2017 NCAA Tournament: Did Wichita State just poke the bear with Kentucky trash talk?
INDIANAPOLIS — Remember when West Virginia’s Daxter Miles Jr. decided to light Kentucky’s fuse before an NCAA Tournament game in 2015?
“Salute to them getting up to 36-0,” Miles said of the Wildcats, who were chasing a perfect season, “but tomorrow they’re gonna be 36-1.”
It didn’t quite go that way. Kentucky, which probably didn’t need it that year, used that trash talk as motivation and absolutely obliterated the Mountaineers the next night. By 39 points.
The expression “don’t poke the bear” comes to mind. But Wichita State could not help itself Saturday, ahead of a second-round NCAA Tournament game with the second-seeded Wildcats. The Shockers, who fuel themselves with talk of disrespect, offered up some fresh material for Kentucky.
In fact, word was the Wildcats sent a staffer back to Bankers Life Fieldhouse long after interviews ended to round up clips of the good stuff for a diss reel to show the players ahead of Sunday’s showdown. What will be on that video? Here are five guesses:
“I am very tired of hearing about Kentucky this and Kentucky that. That’s why I can’t wait for this game tomorrow. If you hear the same thing a bunch of times, you’re going to get annoyed, right? Now that we get the chance to play them, now you guys will see how the outcome will be.” — forward Markis McDuffie
“Yeah, that’s going to get shut down tomorrow. A lot of teams don’t box out, and that’s what we do.” — forward Darral Willis Jr. on UK star Bam Adebayo’s 18 rebounds in Round 1
Wichita State's Darral Willis Jr. on Bam Adebayo's rebounding:
— KSTV (@KSTV_Sports) March 18, 2017
“They play on ESPN every game. They’re nothing special, nothing we can’t do. We’re not scared to play any team on this planet Earth. So we’re ready.” — Darral Willis Jr.
Wichita State forward Darral Willis Jr. said Kentucky is "nothing special" and the Shockers aren't afraid of anyone "on this planet." pic.twitter.com/oYkE9eqEXU
— Jonathan Dunn (@jdunnLEX18) March 18, 2017
“I was thinking about that today: To say you beat teams like Kansas, Arizona, Kentucky, Gonzaga —there’s so many of them, a lot of teams — adding that notch to your belt would be pretty cool.” — guard Zach Bush
“We have a three-headed monster at the five. So we’re going to keep those guys fresh. Bam, I’m sure he’s in great shape, but he’s going to need to be in great shape tomorrow.” — coach Gregg Marshall