Saturday, April 6, 2013
Heartbreak set in quickly for Wichita State basketball fans who watched from Wichita as the Shockers lost 72-68 to Louisville in the Final Four Saturday evening.
However, those fans are casting a positive eye toward the future.
Black and gold still filled Fox and Hound several hours after the game -- and the Shockers' season -- ended. Sure, fans are disappointed the Shockers will not be in Monday's championship game, but this season surpassed expectations and fans said that is just one positive for Wichita State and its men's basketball program.
"We lost, but, hey, what a great ride," WSU fan Marilyn Boehning said.
As sad as it is for Wichita State fans to see the season end, any fans who say they expected a month ago that the Shockers would make a Final Four appearance are likely either lying or kidding themselves.
"It's unbelievable," Boehning said. "The city was so behind them; such a great group of young men."
Many in that great group of young men are coming back next season.
"They're all freshmen and sophomores, so the future looks pretty good, I think," Shocker fan Adam Goering said after the game.
Plus, playing on a stage as large as the Final Four can only help attract more talent.
"We made it into the Final Four, we got this national exposure, hopefully we'll get better recruits next year and it's something to build off of," Jacob Setzer, a recent Wichita State graduate, said.
That exposure certainly helps Wichita State, but it is also good for Wichita.
"It's wonderful for the city, it's wonderful for the school," Craig Boehning said. "It's just nice to be in the spotlight. Something really positive has been going on."
Another positive: The Shockers proved, as far as their fans are concerned, that they belonged on this stage.
"I don't think anyone else will take us for granted," Goering said. "'Cinderella team?' That's a bunch of baloney."
And, perhaps, this was just the beginning of something. Fans, remaining as upbeat as possible after the game, said they will not be surprised to see the Shockers in the 2014 Final Four.
Those fans also were not about to let a four-point loss in the Final Four to the tournament's top overall seed get them down.