For What It's Worth: February 14th

(WICHITA, Kan.)

For What it’s Worth---on this February 14 -- Valentine’s Day observation from my ten-year-old daughter thumbing through the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition; “the swimsuits are all too small”.

There have been glimpses…

…but last night furnished the first extended view of what you have to look forward to for the next three years with Fred Van Vleet. His 17 points, 9 assists and 35 minutes were all career highs. He also threw in 5 rebounds, a blocked shot and 2 steals for good measure. I love this young man’s ability to change speeds, he plays slow to fast as well as any Shocker in recent history. He has great hands, which help him trap and ‘dig’ on the defensive end and he’ll continue to improve on keeping opposing guards in front of him. He’s going to be a star in the Valley.

When shots aren’t falling---

What do you do to help your team? Cleanthony Early was 3-11 from the floor against Drake, but he had 5 boards, 4 blocks and 3 steals. That’s not to mention the general havoc he created defecting passes, or poking the ball loose. He was really active on a night when some scorers could have been sulking.

Deck the Hall---

With 14 against Drake, Carl Hall passed 500 points for his two year career at Wichita State. His 10 rebounds gave him his sixth double-double of the season, his second since returning from that broken thumb.

Is Creighton wilting?

The Jays lost at Northern Iowa which, in itself, there’s no shame in. But Creighton has now lost three straight and five of their last eight games, to fall a game out of the conference lead with only four to play. CU is fortunate that Wichita State blew a 17 point lead at Southern Illinois and figured out a way to lose; otherwise they’d be down two with four to go.

Handicapping the stretch run---

Wichita State leads by a game over Creighton and Indiana State. The Shockers have the toughest stretch of the three contenders. WSU hosts Evansville and travels to Illinois State, Indiana State and Creighton. Go 3-1 in that stretch and the Shockers can do no worse that tie for their second straight Valley title. Creighton goes to Evansville next and then has a trip to Bradley. They host SIU and the Shockers, so their degree of difficulty isn’t as high as WSU, but they’re starting with a deficit. Indiana State may have the easiest go it, the Sycamores travel to Bradley on Saturday and close out the regular season at Evansville. In between they host Wichita State and Drake. For Wichita State to repeat they’re going to have to be the team that started the season 6-1 away from home, instead of the one that’s 1-3 in their last 4 trips.

Fred Van Vleet's future as a Shocker
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