Getting to the Final Four as a program from a mid-major conference is great for just about everyone involved.
Coaches get raises to keep them around while administrators celebrate an increase in donations and applications. Players see their popularity skyrocket on campus while some even get some special attention from NBA scouts and the folks that pick the rosters for the summer skills camps. More tickets get sold, more games get put on TV, more recruits pick up the phone, more stock is put into the program as conferences realign.
It’s all great.
Until they have to put together a schedule.
Wichita State, fresh off of a trip to Atlanta for the 2013 Final Four, is trying to get a spot in the fourth game of the season-opening quadruple-header being held at Dallas’ American Airlines Center. The spot opened up when Texas backed out of a game against LSU. The last we heard, the two possibilities to replace Texas were Texas A&M and Oklahoma State.
The Shockers are trying to finagle their way into the event, but they are running into a pushback from potential opponents.
“There’s still an opportunity in Dallas,” senior associate athletic director Darron Boatright told Kansas.com. “They are really struggling to find someone willing to play us. We’re sitting and hoping somebody gets backed in a corner where they can’t do anything else. We’ll be there to help them.”
The Shockers would be a great addition to the event, which already includes Oklahoma vs. Alabama, Baylor vs. Colorado and TCU vs. SMU. They’re a top 25 team with more national appeal than anyone participating given their run to the Final Four last season and the fact that this is basketball, not football.
But if they can’t find an opponent willing to play them?
Ironically enough, Wichita State lined up to take part in the Tip-Off Marathon, and it was announced today that they would be playing Western Kentucky at midnight local time. The Shockers will also take part in the CBE Classic, which also includes Texas, BYU and DePaul.
The Shockers are getting invited to some of the biggest events, but as of now, they may not play a tournament team in any of them.