Revisit the five best moments in Marshall’s career as a Shocker

Nick Beach

Wichita State men’s basketball head coach Gregg Marshall entered the record books Wednesday night, capturing win No. 221. In nine seasons, Marshall has accomplished numerous accolades that have put his name in the conversation of elite coaches nationwide.

Marshall is the only Division I coach who has posted 30 or more wins in each of the last three seasons. His 83 percent winning percentage over the last five years is the best in the nation.

After kick starting his upward movement with an NIT Championship in 2011, wins are not a problem for Marshall. He amassed a Final Four appearance in 2013, a Sweet 16 trip in 2015 and a record of 35-1 in 2014 that gave him National Coach of the Year recognition.

Let’s revisit the greatest victories of his tenure:  

5. Shockers defeat Alabama in NIT Championship, 2011

Marshall’s team vaulted to victory center stage in Madison Square Garden. The Shockers eclipsed a win over the Crimson Tide of Alabama with a rising defensive formula. The NIT Championship garnered Marshall and the Shockers enough recognition to enter into the national conversation. WSU defeated top-seeded Alabama, 66-57.

4. Shockers defeat Gonzaga in Round of 32, 2013

Wichita State defeated No. 1-seeded Gonzaga for Marshall’s first Sweet 16 appearance. Gonzaga entered the tournament ranked the No. 1 team in the country for a portion of 2013; Gonzaga was named the favorite in what many critics called an easy region. Marshall saw this as a movement to get the ball rolling for his diverse squad of young guns and veteran leaders. Cleanthony Early and Ron Baker scored 16 points apiece. Marshall’s team hit five-straight three-pointers late in the second half. Wichita State won 76-70.

3. Shockers defeat UNI in Wichita, 2015

Wichita State hosted ESPN’s College GameDay for the first time, featuring a challenged competition with MVC Player of the Year, Northern Iowa’s Seth Tuttle. The MVC regular-season title was on the line. Marshall’s team squared off perhaps the most important game in Charles Koch Arena during his tenure and school history. Marshall set his team for the bright lights and capitalized. Baker scored 17 points and Fred VanVleet added 13 of his own as five Shockers eclipsed double-digit scoring. The Shockers halted its opponents 16-game winning-streak by defeating No. 10 Northern Iowa 74-60. Marshall claimed his second-consecutive MVC title.

2. Shockers defeat Ohio State in Elite Eight, 2013

Here’s where the story starts to shine on Marshall as college basketball’s next great up-and-coming product. Fans, pundits and critics held little faith in ninth-seeded Wichita State toppling the crafty, engineering hands of Aaron Craft and the Buckeyes. Many thought of the Shockers’ route to success as an easy one by defeating Gonzaga, Pittsburgh and La Salle in their straight-shot to the Final Four. Critics expected Ohio State to put a stop to the Shockers’ fun-run. A 20-point WSU second-half lead left the country buzzing with disbelief. Fred VanVleet added a late basket to halt a comeback and solidify his team’s victory. Wichita State made believers out of the entire country. The Shockers won 70-66. Marshall earned the school its first Final Four trip since 1965. It was this stardom that would crown WSU a perennial power.

1. Shockers defeat Kansas in NCAA Tournament, 2015

Selection Sunday poised the attention of analysts and sports fanatics across the country to center their focus on a potential contest between the Shockers and the Kansas Jayhawks in the round of 32. With victories for each in the round of 64, a battle of the two teams spread no more than 200 miles apart was finally scheduled for the most talked about game of the year. Kansas, the great victor and blue-blood of college basketball, entered with aspirations set to contend to the fast-growing victor in Marshall, the settlement being crowned the best team in the state.

If a Final Four appearance and 35-1 season hadn’t festered Marshall enough glory, this one would. Statement made. Wichita State shocked KU with lights-out shooting, earning a trip to the Sweet 16 in the sweetest way possible. The Shockers topped the second-seeded, in-state rival 78-65. It’s the satisfaction of halting an opponent who has always been given the spotlight. Marshall earned his share.

Contributing: Evan Pflugradt