ATLANTA — The first time Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall noticed his team getting a little too full of itself, the Shockers had reeled off four straight late-January wins to crack the top 15 in the polls.
In the locker room before the Shockers hosted Indiana State on Jan. 29, Marshall brought his players together, urged them to refocus and and punctuated his speech by asking them, "Are you satisfied?" Wichita State players bellowed "no" in unison ... and then delivered a lackluster performance in a 13-point loss to the Sycamores.
"We took it for granted and we got popped the next game," guard Fred VanVleet said. "We're keeping that in mind now and trying not to get too high on our success."
The Wichita State staff has reintroduced that message during the postseason, this time with far more success. Marshall has asked his team that question in the locker room after all four of its NCAA tournament victories and after sloppy moments in practice – pretty much any time he sees a chance complacency might set in.
"Anytime he sees something he doesn't like, he'll pretty much say, "Are you satisfied?" senior guard Demetric Williams said. "'Are you going to start not caring just because you guys are happy to be here?' I think he's going to keep saying it until we hold the trophy up. As long as we have another game, we're going to keep saying that."
It would be understandable if a Wichita State team of castoffs and overlooked recruits was just happy to become the fifth team seeded ninth or higher to make a Final Four, but the ninth-seeded Shockers insist that's not the case.
Wichita State players insist they can believe they can topple Louisville because they've already upset two highly seeded teams in the NCAA tournament and because they showed they can handle full-court pressure in winning at VCU back in November. Redshirt freshman guard Ron Baker says he and his teammates have the same focus and intensity going into Saturday's Final Four game as they did at the start of this run.
"We've definitely taken Coach Marshall's message to heart and we're definitely still not satisfied," Baker said. "We've been having good practices since we got here. I've definitely seen signs that we're still hungry and that we believe we can win."