The Rundown: What Gregg Marshall had to say before opening night against Omaha


Easton Thompson

Gregg Marshall speaks to the crowd during the Pep Rally on Friday, Oct. 25 at Braeburn Square.

College basketball is back.

This week, teams across the country will step onto the floor for their first game of the season, including Wichita State on Tuesday. On Monday, Head Coach Gregg Marshall took the podium to address the media ahead of WSU’s game against Omaha.

Here’s what you should know:

“It’s possible we made a mistake.”

Tuesday doesn’t just mark the start of the season for the Shockers — it’s also a homecoming game for former Goddard Eisenhower star Matt Pile, a post player for Omaha.

Last season, the senior started in 32 of the Mavericks’ games, averaging 11.2 points, 7.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists per contest.

Marshall admitted on Monday that WSU might have made a “mistake” by not recruiting the homegrown star harder.

“I don’t know how far down the road we were with Asbjørn (Midtgaard), and to be honest, I never got my staff as enthused about recruiting Matt (Pile) as I was,” Marshall said. “I’ve watched him now, and man, he’s a good player.

“It’s possible we made a mistake.”

Marshall also called Pile one of the main “keys” for Omaha in matching up with his team. He praised the big man for being a “ball getter” and for being great with his ball-handling abilities in the paint. 

“He’s (Pile) got our full, undivided attention tomorrow night,” Marshall said.

He went on to talk about how foul trouble may not be an issue tomorrow with his own posts, due to the possible return of sophomore Morris Udeze.

“Ups and downs”

Even with more experience than last season, Marshall acknowledged that this season could have its rough patches.

“I can’t lose sight of the fact that I am dealing with five freshmen and five sophomores,” Marshall said. “There’s going to be ups and downs.”

During the Shockers’ lone exhibition game, two of the three upperclassmen got the start — Midtgaard and Trey Wade. The team’s lone senior, Jaime Echenique, is out at least four weeks with a broken hand. Wade, a junior college transfer, is in his first season with the program.

As for playing time in the game against Northeastern State, Midtgaard played the same number of minutes as sophomore Isaiah Poor Bear-Chandler. Wade played 22 total.

Marshall wasn’t afraid to throw out lineups with all underclassmen last year, and his approach against the RiverHawks showed he’s willing to do the same thing this year.

“We don’t want it to happen again.”

Louisiana Tech caught the Shockers by surprise in last year’s season opener, taking down WSU on opening night for the first time in Marshall’s tenure. On Monday, Marshall made it clear that he doesn’t want to see that happen again.

He noted that his team doesn’t want to go through what they had to after that game a year ago. When asked if his team is excited to get back out there and start on a high note, he said he didn’t know, but was “assuming so.”

ESPN’s Basketball Power Index is giving Wichita State an 89.5 percent chance of besting the Mavericks Tuesday night, but Marshall knows anything can happen.

“I’m very nervous, but excited about this opener,” he said. “Coach Hanson, overall, just does a great job.”

Tuesday’s game at Charles Koch Arena is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. It will be broadcasted on ESPN3.