Marshall should ask suitors one question: Can I win a national title with you?

The only net Gregg Marshall hasn't cut down is the big one under the lights in April.

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — If it’s me, it’s simple.

Ain’t about money. Got that.

Ain’t about security. Got that, too, and then some.

Ain’t about perks. Or power. I live on a golf course and have a private plane at my disposal and the direct line to some of the richest men on the planet.

If I’m Gregg Marshall, and I’m talking to Texas — or Alabama, or Tennessee, or all three at once over buffalo wings in the messiest, sauciest job interview ever — it comes down to one question:

Can I win a national title with you?

Starts there. Ends there, too.

Because otherwise, what’s the point? Or rather, what’s left on the bucket list?

Marshall, the venerable Wichita State men’s basketball coach coming off a fourth straight NCAA Tournament appearance and second Sweet 16 run in three years, the man who made "Angry" cool, has ticked a boatload of boxes off the resume already. Build one mid-major power? Yep. Build a second? Yep. League titles? Yep. Arch Madness trophy? Yep. Bracketville bids? Yep. Bracketville wins? Yep.


Sweet 16s? Yep. Elite Eight? Yep. Final Four? Yep. Pelts with the logos of Gonzaga, Ohio State, Indiana and Kansas and mug shots of Mark Few, Thad Matta, Tom Crean and Bill Self dangling from my wall, a virtual who’s who of hoops takedowns? Yep and yep.

Don’t show me the money, fellas.

Show me the trophy case.

Show me the facilities, the commitment, the blueprint and the weapons store. The only net I haven’t cut down is the big one under the lights in April, the last shebang.

Can you help me make that happen?

Can I win a national title with you?

• Alabama, last 20 seasons: six NCAA tourneys. Last Elite Eight: 2004. Last Final Four: None.

Tough sell.

• Tennessee, last 20 seasons: 11 NCAA tourneys. Last Elite Eight: 2010. Last Final Four: None.

Less tough.

• Texas, last 20 seasons: 18 NCAA tourneys. Last Elite Eight: 2008. Last Final Four: 2004.

Getting warmer.

The Big Dance is a crapshoot, of course, in the sense that if you come out one Thursday afternoon and shoot like crap, there’s a good chance you’ll be heading home. You want to be there every year, and you want to be there with a favorable draw. You want that NCAA bid to be a foregone conclusion, not something to sweat. Been there. Done that.

• Wichita State, last 20 seasons: Five NCAA tourneys, four in the last four years. Last Elite Eight: 2013. Last Final Four: 2013.

So, yes, Virginia, the dance is on, along with the courtship, the speculation and the leaks. A Yahoo! Sports report over the weekend said Marshall was taking the Tide off the table. Then multiple reports a short while later said Bama was back on.

And round and round it goes, with the only certainty that Marshall is a busy man and Final Four week is infamous for its coach-wooing. When KNSS-AM radio in Wichita on Monday tweeted this at roughly 1:35 p.m. local time …

… locals put two and two together and #StayGregg turned into #MassPanic.

Marshall, 52, reportedly makes $1.85 million before bonuses (just-fired Bama coach Anthony Grant took home $1.9 million); chartered flights on demand and an audience with the powerful Koch brothers are the icing on top. He probably has one more move, one more marquee move, in him. If he wants it.

Lookin’ good! Check out our gallery of NCAA hoops cheerleaders.

Social media, talking heads, outsiders, see a no-brainer call, a can’t-lose jump, right here, right now. Those who know Marshall best, though, aren’t sure. His mentor, John Kresse, coached 23 seasons at the College of Charleston, winning 560 games. Kresse was a big fish in a small pond, but a happy fish. A secure fish. A winning fish.

Marshall likes being a winning fish. A lot.

But the man is also driven, 8,500-horsepower driven, as driven as any coach you’ll meet in several lifetimes. Even when physically ill — the Shockers’ boss was battling pneumonia this month, among other bugs — the motor never quits.

The emotions can run to the extreme (his happy after a big victory is often euphoric, his sad after a tough loss can sometimes veer toward the acerbic), but it’s part of the DNA. It’s what makes him the perfect coach for the perfect underdog, a man who will wring more out of less because he isn’t programmed any other way.

Which plays great at Wichita, as it did at Winthrop. But what happens when you have to suddenly wring more out of more? Texas will buy you the moon and expect you to deliver stars.

Which is the more attractive mountain to climb: The chance to turn OK at a Power Five school into something excellent? Or the difficulty of keeping Wichita punching above its weight, or risking the blowback from diminishing returns?

On one hand, you don’t leave where you’re loved. On the other, wiser to cut bait a year too soon than a year too late. Either way, though, the bottom line is the same:

Can I win a national title with you?

That’s the last piece, the only stone missing from the crown of a career. If Marshall can’t make it happen at Wichita State — and never, ever say never as long as that engine is purring — then he’s better off waiting for a train that already knows the way to the express lane.

You can follow Sean Keeler on Twitter at @SeanKeeler or email him at