Wichita State Shockers Have Tough Road Through Midwest Region In 2014 NCAA Tournament


Members of the Wichita State Shockers – Mandatory Credit: Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports

Seldom does a team outside the BCS conferences get to see their name on the top line of a region in the NCAA Tournament. The Wichita State Shockers, a school with no football team at all, are the number one seed in the Midwest Region in the 2014 NCAA Tournament.

Last year, mid major Gonzaga Bulldogs, from the West Coast Conference, was the number one seed in the West Region. Gonzaga isn’t an historical college basketball, but over the past decade or so, under Mark Few, the Bulldogs have evolved into one of the most consistent mid major programs out there.

In the past few years, Memphis, in Conference USA at the time, was a number one seed twice, making it to the title game in 2008. The Memphis Tigers weren’t a BCS school but they do have a rich basketball history in the past 30 years.

The Butler Bulldogs, in the Horizon Conference at the time, made it to the Final Four in 2 consecutive seasons, in 2010 and 2011. The VCU Rams, from the Colonial, made a nice run in 2011, and the George Mason Patriots, also from the Colonial wore the slipper in 2006. None of these teams were high seeds going into the tournament, though.

Wichita State is a number seed.

After making it to the Final Four a year ago as a 9 seed, and upsetting number one Gonzaga along the way, the Shockers have marched through their weak schedule this season undefeated. They are 34-0, winning their games by an average of more than 15 points a game. In only 6 of the contests did they win by less than 11 points.

Make no mistake about it though, Wichita State deserved a number one seed. They are a very good ball club. Now, they have the chance to prove.

The Midwest Region is arguably the toughest bracket on the board. If Wichita State beats the winner of the Cal-Poly/Texas Southern play-in game (Sorry, official first round game now), they will play the winner between the Kentucky Wildcats and Kansas State Wildcats.

Kentucky started off the season number one, so you know they are a talented team, and Kansas State is a in-state rival who refuses to schedule the Shockers, and come from the toughest conference in the country – the Big 12.

If the Shockers can survive that test, whichever team it may be, there is a good chance they will face the Louisville Cardinals, who barely beat Wichita State in the Final Four a year ago before winning the national title. The Cardinals were ranked in the top 5 this season, and are good enough to be a number one seed when playing at full capacity.

If Wichita State can make it through the Elite Eight match-up, and if the seedings hold out, the Shockers would have to play either national powerhouse Duke or national powerhouse Michigan for the right to return to the Final Four.

Every bracket has its pitfalls and tough match-ups but this Midwest region is ridiculous. Counting Wichita State, five team have appeared in the top five at one point in the season. If the Shockers are going to prove their 34-0 record isn’t a fluke, they will have to earn it, playing some of the best teams in the country, if those teams aren’t upset along the way.

The Selection Committee seems to have begrudgingly given the Shockers a top seed, but didn’t reward them any further with an easy path to the Final Four.

It would be surprising if the Wichita State staff and players didn’t look at their draw without thinking that here was their chance to prove they belong on that top line. It is doubtful there is much grousing about their bracket in their locker room this morning.

As a number one seed coming off a Final Four appearance, the Wichita State Shockers are now one of the big boys. Here is their chance to prove it.

Get your printable brackets right here.


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