Gregg Marshall, Shockers prepare for Arch Madness

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Coach Gregg Marshall directs the team during the WSU-Oklahoma Baptist game on Saturday night at Koch Arena. The Shockers won 73-29.

Sports Editor

Finishing the regular season with a perfect record is an accomplishment within itself.

The Wichita State Shocker men’s basketball team has set records and finished with one of the highest notes of the 2013-14 season.

“I just credit my staff and our players for being willing to play as a team, accept their roles on the team for the betterment of the team,” head coach Gregg Marshall said. “That’s what we’ve got, some really talented guys that are team-first and allow us to coach them on both ends.”

Many discredit the Shockers due to their lack of conference strength and tough competition.

“The way you go 31-0 is you have a healthy respect for your opponent and you know that if you don’t play well against them, you can lose,” Marshall said.

“Because every team you play has a coach that is paid to win, and players, hopefully 13 full-scholarship guys that want to win when that ball is tossed. So you understand that and this team has done a great job of understanding that.”

St. Joseph University was the last team to go undefeated in regular season play. The team entered their conference tournament with a No. 1 bid at the end of the 2004 season.

Benefiting from their position, the team skipped the opening round of the tournament, but lost in the quarterfinals.

In fear of a potential loss, Marshall plans to prepare his team ahead of time for what is to come and what is at stake.

“They really will have to play well,” Marshall said. “I probably will mention it to them. I don’t hide anything from them. I’m very upfront and honest with them.”

Following in St. Joseph’s footsteps, the Shockers have the benefit of sitting out the opening round of 2014 Arch Madness and will join the action on Friday as they play against the winner of the matchup between Drake and Evansville.

“Even though we have a perfect record, we are far from perfect as a basketball team,” Marshall said. “The record is perfect, but the basketball has not been and we will continue to strive to get better.”

Despite knocking out every opponent they have come to face, including conference opponents, the Shockers have gained credit throughout the Missouri Valley Conference.

“What separates them from most teams, in my opinion, is that they are not going to out-talent you,” Drake head coach Ray Giacoletti said. “They have tremendous pride, possession-by-possession, getting stops and the same piece with the rebounding.”

Noticing a difference in the team’s talent has been one that has the capability to make fans’ and spectators’ heads turn.

“Wichita is very different,” Giacoletti said. “They can outscore you. I think offensively, they don’t panic and they really understand how to share the basketball. So this is a complete team.”