WICHITA, Kansas – With the Shockers’ unprecedented run toward a national championship, there’s plenty of Shocker fever going around town.
“It’s like a tribal effect,” Molly Allen, a psychologist in Wichita, said. “We all feel like we’re one group of people behind this team. It’s a pleasant kind of feeling to feel like you’re connected to all these other people out there.”
“I think the city of Wichita is coming together as one,” Shocker fan David Dao said. “They see the successes of Wichita State as their own, and they can see that we’re all coming together as a city.”
The team’s success has the effect of making even the most casual of basketball fans hang of every dunk, crossover and jump shot.
“It’s just a good thing for Wichita all around,” James Littlejohn said. “It builds our economy and there’s lots of happy people here.”
Even transplants like Michael Brown, who recently moved to Wichita from Canada, are hopping on the bandwagon, as a way to leave a gloomy winter season behind.
“It’s been a bad winter, and this lifted us,” he said. “Everywhere you go, everybody is just fired up about the Shockers. And it’s great, you know? I mean, how many teams go 32-0?”
Fans and Allen say the team’s success helps put Wichita on the map.
“We tend to be looked upon as kind of like what the heck is that in the middle of the country, we don’t have any large cities here in Kansas, and it’s like, ‘Hey, we can play with the big boys,’” Allen said.
Wichita State will continue on its post-season goal Saturday at 1:35 p.m. against Missouri State in the semi-finals of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.