It’s official: Wichita State will not be taking part in the Tip-Off Showcase in Dallas on November 8th, the first day of games this season.
The event was originally supposed to be a quadruple-header at the American Airlines Center, a way to tie the start of the year to the city where the season will come to a close; the Final Four will be played at Cowboys Stadium this year.
But Texas and LSU dropped out, leaving us with a triple-header that features a couple of pretty good matchups — Baylor-Colorado and Oklahoma-Alabama will do well to whet the college hoops appetite — with a local battle between SMU and TCU crammed in as well.
Wichita State was one of the teams that was targeted to replace Texas and LSU, which would have been fantastic for everyone involved. The Shockers are coming off of a run to the 2013 Final Four, they have a passionate following and are one of the strongest mid-major programs in the country, entering this season as a top 25 team. As Matt Norlander wrote here, finding a big name to square them off against would have been an ideal way to kick off the college hoops season.
Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. From Nordy:
There was a scramble to get Wichita State into the event for a quadruple-header, but those plans fell through. Sources told CBSSports.com that LSU, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State passed. Had Florida State landed Andrew Wiggins, the No. 1 recruit in the class of 2013 (now at Kansas), there were tentative plans to get them into the event.
Sources also said Texas was initially involved in the Tip-Off Showcase but pulled out in the spring, causing organizers to hustle for a makeup game that eventually never came to fruition. Getting local teams to the arena was a primary initiative (thus why Oklahoma, TCU, SMU and Baylor are in play), and Wichita State qualified, but a worthy draw of opponent wouldn’t step in.
This is what happens when mid-majors get good.
No one wants to play them. That’s why the Shockers will be forced to kick off their season against something called Emporia State.
Gregg Marshall better get used to this is he plans to keep on winning games in March.