Yes, I know they are 30-0, and yes I remember they went to the Final Four last year. Gregg Marshall is an outstanding coach, and has done a fantastic job not just at Wichita State, but at every school he’s coached at. So, this is not a slight against him. Any of the elite programs would be lucky if they could acquire his services. But, the Shockers just aren’t No. 1 seed material, and here’s why.
They simply haven’t played anyone, and therefore have not beaten anyone. Let’s take a closer look at their RPI. The Shockers’ best win is over the Saint Louis Billikens (11th in RPG) in St. Louis way back on Dec. 1. The Billikens were unranked at the time, and the best win for the Billikens all season is against an unranked VCU team at home. The Shockers’ only win over a team from a power conference is a home win against the Tennessee Volunteers, and the Vols will not be making the tournament this season.
Marshall’s team has posted impressive defensive numbers, but those numbers are mostly against subpar teams. Of the Shockers’ 30 wins, 28 of those wins have came from outside the RPI to 50, and of those 28, 24 have come from outside the RPI top 100. They have a strength of schedule of 115, and their opponents’ SOS is 111. How do you give a No. 1 seed to a team that is untested and unproven? Even their opponents haven’t played anyone.
There are at least six teams with a better resume than the Shockers. Florida, Arizona, Syracuse, Creighton, San Diego State and Wisconsin all have better resumes than the Shockers do (feel free to look them up). They all have top-25 wins, and play a complete and balanced schedule.
The 2008 Memphis Tigers are the only team I can think of in recent memory that came out of a mid-major conference to garner a No. 1 seed. They had only one loss going into Selection Sunday. But, the Tigers also had non-conference wins over Connecticut, Oklahoma, Georgetown, Arizona and Gonzaga. Again, Wichita’s State has one, and that’s against St. Louis. The Shockers’ resume simply doesn’t add up to being a No. 1 seed, and before you blame me, remember, I didn’t make the Shockers’ schedule.
This will not go over well with the fans in Wichita. I hope they understand this isn’t an indictment of mid-majors or of Marshall and his team. I personally believe we will see the Shockers back in the Sweet 16, and believe they are really good basketball team. But, the numbers simply don’t support them being one of those four No. 1 seeds, even if they receive one of those coveted spots on Selection Sunday.