Wichita State Shockers Seek to Make History

Wichita State Shockers Seek to Make History
  • Opening Intro -

    Parity has come to men's college basketball. Or at least what passes for an improved distribution of talent across the sport.

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Four teams have no more than two losses, but both the No. 5 (Kansas) and No. 6 (Duke) have six losses. There is a very good chance that when the Field of 68 is laid out in a few weeks, we’ll have a handful of Top 25 teams with 10 losses, but still quite capable of winning it all.

Missouri Valley Conference Champions

Within the top four there is one team that has yet to lose a game: the Wichita State Shockers of the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC). The Shockers’ ascendancy this year comes as no surprise as Wichita State advanced to the Final Four last year and was expected to make a big impression this year. But, going undefeated during the regular season was not something anyone expected, a prospect that will be realized by beating Bradley on the road tonight and Missouri State at home on Saturday.

Even if the Shockers sweep through the rest of the season and the conference tournament to go 34-0, they probably won’t pull down the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Florida and Arizona have an edge there and unless either team slips up late, one will get the top billing. Or Syracuse may jump in if the Orangemen puts its losses behind it. March Madness, indeed.

Top Regional Seed

The Shockers are still likely to grab a regional top seed by finishing the season unbeaten. They’ll be shut out of the overall top spot simply because of a weaker schedule, but playing in the MVC shouldn’t mask the talent that this team has. The Shockers have balance, with four players contributing 10 to 16 points on average per game and three other players combining for another 20 points to spread out an offense that is averaging 76 points per game.

Stop Cleanthony Early and Ron Baker steps up. Move in against Fred VanVleet and Telele Cotton takes over. From player to player the Shockers are a physical team, defending the ball with strength and rebounding with confidence. The Shockers grind teams down, holding them to a low field goal percentage and capitalizing on their opponents’ mistakes. They don’t blow out too many opponents, but they do wear them down.

Running the Table

Once the tournament starts, you will hear critics looking for ways to dismiss the Shockers. What you won’t see is a team that will be riled. Instead, they’re likely to return to the Final Four and if they maintain their composure they could win it all. And if they do, they’ll become the first men’s team to go undefeated since the Indiana Hoosiers finished the season at 32-0.

There is a lot of basketball left between now and then, but a 40-0 Wichita State season is not as farfetched as some may think. And 40-0 wouldn’t be the first time that a team reached that milestone — in 2012 the Baylor Lady Bears set that mark.

See AlsoWho Let Wichita State In?

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Categories: NCAA Basketball