When the top brass at Wichita State dismissed head coach Greg Marshall just prior to an unprecedented COVID season, most people had written the American Athletic Conference contenders off for the year. That narrative has been pushed aside, however, and we are seeing the Wichita State Shockers surging despite coaching turnover in the Midwest.
Wichita State Shockers Surging Despite Coaching Turnover
The coaching turnover started on November 17, 2020, when Wichita State announced the firing of head coach Greg Marshall. an internal investigation had discovered allegations of physical abuse from then-head coach Greg Marshall. With the firing being so close to the season starting, and a formal coaching search not having enough time to formally conduct a coaching search, the Shockers brass turned to Isaac Brown to keep the ship steady.
With a recruiting class ranked #73 in 2020, things seemed bleak, and the beginning of the season didn’t give the Shocker faithful any reason to think things would be different. With a beatdown against Mizzou and a heartbreaking last-second loss against Oklahoma State, the Shockers were finding themselves staring down their worst starting record in a long while.
Don’t Call it a Comeback
After a closer than a comfortable win against Oral Roberts and two tough losses to Power 5 teams, the Shockers had to get down to business to make a run, and make a run they did. Following up the tough loss to the Cowboys was a resilient win against Tulsa and a confidence-boosting win against Emporia State. Then the Shockers traveled to South Florida to play a team that will likely be playing in the Big Dance this March.
An overtime win on the road (that the Shockers tried their very best to lose) provided a much-needed spark, and Wichita State is currently sitting on a record of 8-3 in the heart of conference play. Their biggest win has come against SEC foe Ole Miss in Oxford, where the sophomore Tyson Etienne went off for 29 points on 8-15 shooting, with 5-10 from beyond the arc in 39 minutes of play. This has the Wichita State Shockers surging!
Where Do We Go From Here?
Despite the coaching turnover, the Shockers are truly living up to their name, and that is simply that they are shocking the AAC with their strong play. Guys like Tyson Etienne and Dexter Dennis are showing out under Coach Brown, and the freshman Ricky Council is also playing lights out. Morris Udeze has been a welcome sight on the boards, which has come in clutch in the games where they have needed the extra size.
After a rough start, the Wichita State Shockers seem poised for a run through the rest of their conference schedule, and if that is any indication of what they can do, I could see them making a run in the postseason. This would be a far cry from where they found themselves in November of this year, and if he’s lucky, Isaac Brown might have just coached his way into a full-time head coaching gig.
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