The Wichita State Shockers beat the LaSalle Explorers the way they have toppled so many teams throughout the year. Not relying on a slew of three-pointers or transition basketball like many other mid-majors–the Shockers used a physical style of play resembling a local cage fight.
Gregg Marshall‘s group of tough-guys had 21 more rebounds than the Explorers. Not only did it help make the game seem out of reach for LaSalle, but it also showed the nation that Wichita State has a style of play that can be successful in the NCAA Tournament. Meaning, maybe they are far less a mid-major and more of a dominant force to be reckoned with.
It is no surprise, well at least now, that the Shockers can hang with the big boys. In fact, it should have never come as a surprise as Wichita State was 27th in the nation in rebounding (38.4 rebounds per game). Still, we wanted to doubt them because they didn’t play in a power-conference.
The Shockers have already dominated a team from the physical Big East, ran rough shot through the number one seed in their region and have now dispatched of a Cinderella. All that is left for them is a battle to the death in the Elite 8. While the Ohio State Buckeyes are nobody’s pushover, they too need to be wary of the physical nature of the Shockers.
If the NCAA Tournament was pro-wrestling, the Shockers would be The Warlord. Nothing about them is pretty or even that appealing. Instead, they come to each fight ready for battle and use their brute strength to take out their foes. Leading up to their battle with the Buckeyes, Wichita State has fought a slew of Marty Jannetty, Rick Martel and Sid Vicious like characters. Teams with some style and lacking the substance in the tournament to back up their reputations.
Now the Shockers have to step up against much better competition. Ohio State may just be The Barbarians of the tourney after all.
Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JosephNardone