Dear Chris Webber, aka “Why Is A Wichita State Match-up Of Such National Interest?”

Dear Chris Webber;

In today’s telecast you talked about KU and its fans being afraid of WSU, and said something along the lines of how KU should be willing to play anyone, anywhere. That’s cute and a statement clearly made for television entertainment, but obviously not quite correct. Although I make no claims to speak on behalf of all KU fans, I think I speak for a significant number of them when I say this: To state that I’m afraid of WSU implies that I think about WSU, at all, and I don’t.

Ron Baker, WSU Shooting Guard

Okay, okay – that’s not quite true. Obviously because I follow college basketball, I’m well aware of WSU’s recent success. And, quite honestly, I think it’s great. But I’m a bit perplexed by why you and many people at the national level seem to have such an issue with the simple fact that scheduling WSU isn’t necessarily in KU’s interests.

I predict this guy will run circles around WSU’s “bigs” and slice up their interior.

Look, it would be nice if WSU sustained their current level of accomplishment and it eventually makes sense to schedule an ongoing series. But at the moment, playing WSU doesn’t give us any exposure into a new market or help with any local recruiting efforts. If we play WSU and win, everyone says that we should have – we’re Kansas, after all. If we play WSU and lose, well, there’s a reason why everyone rushes the court after beating us – it’s a big deal. At an even more basic level, maybe Coach Self just doesn’t like Gregg Marshall and knows that scheduling WSU helps him, and Coach Self doesn’t want to help him. I don’t know.

Schools don’t always play each other. Ohio State hasn’t scheduled Dayton in quite a while, though they met in the NCAA Tournament last year. Washington and Gonzaga will play next year for the first time in about a decade. If I cared to do the research, I’m sure I could come up with many more. Depending on which side of the fence you’re on, you can either look at this as the big guys not giving the little guys a shot, or that your school is simply looking out for its best interests.

Will this year’s team join the ’52, ’88 and  ’08 team as NCAA Champs? Probably not. But I predict them advancing past WSU.

So, Chris, going back to your comment about KU being scared – scared isn’t quite the right word, though we don’t like losing to anyone. KU, like every big time program, has a list of losses in the NCAA Tournament that have left scars on our souls. Maybe we just have the same amount of disassociation that you have with the University of Michigan or the same interest level with WSU as you have with connecting with your former teammates.

Of course, if you’d like to provide some financial incentive for KU and WSU to play, perhaps you still have some of that illegal booster money you got from Ed Martin that can be used to sweeten the pot…

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