Statewide, Wichita State plays in the shadows of Kansas and Kansas State, the teams that tied for the regular season Big 12 title. But they showed all but three other teams in the country how to do this, man.
Wichita State may ride with the label as “Shockers,” but it should come as no surprise that this basketball program is reaching new heights. Louisville is headed to the championship game, but Wichita State is not-so-quietly establishing itself as a pesky mid-major that none of these larger programs want any part of.
This was the Shockers making their 10th NCAA tournament appearance in school history, and they’ve won more games in the tourney than they’ve lost (12-11). Wichita State is in the midst of its best four-year stretch in school history, winning at least 25 games in each season.
For this tournament, they took down No. 1 seed Gonzaga to the point where it had us questioning if Gonzaga really deserved its seeding, then No. 2 Ohio State...just in case we still doubted them.
Gregg Marshall and his crew put in some serious work.
Important seniors are leaving this group, but studs like Fred Vlan Vleet and Cleanthony Early (who also have two of the coolest names in college basketball) are going to be back next season ready to do this again.
Cleanthony Early is a cold name— Vince Thomas (@vincecathomas) April 6, 2013
Only this time, they likely won’t sneak up on everyone.
Louisville has been the perennial favorite to win this tournament since it started, and the Cardinals have dominated the national conversation since last week’s gruesome injury to Kevin Ware. On some level, it would have been disappointing if Louisville had not survived Wichita State’s pursuit.
The love they got from Tim Tebow was cool, but the Shockers didn’t have a Russ Smith-type star, or a magnetic story like Louisville. This was just a damn-good basketball team.