When the Wichita State Shockers (28-0, 15-0) shocked (See what I did there?) the college basketball world a year ago by making it to the 2013 Final Four in the NCAA Tournament, who knew it wasn’t a fluke? They are the last team in the nation this season with an unblemished record.
Well, are you convinced now?
With Wednesday’s 14-point win over the Loyola (IL) Ramblers, and Boston College’s upset over number 1 Syracuse (maybe it was the uniforms!), the Shockers are 28-0, and the only undefeated school in college basketball.
Finally, folks are starting to take notice as Wichita State graces the regional cover of Sports Illustrated this week, with a great headline – “Go Ahead, Try To Jinx Us”. That is as cool of a headline as you will ever see on a sports magazine.
In this week’s AP poll, the Shockers finally moved up to number three, but they inexplicably dropped to third in the Coaches poll. Gary Parrish, who does the CBSSPorts.com Top 25 (and one) poll, finally came around and bumped Wichita State to second in the land.
The Shockers dropped again in the CBSSports.com RPI to 8th, and the Missouri Valley Conference is not helping Wichita State’s cause, though that is not the Shockers’ fault. For a look at all four polls, just click here.
Yes, the Shockers are playing inferior competition but they are handling those teams with aplomb. Since winning by 3 in overtime at Missouri State on January 11th, Wichita State has not won by less 7, and only less than double digits twice in 11 games. In fact, WSU has won by less than double digits only 3 times in their 15 conference games. It would be a different story if they were squeaking outs all their wins, but they are not.
The Shockers have just three more regular season conference games left. Then they have the Missouri Valley conference tournament. If they are going to be be undefeated going into the NCAA tournament, they are going to need to win 6 more games. It can be done but teams stub their toes against inferior opposition nightly (see Syracuse).
The Wichita State Shockers should be the number one team in the nation next week. Period. No, they have not played a tough schedule, but no one wants to schedule them. Certainly not Kansas or Kansas State. They have beaten everyone, and won decisively in almost all of their match ups . Only five times all season have they won by less than 11 points, and only three wins out of 28 were by less than 7.
Finally, Sports Illustrated has given Wichita State some exposure. Maybe those who vote in the polls will start to realize just how special this season is for the Shockers. Maybe, just maybe, they are the best team in the nation.