Skip to content National Coach of the Year: Gregg Marshall, Wichita State

Mar 11, 2014, 12:28 PM EDT

source: Getty Images

Getty Images

The debate about whether or not Wichita State is “for real” or “legit”, whether they’re a National Title contender or even a realistic pick to make the Final Four is tired at this point.

They won’t play again until Selection Sunday. We will find out soon enough, and whatever ends up happening, it will be used as a referendum, a chance for people on either side of the debate to declare victory.

But at this point, that doesn’t even matter to me, especially not when determining National Coach of the Year. Gregg Marshall just did something that hasn’t been done in 23 years: lead his team into the NCAA tournament without a single loss on their resume. That’s incredible.

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Let’s get beyond the x’s-and-o’s for a second. Let’s move past the fact that his teams run terrific sets offensively and are a pair in the you-know-what to try to score on defensively. That’s all terrific, but the real measure of the job that Marshall has done coaching the Shockers this season is that this team never slipped up, never over-looked an opponent and has yet to buckle under the pressure of chasing history.

Think about it like this: Syracuse lost to Boston College at home. Duke lost at Wake Forest. Kansas lost at TCU last season. Good teams lose games to bad teams all this time. They overlook opponents. They get too cocky. They choke under pressure.

That’s never happened with this Wichita State team.

And while much of that has to do with the fact that A) they have the confidence of a team coming off of a Final Four run and B) their back court of Ron Baker and Fred Van Vleet never appear to get rattled, but it would be foolish not to factor the leadership of Marshall into that equation.

So while Steve Fisher, Jay Wright, Larry Brown, John Beilein, Bill Self, Greg McDermott and Tony Bennett all deserve praise — and a raise — for the jobs they did this year, Marshall is the easy pick for National Coach of the Year.

  1. goodknave - Mar 11, 2014 at 12:42 PM

    I was rooting for Wichita St. until I read that Marshall’s hero is one of the Koch brothers.

    Now I hope they lose by 50 in the first round.

    • shockertalk - Mar 11, 2014 at 6:22 PM

      You let your hate overcome your desire to love. Too bad.

      Marshall does not give hero worship to the Koch brothers for their business or political actions (which you understandably dislike).

      Marshall appreciates that the Koch brothers don’t stuff their money under the mattress and will share it with a humble university such as WSU.

  2. shockertalk - Mar 11, 2014 at 6:38 PM

    This article highlights the “Boston College factor”. That is, as you have seen, ratings of a team’s resume include Good Wins and BAD LOSSES.

    Lets accept for a moment that, especially for a Top 10 team, a Bad Loss would include ANY LOSS to an UNRANKED TEAM.

    Well, the ONLY Div. 1 teams without a Bad Loss this year are Florida and Wichita State.
    Yes, that includes everyone else, including Arizona, Villanova, Michigan, Syracuse, Kansas, etc, etc.

    Another point: The Shockers almost got tagged with that “one game”. A midseason matchup with Missouri State, where the Bears were “shooting the lights out” into the second half, had them up over WSU by 19 points with 11:58 remaining.

    This is the 20-12 MSU (11-3 nonconference) that was third in the MVC and beat the only SEC opponent they met in nonconference play.

    The Shockers tied the score with 8 seconds remaining and won in overtime. Gregg Marshall obviously had something to do with not only the come-back strategy, but, moreover, the teaching of the team to have poise and focus in a bad spot.

    Gregg Marshall deserves the award for another thing. Teaching his student athletes to handle the media pressure, and the pressure of being undefeated. Sportscasters are starting to notice how the team is strangely immune to the hype. THAT is teaching boys to be men, and why Marshall win the award this year.

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