Hide ya kids, hide ya wife: WuShock is going to the Final Four. I’m talking about the Wichita State Shockers’ mascot. Created in 1904 when Wichita was known as Fairmount College, a student came up with Wheatshockers as the football mascot. Not only were the football games played on a wheat field, but many of the Fairmount players paid for college by harvesting (“shocking”) wheat. (I’m sure you already knew all of this.) Wheatshockers was shortened to Shockers and the mascot itself was named WuShock in 1948.
“The school needed a mascot who gave a tough impression, with a serious, no-nonsense scowl,” according to the school’s website. There is nothing about haunting childrens’ dreams. WuShock was redesigned in 1998, which gave it a “pumped-up physique and revved-up attitude.” Oh, great, a stronger, more aggressive killing machine. In 2006, “Wu” got a facelift, which reduced the weight of its head from 12 pounds to about five, making it lighter and faster as well. How the Nebraska Cornhuskers mascot can be so friendly-looking and Wichita’s be so terrifying is beyond me.
Continue reading Final Four Preview: WuShock, Beilein vs Boeheim, More
In theory, winning the second game should be easier for a 15 seed than winning the first. You just beat a 2 seed, a team with national championship aspirations, and face a 7 or 10 seed in the next game. Then why, until Florida Gulf Coast won on Sunday, had a 15 seed never done it?
Robert Jones, the associate head coach at Norfolk State, has a theory. You may recall Norfolk as the 15 seed that pulled off the biggest upset in NCAA Tournament history last year when they beat 2 seed Missouri. Two days later, Norfolk played Florida, a 7 seed, and lost 84-50.
In the 48 hours between the two games, the Norfolk basketball program was bombarded with media requests. Star player Kyle O’Quinn did close to 100 interviews, according to Jones, including singing “One Shining Moment” for the CBS studio crew. At the team breakfast the morning after the Missouri game, half the players were missing because of media obligations. Jones has talked with head coach Anthony Evans about doing things differently should Norfolk return to the Big Dance.
Continue reading FGCU Survives the Media Blitz
Given what Florida Gulf Coast has done, a list of 16 notable items heading into the Sweet 16 wouldn’t leave much room for other schools. That’s why I dedicated an entire article to the Eagles, which will post tomorrow. Even so, I couldn’t help but include a few FGCU items in this story.
1. Dunk City
Here is every dunk Florida Gulf Coast has had so far in the NCAA Tournament [Update: The video has been removed, but I’m sure you can find a similar video.]:
While the dunks are great, so are Kevin Harlan’s calls. Here’s a sampling:
“Ohhh, Fieler, up high and down hard!”
“Ohhh, Murray cracks the sledgehammer!”
Continue reading NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Preview