Are Wichita State Shockers Legitimate Contenders?

By Greg Douglas
Wichita State Shockers
Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

The Wichita State Shockers are no strangers to the spotlight, but is this the year the team goes all the way in the NCAA tournament? The team was brought to prominence as the underdogs that continued to shock the world in the tournament year after year, but the team can no longer be thought of as a true underdog this time around.

With the victory over the Illinois State Redbirds, the Shockers moved to 16-0 overall and add to an already impressive resume that includes victories over top-level teams.

Wichita State defeated Illinois State by a score  of 66-47 behind a dominant performance from Fred VanVleet. VanVleet only recorded six points in the contest, but his seven rebounds and 10 assists led the Shockers to yet another victory. Cleanthony Early and Ron Baker also added to the cause with 11 points each. The team dominated in all phases of the game in front of the home crowd, and now look to keep momentum going through conference play.

Wichita State’s days as a cinderella team have come and gone, and now the team must face the tourney as one of the favorites. The little school from Kansas has become a landing spot for high level recruits, and the job the coaching staff has done over the years is phenomenal. Wichita State has the talent and determination of a high-profile program, but can the Shockers exclude themselves from the mid-major conversation?

Wichita State was virtually unknown a decade ago, but the basketball program has put the school on the map and given the country countless underdog wins in the tournament. The memories the Shockers have provided are unforgettable, but it is time to hang up the glass slipper and exchange it for respect and possibly even a championship.

Greg Douglas is an NCAA Basketball writer for Follow him on twitter @thegpd93 or add him to your Google Network.

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