A slight media battle has been brewing in the Sunflower State this week between Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall and Kansas coach Bill Self. Marshall fired to first shot this week while talking to Fox Sports:
"I'm not going to just be bought,I 'm not going to go to Allen Fieldhouse for a check....We'd like to play home-and-home...Ultimately, we've got to put ourselves in a position where playing (Kansas) or not playing them has no bearing on our success, and that's what we're doing.
It would be helpful, but still, we're putting ourselves in a position where it doesn't matter if they want to play or not. That's what we have to do. One day, when it behooves them, then maybe it'll happen."
Bill Self responded to Marshall's comment via the Kansas City Star:
"This isn't knocking Wichita State. But if it was best for our program, I would reach out to them about scheduling them. But it's not. I've heard a lot of talk about them wanting to play us so bad; Gregg Marshall's never contacted me about playing."
Self went on and sympathized with Wichita State via his time among the mid-major ranks:
"The one thing about being in coaching a long time and coaching at different schools and different levels is the fact that you understand that coaches schedule what's in the best interest of their program," Self said. "Nowhere does it say that they are obligated to schedule in the best interest of somebody else's program that wants to play them."
Self said he ran into similar issues while coaching at Tulsa in the late 1990s. He wanted to play Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Arkansas and other bigger programs in the region. "And they wouldn't play," Self said. "But I didn't blame them. And I didn't make a big deal of it."
I get and appreciate Bill Self's view on scheduling the Shockers, this game would be everything to lose and nothing to gain for the Jayhawks, but if you're going to sympathize about your time in a similar position then why not agree to a neutral game against the Shockers? Shouldn't Self's team that has every advantage over the Shockers simply take care of business on the court?
For years the University of Virginia would avoid playing the state's top mid-major teams and instead play guarantee games against inferior opponents. Tony Bennett then took over and the Cavaliers scheduled a home and home against VCU. I think both fan bases recognize it's a good move for both schools and it's not like VCU beating UVA this year hurt the Wahoos. Wichita State and Kansas run in two very different recruiting circles, so even if they did lose to Wichita State then how much damage could it cause the program.
Man up Coach Self...