Wichita State completed its regular season over the weekend with a blowout victory over Missouri State, and the Shockers are 31-0. The last time Wichita State lost? In the Final Four last year against Louisville, a game in which they led by 12 points with over 13 minutes left.
We’re 13 days away from Selection Sunday, and despite the Shockers’ lofty ranking (2nd), unblemished mark, and last year’s impressive March run fresh in everyone’s memory, there’s actually an argument that Wichita State may not deserve a No. 1 seed. To be clear, nobody is ripping Wichita State’s 31-0 record. That would be silly. But here’s the argument against Wichita State as a No. 1 seed, which is being spearheaded by ESPN’s Jeff Goodman and Doug Gottlieb of CBS:
1) Strength of schedule per RPI? 111. Strength of schedule per Ken Pom? 135.
2) Wichita State’s best wins? Against BYU, Saint Louis and Tennessee, and all came in November or mid-December.
3) The contenders for the final two No. 1 seeds – Kansas, Duke, Syracuse, Virginia – all played considerably tougher schedules.
So if you covered up the teams records, and just looked at record against the RPI Top 50, strength of schedule, and a host of other metrics the Selection Committee will use, doubt will begin to creep in for some.
But here’s why there should be no discussion right now:
1) Florida and Arizona are the only clear locks to be No. 1 seeds.
2) Kansas, which lost Saturday night, has the inside track to be the 4th No. 1 seed because it played the most difficult schedule in the country, and the Jayhawks should win the Big 12 tournament. If Kansas doesn’t win the Big 12 tournament, forget about a No. 1 seed.
3) Syracuse, Duke, and Virginia could make a run at a No. 1 seed, but the ACC tournament is a minefield. Virginia played the weakest schedule of the three, but is hot at the right time. If they beat Syracuse and Duke to win the ACC title, the Cavaliers have a strong argument to be a No. 1 seed. Syracuse has lost three of four. Duke is 2-1 against Syracuse and Virginia, and played the toughest schedule of any ACC team. Of course, there’s always unpredictable North Carolina lurking …
Right now, this isn’t a discussion. Wichita State is a No. 1 seed. Period. The only way this becomes remotely interesting? If Wichita State struggles in the Missouri Valley tournament, narrowly winning its final two games, and Florida, Arizona, Kansas and Duke win their conference tournaments. Then you’ve got four power conference beasts, all hot and with history vs. a school from mid-major that won’t have anyone else dancing.
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