Wichita State Shockers Have No Basis For Being Ranked No. 4
There’s no “Mid-Major bias” to be found here. As a matter of fact, I happen to love this Wichita State basketball team, starting with their coach. Gregg Marshall is one of the best coaches in all of college basketball. The raw emotion he showed after the Shockers were ousted in the Final Four last season was all I needed to see to make that judgement. He was tearful, devastated, yet ever so proud. And deservedly so. It was one of the most moving postgame interviews ever.
The Shockers have carried the momentum from their improbable run to the Final Four — as a nine seed — all the way through the first 22 games of this season. 22 wins and zero losses is pretty incredible. And although it’s so often said and so unfairly used, these Shockers are truly not your typical mid-major team. They have tremendous talent and one terrific coach in Marshall. Cleanthony Early is a pro. Ron Baker is one of the best knockdown three-point shooters in the country and just might have an NBA future as well. And point guard Fred VanVleet has been just outstanding. This trio is as good as it gets and can compete with anyone.
But look closely at Wichita State’s schedule. Who have they beaten?
Winning at Saint Louis is a great, great win. No question about that. Other than that win on Dec. 1, though, the Shockers’ resume doesn’t really offer a whole lot. The Missouri Valley Conference is terrible this season, especially sans Creighton. Indiana State is perhaps decent, but besides Wichita State and the Sycamores, the league has nothing.
Squeaking out a five-point win over a 9-10 Alabama team in Tuscaloosa, meh. A nine-point win over a mediocre 12-7 Tennessee team at best, meh. Beating BYU on a neutral floor, meh. And that’s probably their second best win which speaks volumes.
Wichita State is a very talented team, who again, is definitely capable of making it to the Final Four in Dallas. And starting a season 22-0, regardless of who you play, is impressive. But this resume, as it stands, is simply not worthy of a No. 4 ranking in the AP Poll. And surely, not even close to deserving a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
I hope the tournament committee realizes this come March.
Matthew Sturgeon is a College Basketball writer for RantSports.com. You can follow him on Twitter @OfficialSturg27