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Undefeated regular season says all we need to know about No. 2 Wichita State

Mar 1, 2014, 4:37 PM EDT


They did it.

With a 68-45 win over Missouri State, No. 2 Wichita State became the first team since St. Joseph’s in 2004 to finish the regular season undefeated.

I hope you all can appreciate that fact.

Because regardless of what happens, the argument about just how good this Wichita State team is will never end. That’s the problem with judging an entire season based on the outcome of a one-off, knock-out tournament. If the Shockers make the Final Four, that’s not proof that they were one of the four best teams in the country this season. If they get picked off in the Round of 32, that doesn’t mean that they were egregiously overrated and it shouldn’t mean that their 31-0 record has an asterisk.

Don’t believe me?

Well, do you think that Wichita State was one of the four best teams in the country last season, when they made the Final Four?

That’s the frustrating part of Wichita State’s somewhat unlucky schedule. We’ll never actually know what would happen if this group had to play an 18-game Big Ten slate or in the round-robin Big 12. Everything that looked like a positive on their schedule entering the season has underwhelmed.

Alabama and Tennessee both underperformed this season. The Shockers couldn’t get into the season-opening event in Dallas and they got stuck with BYU and DePaul at the CBE Classic instead of Texas. Creighton left the Missouri Valley prior to the season and the conference, as a whole, is as weak as it has been in a long time.

None of that is Wichita State’s fault.

All they could do was go out and win every night, and they did exactly that. And regardless of who the Shockers played, that’s not an easy thing to do. There’s a reason that this is only the second time that a 22-year old college senior will have seen a team finish the regular season with a zero in the loss column. If beating a handful of good and a bunch of mediocre teams was easy, one of the 350 Division I teams across the country would have done it at some point in the last decade.

They haven’t.

My point?

Wichita State is good enough to make a Final Four, and if you can make a Final Four, you can win the two games needed to bring home a national title. The Shockers could also end up losing in the first weekend of the tournament, because nothing says March like a top two seed getting picked off before the Sweet 16. I don’t think anyone actually believes that Northern Iowa was better than Kansas in 2010, but that didn’t stop the Jayhawks from getting Farokhmaneshed.

Keep that in mind as we head into March. Don’t let one loss devalue what they accomplished. Appreciate the Shockers for what they are.


  1. joerevs300 - Mar 1, 2014 at 5:22 PM

    I’m pretty sure if Wichita State becomes the first #1 seed to lose to a #16 seed (and that time IS coming in the next 5-10 years) no one is going to care they went 31-0 in the regular season.

    They’ve beat no one. Period. Not one team they defeated, outside of Tennessee and BYU (and those two are tenuous at best) are going to be in the NCAA Tournament, absent the Shockers getting upset in their tournament (not happening).

    This is like saying the Harlem Globetrotters could got 100-0 against the Washington Generals, and then turn around and beat the Miami Heat with LeBron James. As soon as they step up in competition, they will go down. They haven’t been tested save for the one OT game against Missouri State. That is an undeniable FACT.

    • markzacharias1 - Mar 1, 2014 at 8:24 PM

      Watch us beat your guys. 40-0. Why not?

    • dlmzzz - Mar 1, 2014 at 9:01 PM

      St. Louis isn’t going to be in the tourney? Seriously?

      Advanced metrics have this team as the 5th best in the country. A similar analysis says that if they had played Wisconsin’s schedule, they would be #1 in the RPI and would be first place in the Big Ten.

      And, Wichita State’s strength of schedule is about the same as Louisville’s.

    • rlh04d - Mar 2, 2014 at 12:46 PM

      Do you understand how stupid people like you look every time you pretend that the #8 team in the country Saint Louis will not be making the NCAA tournament?

      Seriously. You trolls invalidate your entire argument every single time you leave them off. All you do is prove that you haven’t looked at WSU’s resume once and you’ve never watched them play a single game. You just spout off the same talking points you heard on the radio and act like that makes you informed on the subject.

      Hell, for that matter NC Central is #1 in their conference, Davidson is #1 in their conference, Tulsa is a .5 game back, etc.

      As for your other point, that’s like saying if the Miami Heat played Wichita State’s schedule they’d “go down” as soon as they stepped up in competition. What would the Heat have done against WSU’s schedule? They’d be 31-0 and have blown out everyone they faced.

      WSU already “stepped up in competition.” They did so beating Pitt, Gonzaga, Ohio State, and leading Louisville by 12 in the second half of the Final Four, only losing by four. They’ve already been proven against elite competition. Don’t let that get in the way of your uninformed rambling, though. We’ll just sit back, note that even by’s statistics adjusted for opponent, we’re the #5 team in the country, and laugh as we bust your idiotic bracket again.

  2. provguard - Mar 1, 2014 at 6:14 PM

    It was all those quality wins that will help Wichita St out of the playoffs quickly?

    • rlh04d - Mar 2, 2014 at 12:48 PM

      Quality wins are what helps you win in the NCAA tournament?

      Weird. I thought it was good and efficient defense, matchups, and an ability to handle one-and-done games.

      Who knew it was quality wins? Does that mean we can just hand the title to seven loss Kansas and not play the tournament?

  3. nelly837 - Mar 2, 2014 at 8:56 AM

    Hey Joerevs300 I guess you don’t count St. Louis as an opponent? They are only ranked number 10 in the nation. Before you make comments on a team you obviously know nothing about you might want to check your facts so you don’t look like an idiot.

    • florida727 - Mar 2, 2014 at 9:44 AM

      I’m with Nelly on this one. What irritates me about all their critics, is that none of them give the Shockers the credit they’ve earned. Everyone’s quick to forget that this team did make it to the Final Four last year. They had to have beaten SOMEBODY that was pretty good to get there, didn’t they? No pun intended, but should their performance shock anyone this year? They returned just about everyone from a Final Four team. Simple logic says they ought to be pretty good, right?

      Same for my team, Florida. Everyone’s knocking their schedule or whatever, yet they’re quick to overlook that the Gators made it to the Elite Eight each of the past THREE years with essentially this team. They start FOUR SENIORS and a junior. Experience matters. Jordan didn’t win his 6 NBA championships until he had experienced losing in the playoffs (See Pistons, Detroit) and got a better team around him. Why is that so hard to understand? Experience always plays a roll in determining a team’s success. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Wichita State at the Final Four again. It might not happen, but to flat-out say it can’t happen is insane.

  4. shockertalk - Mar 3, 2014 at 3:41 PM

    The #1 Indiana State of Larry Bird only won two games during the season against an NCAA-bound team (Memphis State – TWICE)

    #2 Wichita State has beaten the following NCAA-bound teams
    1. St Louis
    2. BYU
    3. Tennessee
    4. Davidson
    5. NC Central
    6. Tulsa (?)

    Lastly, to all those that comment and say WSU will lose in the round of 64 or 32…… I DARE YOU to actually fill out your brackets that way. Hope you don’t have any money on the outcome!

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