The Wichita State Shockers, Kansas Jayhawks, and Kansas State Wildcats are nationally ranked this week in the AP Poll. The state of Kansas should be proud of their college basketball teams right now.
The Shockers, still undefeated at 15-0, 2-0 in Missouri Valley play, have rocketed all the way up to 6th place in the AP Poll. They have taken over as the state’s best basketball team. The Jayhawks, after losing another game, this time to San Diego State at home, drop to 18th in the nation, and appear to be highly over rated with a 9-4 record.
The Wildcats, after their big 3-point upset of the Oklahoma State Cowboys last weekend in Manhattan, entered the polls for the first time this season with a 11-3 record, 1-0 in the Big 12. Kansas State has won 9 ball games in a row.
In the Coaches Poll, Wichita State is 6th as well, but Kansas is 20th, and the coaches don’t seem impressed with the Wildcats, who fell into the “others receiving votes” category, and are 35th in the country.
Gary Parrish, who does the CBSSports.com Top 25 (and one) poll isn’t buying into the Shockers quite yet. Parrish has Wichita State ranked 14th, just two spots ahead of the Jayhawks, despite the disparity in their records. Parrish doesn’t have Kansas State ranked at all.
The RPI is friendlier to the Jayhawks. Mainly do to their brutal schedule, which is ranked the hardest in the nation, Kansas is second in the RPI. The Jayhawks do have a hard slate of games, but if they can’t start beating good teams, it isn’t going to matter where the RPI has them.
The Shockers, who have the 112th hardest schedule, according to the CBS RPI, are ranked 12th, and the Wildcats, with the 70th most difficult schedule, are ranked 62nd in the RPI. The computers are not impressed with Kansas State just yet.
The Wildcats go on the road this week, traveling to take on TCU tonight, then returning to the Sunflower State Saturday to play Kansas in Lawrence.
The Shockers host Illinois State on Wednesday, then play at Loyola Saturday.
The Jayhawks play at Oklahoma on Wednesday for their first conference game, then host Kansas State Saturday.
Wichita State has a chance to do something very special this season. They are obviously the cream of the crop in the Missouri Valley, especially with Creighton gone to the Big East.
While it is very hard to predict a team going through a conference undefeated, any conference (except Memphis and the old Conference USA), Wichita State has that chance.
There are some very tough teams in the Missouri Valley – Indiana State, Missouri State, and Drake all have 4 or less losses – and winning on the road is always difficult, but the Shockers are not your ordinary mid major team.
Remember, they are coming off a Final Four appearance. It is very possible, likely even, that Wichita State will stub their toe a time or two somewhere down the road, it could be very exciting if they don’t.
The road is rougher for Kansas and Kansas State. The Big 12 has 7 teams which look to be of tournament caliber. These teams will beat up on each other through a brutal 18-game schedule. The Wildcats have already made a splash, beating Oklahoma State, which is probably the best overall team in the conference.
Regardless, the state of Kansas can be very proud of the three state schools. They are a combined 35-7, and all nationally ranked.