Tuesday, March 18, 2014

#1 seed Wichita State is more likely to lose in the first round than win the NCAA title

The 34-0 Wichita State Shockers have earned a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament out of the Missouri Valley Conference.  Off the top of your head, how many teams can you name in the Missouri Valley Conference?  Over the course of the season Wichita St. played a grand total of zero top 25 schools.  They did beat St. Louis who eventually became ranked, but wasn't at the time.

Last season I wrote that it was a joke for Gonzaga to be the #1 team in the country because of their terrible strength of schedule.  They promptly lost their second game of the tournament, oddly enough to Wichita St.  Well this year the Shockers are the overrated club from a bad conference set to take a tumble.  Many "experts" are picking them to lose to the Wildcats in round two, whether it be Kentucky or Kansas St.  I'm guessing that Kentucky would actually be favored vs Wichita State, and unheard of possibility for a #8 seed vs a #1.

If the Shockers make it to round three they'll likely have to play Louisville, currently ranked #5 in the AP poll.  Last season's champs though they deserved a #1 seed this year, but got handed a #4 because the new "American Athletic Conference" that they play in isn't very good either.  Should Wichita St. somehow make it to the Elite Eight they'll probably be matched up with Duke or Michigan, two other clubs that could have earned a #1 seed had they won their conference tournaments rather than lose in the title game.

It looks next to impossible for the Shockers to even get to the Final Four, let alone win two more games after that and take home the national championship.

Teams seeded #16 are 0-112 in 28 years of tournament play.  A #1 has never lost in the first round, but it's going to happen someday.  Do I think the California Polytechnic State University Mustangs or the Texas Southern Tigers (the two squads have a play-in game Wednesday night for the right to face Wichita St. as the #16) will beat the Shockers?  No, but they'll have a better chance of winning that game than Wichita St. will of winning six.


  1. Ok I had Wichita State in my final 4, mostly because of Bobby Wilson, Xavier McDaniel, Cliff Levingston and Antoine Carr going there in the 70s and 80s, and because my head's perhaps up my ass. Are you suggesting I reverse this???

    1. If you're playing a hunch, Mr. B, here's a little more sauce for your stew: one of my former students had a reasonably successful career at Wichita State several years back -- young man named Randy Burns.
      Also it's the 35th anniversary of another MVC school's similar success, for whatever that's worth superstitiously speaking.

      That said, WSU's draw reminds me of an old Marty Robbins tune, "This Time, Lord, You Gave Me a Mountain!"

    2. If the Shockers had a Larry Bird I'd give them a little more credit; or if this was the College World Series. Great comments guys!


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