Wichita State Shockers
Record: (34-0, 18-0 Missouri Valley)
RPI: 6 (.642)
BPI: 4 (87.2)
Conference: Missouri Valley
How They Qualified: Automatic Bid (Won MVC Tournament)
The term “dream season” doesn’t even begin to do justice to what Wichita State has accomplished this season. From the beginning of the season, Wichita State has been on a mission to make a repeat trip to the Final Four after the disappointing loss to Louisville in Atlanta last year. This season, they never let any team get in their way. Whether it was winning a few games against big-name out of conference opponents or running the table in conference play, the Shockers have somewhat silenced many of the doubters who never believed that they could carry a 4-0 record into the NCAA Tournament.
Wichita State was led this season by many of the familiar faces that helped them get to the Final Four last season. With sensational senior Cleanthony Early returning as a key scoring big man and guards Ron Baker, Tekele Cotton, and Fred VanVleet returning, the Shockers were a mighty force to be reckoned with this season.
This is the first time the Shockers have won their conference tournament since 1987, a massive gap that was certainly on the minds of the players as they began Arch Madness. That fact never phased them though, and Wichita State was able to blow away the competition in St. Louis to be the first team to have an undefeated regular since UNLV accomplished that monumental feat in 1991.
What You Need to Know
Leading Scorer: Cleanthony Early – 16.0 ppg
Leading Rebounder: Cleanthony Early – 5.9 rpg
Leading Passer: Fred VanVleet – 5.3 apg
Bad Losses: NONE
Good Wins: BYU, Saint Louis, Tennessee
What to Expect
There’s no doubt that Wichita State will be a favorite to go the long haul in office pool brackets around the country. This team has been phenomenal all season and they’re finally geared up for that final push to propel them through the remainder of the season. All year long, nobody has been able to defeat the Shockers. Nobody. While their schedule may have been relatively weak, the tournament will be where they face some of their toughest challenges all season. Despite all of that, I certainly don’t see them bowing out of the tournament very early.
Now, I will need to see the region that the Shockers are in in order to make an accurate prediction on how I think they will fare in March. They will be a one seed and I believe that if they can get the right match-ups, we may be seeing them as one of the last four teams remaining in Arlington, Texas. At the moment, Lunardi has Wichita State in a region with two seed Wisconsin, three seed Creighton, four seed Louisville, and five seed Oklahoma. Based solely on looking at that, I could easily see Wichita State making the Final Four. This is all conjecture, however, and we will truly see what they’re made of later this month.
Not shocking to anyone, Wichita State is dancing after winning the MVC!