High major look
The fact that UA assistant coach Mark Phelps faced Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall 10 times when he was Drake’s head coach may give the Wildcats a scouting advantage Thursday.
But it also serves as a reminder that the Shockers are not easy to beat.
Phelps was 3-7 at Drake against Wichita State, saying he found Marshall’s well-defined system much the same now as it was during his final season at Drake in 2012-13 – the season the Shockers reached the Final Four with VanVleet and Baker (Wessel was hurt late that season).
Since then, Wichita State has continued to assert itself as an elite college basketball team, earning a No. 1 seed in 2013-14 (but losing in the round of 32) and making the Sweet 16 last season.
“Anyone you would talk to at a high-major level would completely dismiss any notions that they’re a quote-unquote mid-major program,” Phelps said. “There’s nothing about them that’s mid-major – their size, their physicality, their poise, their experience and their success. They just happen to play in the Missouri Valley Conference.”