Wichita State v Ohio State

Tough Shockers ground Ohio State to advance to Final Four

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In his inspirational, televised pregame speeches, Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall has repeatedly told his team to “play angry”. The  No. 9 Shockers did just that in the Elite Eight, showing innate toughness and a refusal to back down in a 70-66 upset of No. 2 seed Ohio State.

Wichita State’s physical play and ability to absorb punishment from a bigger team had fans on social media buzzing.


Carl Hall (eight points, six blocked shots) got decked by this painful-looking DeShaun Thomas elbow to the jaw early on [click the image to put it in motion], but didn’t miss a minute of play as a result.

Cleanthony Early went down with what board-certified arthroscopic surgeon* Reggie Miller speculatively diagnosed as an “achilles tear” but returned to the floor to finish out a 12 point, seven rebound, two block game.

The game looked like a laugher in Wichita State’s favor for roughly 30 minutes, until Ohio State mounted a furious comeback in the latter stages of the second half. WSU’s miscues and lack of poise during that stretch prompted fan comparisons to Kansas’ Sweet Sixteen flameout to Michigan from the day before. In the end, however, the Shocker backcourt weathered Big Ten pressure and closed out the victory by drawing fouls and getting to the line. Point guard Malcolm Armstead, an Oregon transfer, had an excellent game, scoring 14 points to go with seven boards, three assists and three steals.

Gregg Marshall’s coaching stock has just begun to heat up. This Final Four for the Shockers marks the first time a Missouri Valley program has gone to the last weekend since Larry Bird and the 1979 Indiana State Sycamores. Expect to see plenty of people in black and gold trying to figure out which Peachtree they need to turn right on in Atlanta this time next week.

*Reggie Miller is an announcer and former NBA player with no known medical training. Something he may want to bear in mind in the future.

Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.

POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
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Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
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Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.