The Wichita State Shockers are the recipients of no love and even less respect in the 2014 NCAA tournament.
Remember comedian Rodney Dangerfield’s famous quote, “I get no respect?” Somehow that quote resonates through my mind each time I think about Wichita State. They are the proverbial “Rodney’s Rejects” of this year’s tournament.
Few can deny the lack of respect, but how many understand exactly why?
It’s a small school, I get that, but don’t tell me this team is new to the big stage or that they cannot handle the pressure. The Shockers are just one season removed from a Final Four finish in the 2013 tournament bracket.
It can’t be their record, as Wichita State has strung together 35 consecutive wins as the Nation’s lone unbeaten team in the tournament.
There simply is no logic, no rhyme and certainly no apparent reason for the lack of respect the Missouri Valley Conference Champions are receiving.
Maybe it’s a good thing. Maybe it’s the proverbial thing that brings the entire season together, leading the Shockers to college basketball’s promise land. It certainly looked that way Friday night — Wichita State opened fast against the Cal Poly Mustangs and never once looked back winning in impressive fashion, 64 – 37.
If a nationwide lack of respect is the catalyst for a Wichita State National Championship, they certainly don’t have to look far for ammunition. In what has grown to be a tradition, President Barack Obama filled out his annual tournament bracket prior to the first game’s tip. What is the President’s prognostication of the Shockers’ tournament run, you ask? Elimination in the “Sweet 16” at the hands of current National Champions the Louisville Cardinals.
The NCAA Tournament Selection Committee certainly has no love for Wichita State. Assuming the top seeds advance from this point forward, to reach the Final Four in 2014 the Shockers will have to defeat the Kentucky Wildcats, Louisville, and the Michigan Wolverines – brutal.
When researching this apparent phenomenon, I did a Google search to look at the Final Four and inevitable champion predictions of the most noted college basketball analysts in the country. My search did not disappoint; I’m still in search of a bracket that has Wichita State jotted down in the champions box. To add insult to injury, most “bold prediction” articles have Wichita State as the first one seed to be eliminated.
No respect? No problems. They may be the nation’s least favorite one seed to win it all in 2014, but that didn’t stop Wichita State from being the one seed with the most dominate and explosive performance in the first round.
What’s that new generation line we often see in sports – “haters gonna hate?” Hate away, America; you’re fueling the fire of the Wichita State National Championship run.