The Wichita State Shockers’ incredible undefeated streak, and their run in the 2014 NCAA Tournament, came to a screeching halt Sunday with a 2-point loss to the Kentucky Wildcats.
Let’s face the facts here. The Kentucky Wildcats (26-10) had absolutely had no business being a number 8 seed. It was probably the single most ridiculous seeding of the tournament. This isn’t some Cinderella team dancing their way through the ball searching for a prince; this is the team that started the season ranked number 1.
This also was not the case of the Wichita State Shockers (35-1) being over seeded, and getting ran out of the gym against a superior team. This was a contest between two very good teams that were very closely matched. This match up should have been in the Sweet Sixteen, at the very earliest.
This might have been the most overall entertaining ball game of the tournament. It went back and forth the whole game, with neither team able to break free of the other. It came down to a last second shot by Fred VanVleet that just happened to miss, and the Shockers’ magical season ended with a 78-76 loss.
This isn’t the case as with some of the other top seeds going down with poor play and execution to true Cinderellas. This was a game, played very well by two extremely talented teams that were executing on the floor. It was a beautiful game to watch. Unfortunately, the ball just didn’t fall the right way for the Shockers.
The nation got a really good look at the Shockers, and it was apparent they were are very good team deserving of their lofty seed, with some very good ball players. Cleanthony Early was magnificent, scoring 31 and pulling in 7 rebounds. Ron Baker dropped in 20, plus 5 rebounds and 2 assists.
Fred VanVleet, despite a poor shooting day that led to just 4 points, had 4 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, and just 1 turnover against his much more heralded opponents.
Andrew Harrison led the way for the Wildcats, scoring 20. His twin brother, Aaron Harrison, netted 19, while James Young went for 13 points,and recorded 8 rebounds. Freshman stud, Julius Randle hit for 13, grabbed 10 boards, and dished out 6 assists.
The Wichita State Shockers had a most terrific season, and their fans should be incredibly proud of the way they played, and the way they went out. They did not lose their game with a poor performance like some of the other top seeds; they went down playing their best against of the best.
Disappointment is a huge part of the tournament, but Wichita State played a great game, and had an unbelievable season.