Caulton Tudor

Deacs could look to Wichita State's Marshall

Posted February 14

With upcoming road games at Duke, Maryland, Virginia and Florida State, Syracuse is a long shot to get out of the regular season undefeated.

Wichita State, 26-0, is not. 

In fact, it would be stunning if Gregg Marshall’s Shockers did lose during five remaining Missouri Valley games against Evansville (11-15), Loyola (9-16), Drake (12-13), Bradley (11-5) and Missouri State (17-8) in the March 1 finale at Wichita.

For that matter it would be just as stunning if the Shockers took a loss in the March 6-9 MVC tournament in St. Louis.

It’s a perfect storm mix for an undefeated regular-season run.

Marshall’s team, which reached the Final Four and lost 72-68 to eventual champ Louisville last season, is a big, mean fish in a small, shallow conference pool. Indiana State (19-6) is the only other MVC team in position to even hope for an NCAA bid as of now. 

But wait. The road gets even rosier for the Shockers. If they win out for a 34-0 record entering NCAA play, they’d likely land the No. 1 seed in the Midwest and open play in the same St. Louis Scottrade Center that hosts their conference tourney. 

Syracuse, 24-0 entering Saturday’s ACC home game against N.C. State (16-8), probably will be the underdog on Feb. 22 at Duke (19-5) and possibly at Virginia (20-5) on March 1. The March 9 regular-season ender at Florida State (14-10) will certainly be physical and could be testy.

Marshall a proven program builder

Wake Forest (14-10, 4-7 ACC) will host the Seminoles Saturday and although the Deacons should get another win, the rest of the schedule doesn’t look very favorable for Jeff Bzdelik in his fourth season.

Remaining are league road games at Maryland, UNC and Miami, plus a date with Duke in Winston-Salem on March 5.

Bzdelik (48-70 overall at Wake and 15-46 ACC) has been more popular with athletic director Ron Wellman than fans, and there has to be at least a chance of a coaching change unless the Deacons put on a furious late-season charge. 

If it comes to that, the 50-year-old Marshall would have to be on Wellman’s short list of targets.

N.C. Central’s LeVelle Moton should be on that list, too. Others who should get a look are Harvard’s Tommy Amaker, Xavier’s Chris Mack, George Washington’s Mike Lonergan and perhaps 60-year-old Rick Byrd of Belmont.

But Marshall, a South Carolina native and longtime Roanoke, Va., resident, has been one of the most obvious overachievers in the business for years. 

In nine seasons at Winthrop (S.C.), his teams went 194-83, reached the NCAA seven times and regularly scared or whipped bigger programs. 

In six seasons with at Wichita State, Marshall is 165-70 and that includes an 11-20 record in his first season. 

As the 9th West seed last season, the Shockers knocked out Pitt, Gonzaga, La Salle and No. 2 seed Ohio State en route to the Atlanta Final Four. 

Marshall’s not flamboyant and may not win the press conference, but he’s a gifted program builder and top-rate tactician. Wake would be blessed to bag him.

11 Comments

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  • Gunnstigator Feb 15, 7:10 a.m.

    Tudor's list of possible replacements for Coach Bzdelik are all good, the trick will be getting them to coach at Wake. There was a time when Wellman was a well respected AD, but it looks like that time has passed with the hire of Bzdelik.

  • cooldela1966 Feb 15, 6:10 a.m.

    As a proud Demon Deacon I cannot see how Bzkelik has lasted this long. His supporter would not fill up a booth at the IHOP. It is time to move on as Wake has had some fine coaches who produced results. We need to try something different for a while. Replace Wellman and Bzdelik at the same time with a 2 for 1 special.

    Just do it!

  • vt94hokies Feb 14, 6:31 p.m.

    All anyone has do is research the connection with Wellman and Bzdelik. They have been great friends for many years. Back in the days of their early careers. Check it out.

    Wellman and Jeff had huge signs in front of the Joel Arena calling for BOTH to be fired last season. Ol Jeff is still better than VT's coach.

  • vt94hokies Feb 14, 5:53 p.m.

    The first thing Wake Forest needs to do is get rid of their AD, who is responsible for Wake's... View More

    — Posted by cjw6105

    Makes more sense than most on here in this posting. James Johnson has never been a HC. Our retired AD has Parkinson's disease. I wish him the best of long life with his family and loved ones.

    Johnson left VT and was an assistant coach at Clemson for 2 weeks. Our AD didn't want to spend any money to hire a proven and solid coach. He called him back to be our HC. We can't attract hardly any in comparison to the top dogs. Erick Green, Malcolm Delany, and a few are far and in between. We all know that recruitment is the only deal. We have excellent facilities. We simply can't recruit since Seth was fired. Bottom line. Weakest team by far in the ACC.

  • 903 Hail Providence Feb 14, 4:55 p.m.

    I never understood why Wake got rid of Deano.

    — Posted by jmcdow2792

    I believe there was more to it than the public will ever know (meaning, some unacceptable stuff... View More

    — Posted by LuvsThePack

    He was recruiting kids that didn't fit the profile at Wake. Academic issues and generally bad for the Wake community type kids. There was an incident involving some players a female member of the band in his final NCAA tourney appearance and I think that was the final straw.

  • cjw6105 Feb 14, 3:27 p.m.

    The first thing Wake Forest needs to do is get rid of their AD, who is responsible for Wake's ongoing coaching disaster. Until that happens, no aspiring coach in his right mind would want the Deacon HC job.

    The ACC school that might be most attractive to Marshall is Virginia Tech, which has Sidney Lowe-level coaching right now. GT is a better place for basketball than VT, but Roanoke is near Blacksburg.

  • vt94hokies Feb 14, 2:49 p.m.

    Marshall is on the fast track. He will wait for one of the top of the line schools one day.

  • LuvsThePack Feb 14, 2:11 p.m.

    I never understood why Wake got rid of Deano.

    — Posted by jmcdow2792

    I believe there was more to it than the public will ever know (meaning, some unacceptable stuff going on behind the scenes). But I never heard exactly what it was.

  • jmcdow2792 Feb 14, 1:46 p.m.

    I never understood why Wake got rid of Deano.

  • trentatkins Feb 14, 1:33 p.m.

    Not going to happen. I like Wake and I have a lot of respect for their program but its not a destination job. Something with greater national prominence will open up and thats the one he will take.

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