament. And, while you make a somewhat tepid argument that you are a KU fan, basically, what you're trying to say is that we should rise above partisan feelings about our schools? Oh no, amigo! K-State is a vile place, period. And, truthfully, Wichita State has always struck me as a mediocre school also. I had to live for several years in the surrounding countryside, and loathed every minute of it. About the only decent place to live in our fair state is the north-east, and Douglas County in particular. Only one school is worth a damn, and I'll let you imagine who that is.

tpatric 12 years, 3 months ago

Xenophon was sometimes known as the "Attic Muse" for the sweetness of his diction. Apparently, not an inheritable trait.

Celeste Plitz 12 years, 3 months ago

I'm disappointed the Jayhawks lost-but I'm thrilled a Kansas team is still in the running. I've been a Mark Turgeon fan since he was a player for the Jayhawks, and I'm glad his team is playing so well. Go Wichita State!

As an aside, my best friend and her husband went to K-State, and one of the best bosses I ever had also went there. I never held it against them. ;-)

OldEnuf2BYurDad 12 years, 3 months ago

Hey, my bald-headed boss is a Mildcat, and I tell him to his face what I think about that (the part about KSU, not the part about his baldness). He's a good boss, but I still tell him KSU bites. The way that their sports programs are looking these days... he just agrees with me.

There's nothing wrong with blasting KSU. It's the natural order of things. What do you think they are saying about us? Things we can't post here, I'll tell you that much.

But, yes, this is about WSU, not our KSU/KU issues. I predict that WSU slams GM, badly, but loses to U-Conn, badly (big surprise).

WSUShokker 12 years, 3 months ago

you should see our its really awesome ...we absolutely war with all the teams in the valley much like the big 12 during the regular season...but now in the post season you got people from all the valley schools cheering and wishing each other well we fight the battles that a mid major conference teams must do...even us going to Missouri State(I personally dont my grandmother would spit at me from her grave...see reference to Quantrils Raiders) and Creighton forums and wishing them well in their games in the NIT....Why? cause we love to see Bill Packer and Jim Nance squirm..they even removed them from our regional broadcast in Washington and sent them to the Minnesotta region...

We had a game this year that we lost to George Mason...and much debate followed but when the dance started and we were in and they were in ...we all cheered each other on....and this week is awesome with fans from both sides...asking each other to meet up in our nations capitol before the game for a thats mid major Karma....

But when next season starts and the regular season rolls around the gloves come off ...its a War......I hope you all enjoy the rest of the tournament as much as we will ...we are all Kansans and Basketball is special somehow in the this state and we welcome all Kansas Basketball fans to Cheer us on ...however far we may go...

WSUShokker 12 years, 3 months ago

Big Suprise....well you probably said the same thing on your Bracket by the KU vs Bradley game...and you know what I was pretty positive of that as well...But alas thats why we play the games...thats why they call it fishing and not catching ....

freebird 12 years, 3 months ago

Xenophon...I sure hope you aren't eating these days because I'm willing to bet someone from "Silo Tech" helped process or make your food. Unless of course you have lowered yourself to farmer status and raise your own food. Sorry city boy but without those Agriculture majors you wouldn't have your Wonderbread. I know at least three KSU grad who are working for major food processing companies. Don't use flour, don't eat any meat, in fact most of your veggies are off limits too. So maybe you should be thanking those Ag majors so you can eat and drink. Way to be as stuck up as most people think Jayhawks are.

Linda Endicott 12 years, 3 months ago

Well, I guess I'll get in more trouble here, then, by saying that I'm also cheering for Texas right now. Yeah, they beat us in the regular season, we evened the score in the Big 12 tourney, but I'm also a Big 12 fan, and I will cheer for any Big 12 teams in the tourney.

I know there's a big rivalry between KU and KSU, but it doesn't bother me much in post season. I do, however, have trouble cheering for Mizzou's just their attitude, I guess.

I can't stand Duke, either. Go figure. I'd rather see anyone win the tourney than Duke.

Regardless, Wichita St. is still going strong, and I'm gonna be cheering for them as long as they are!

I think Mark Turgeon was on the 1988 KU team, wasn't he?

WSUShokker 12 years, 3 months ago

he was there as an assistant coach...i believe he was on one or two final four teams

KoolMoeB 12 years, 3 months ago

Ha-ha. Wichita State has the best basketball team in Kansas. Naismith and Phoggy are rolling over in their graves.

WSUShokker 12 years, 3 months ago get a clue..its been 20 years i understand...have a little class...just a little

Commenting has been disabled for this item.