In most cases, fans love to root for the underdogs and tend to swoon over a team they can relate to, but is this season’s “America’s team” a real contender come tournament time?
The Wichita State Shockers are no stranger to the limelight as they have been notorious for busting brackets in previous years, but there is a different mystique surrounding this Wichita State team. This veteran-laden squad made an appearance in the Final Four last year and is currently one of two remaining unbeaten teams in the country, but the questions regarding the team’s validity are more than justified.
The Shockers sit atop the Missouri Valley Conference and are undefeated, but Wichita State is not exactly playing the cream of the crop. Wichita State has only win versus the RPI top 25, and have 17 wins against teams that have an RPI south of 112. Wichita State’s strength of schedule is 88 and the Shockers are not dominating lesser competition like a championship-caliber team should be. In the past few games, the Shockers have had to rally to overcome deficits and win late. The Shockers also have problems when it comes to production and depth. Cleanthony Early leads the team with 16 points per game and Fred VanVleet is an underrated guard, but the team only features five players who average over seven points a game.
Wichita State has not faced a late-game scenario like they surely will in the tournament and that will pose a problem when the team is up against some of the best in the country. The Shockers have played spoiler more than a few times in the NCAA Tournament, but do not be surprised if Cinderella turns into a pumpkin come March.
Greg Douglas is a College Basketball writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on twitter @thegpd93 or add him to your Google Network.