WICHITA, Kan. - When the Wichita State Shockers take the court for their Final Four match-up against the NCAA Tournament's only remaining No. 1 seed, Louisville, Saturday, two people cheering the loudest in Wichita are men who were part of the only other WSU team to reach the same level.Bob Powers and Dave Stallworth, who both live in Wichita, were members of the 1964-65 Wichita State basketball team -- a squad that later appeared in the Final Four. But, they're more interested in talking about this season's team.
"I honestly believe that they're capable of beating the next two teams that they have to play," Powers said in his downtown Wichita office. He said it is the way this team plays that gives Wichita State an edge.
"These coaches that we're coming up against are not used to seeing that kind of intensity at the tip-off," Powers said. "They're just not used to it."
The Shockers and the toughness that goes with their "Play Angry" motto may have surprised many people during their run through the NCAA Tournament, but they did not surprise everybody. "They've played tougher," Stallworth said. "They've played tough defensively. They didn't surprise me at all."
The NCAA was much different in 1965 and eligibility issues kept both Powers and Stallworth from playing in the Final Four. Stallworth's eligibility ran out at the end of the 1964 fall semester and Powers returned to the team the following season.
However, being part of one of the most successful teams in school history allows them to notice some parallels with WSU's current squad. "There were no attitudes and I think that's one of the things that helped us do what we did," Powers said. He sees many of the same traits in this year's Final Four team.
Stallworth said there's no magic game plan for getting the Shockers past Louisville Saturday and into Monday's championship game. "Just keep playing," he said. "That's all you can do is keep playing."