Friday, March 17, 2006


“We're really proud of what we've done, and we weren't going to let a bunch of people around the country who haven't seen us make us feel any different," Wichita State coach Mark Turgeon said of the conference. "We know what we have and it's pretty special." Time out. There is a new American Idol in Shocker City and for the moment the venerable and feisty Gene Stephenson has to take a back seat to the basketball coach whose team knocked off Seton Hall Thursday. Ironically it seems only yesterday when we sat in the palatial boosters lounge at WSU and listened to the Shocker baseball family complain that the diamond program was being asked to fund football and basketball. Today the guys in spikes have the stage to themselves when they make their first serious road trip to face the #21 to 27 Dirtbags (12-9) in just slightly warmer than Wichita weather.

With a 17-3 record all the Shock starters have great numbers and tonight the best record on the Beach Jared Hughes (4-0, 3.40) takes on Travis Banwart (4-1, 3.5.) The Niners are off to a struggling start at 12-9 but have played the baddest and the best. Local officials like to remember that “in 1998 LBSU opened 2-8-1 before reeling off 12-straight and the school’s last College World Series appearance, while in 1997, the team started off 8-11 before winning eight straight. That brings you up to now when this series continues with the Shoxs leading 15-13. WSU won the last meeting, but before that the Dirtbags had won nine in a row. This season other than splitting single games with Kansas State and Oklahoma WSU has had a Charmin schedule (squeezably soft) featuring Vulcans, Hatters, Colonels and the like. This season Shockers have a 2.75 ERA, hit a lusty .336 and opponents are batting .218. Two of the black and golds are hitting over .400, Josh Workman .413 and Damon Sublett, .405. Meanwhile the Beach is still searching for those weapons of mass destruction and as a team is hitting a modest .276 with a 3.44 team ERA. Evan Longoria leads with .382 but freshman Shane Peterson likes being in the lineup and the left-handed pitcher-slash-designated hitter-slash-leftfielder is batting .346 with a .615 slugging percentage in nine games this season. Masuda, Bradley, Cline and Cruz are the other Niners over .300.

GREEN DUST--The journey to the tourney is over. basketballs back into the cage, coaches back to the drawing boards and the searching for new threads on those computer chat rooms…So now Niner-ville can turn back to the outside fun and games and the LBSU version of “Guess who’s going to be athletic director”…this time President Alexander has the process on double super secret probation—any leaks and you go off campus…in men’s volleyball the brain trust has tweaked the lineup to feature the hitting of both Duncan Budinger (26 kills beating USC) and Robert Tarr (21 kills)…Niners have won three of their last four and have the v-ball elite--BYU, Ohio State and Rutgers coming for matches at 5:30 and 7:30 tonight and campus, NFL referee Charles Stewart told the LB Century Club of a run in with former Ram Coach Chuck Knox. “One time he kept hollering at me, “Are you blind, are you blind, are you blind?” Stewart finally turned to the coach and said, “Did I hear you say something to me?” at which time Knox didn’t miss a beat and replied, “Not only are you blind, I guess you are deaf too.”…and yes there was a former Cal State San Bernardino coach who moved to D 1 and quickly got his team to the Big Dance…that would be John Margaritis and his UC Riverside women's basketball team, who beat you know who…around the Big W this weekend, Fullerton @ Arizona, Oral Roberts @ UC Irvine, Loyola Marymount @ Northridge, Pacific @ California, TCU @ UC Santa Barbara, and UC Davis @ Portland…last night Irvine scored five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to snap a tie and beat Oral Roberts, 7-2…March sadness in Iowa…ex LB boss Wayne Morgan loses his job in the Iowa State boardroom and Iowa loses on the court to Northwestern State on an Aaron Nixon-like buzzer beater three in the corner…Wayne is taking the fall for an AD that approved that non-conference game scheduling arrangement…but the parting gift is nice, about $1.5 million—DR. DAN


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