MARSHALL: April's fool—Waking up for the Final Four

3/31/2014

For the past 30 days, I've been fast asleep, or so said my doctor Monday.

For the past 30 days, I've been fast asleep, or so said my doctor Monday.

This must have been how Rip Van Winkle felt.

I've not watched any TV, nor gone on the Internet, nor read any newspapers to quickly catch up on the latest news and sports.

Last thing I remember is that Wichita State's Shockers were unbeaten and rolling along with the goal of making the Final Four and becoming the first unbeaten men's college basketball team since Indiana in 1976.

Yes, that's what I recall.

And those KU Jayhawks? They were marching toward their 10th straight Big 12 Conference title with a young, talented freshman class. The future was now. Andrew Wiggins would be leaving at the end of the season for the big $$$ of the NBA.

I can't wait to read about the Jayhawks and Shockers playing in the Final Four next weekend in Dallas. I'm praying they are on opposites sides of the bracket, setting up a potential game for the ages that would not only catch the fancy of fans across Kansas, but also nationwide. The big bad Jayhawks, and the upstart Shockers.

That would put them on a collision course to meet in the NCAA Championship game on Monday night at Cowboys Stadium, otherwise known as the Jerry Jones house.

The fans in the Sunflower State must be on top of the world.

Wichita State must have rolled right through their bracket, dispatching team after team after team.

Kansas, meanwhile, saw its freshman phenoms grow up and become one of the major forces of the 2014 season.

The Jayhawks must have romped their way through their bracket and shown why they were regarded as one of the premier teams in the country.

Ticket scalpers must be having a heydey in Kansas these days.

Even U.S. Congressman Tim Huelskamp must be interested in the Shockers and Jayhawks. Tickets anyone?

Everybody's talking about Kansas' one-and-dones, most likely Andrew Wiggins and perhaps Joel Embiid. Nobody is talking about Wichita State's one-and-dones because they don't have any. The Shockers have managed to put themselves into the elite of college basketball the old-fashioned way — recruit basketball players who have been rated just below the radar screen by the scouting bureaus. WSU keeps them in school for more than one year and develops them into mature, savvy basketball players who emphasize the word team when they hit the floor.

Kansas, on the other hand, is a little like Kentucky, North Carolina, Duke and Michigan, where the one-and-done is becoming more the norm and not the exception.

I can hardly wait for the brother-on-brother matchup of Andrew Wiggins vs. Nick Wiggins. And I've been dreaming about the Cleanthony Early vs. Joel Embiid battle inside.

Let's not forget Ron Baker, he of Scott City fame, going against Wayne Selden and the KU guards. Time for revenge.

Oh, and the coaching match-up?

The unflappable Bill Self will be matching wits with fiery Gregg Marshall, the WSU coach who has been dying for a battle with the Jayhawks.

Yes, we all clamored for this game. Now the time has come. We only need Kansas and Wichita State to win one more game each to set up that monumental tug-of-war between the Jayhawks and the Shockers. The Sunflower State will be blooming with basketball fever. National championship on the line.

Who will win? We'll have to wait and see.

What's that you say? The joke's on me?

April Fools'.

Sports Editor Brett Marshall can be emailed at bmarshall@gctelegram.com

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