The case against Wichita State

A lack of top-50 wins could pose problems for the Shockers and other mid-majors

Originally Published: February 4, 2011
By Ian Gordon | ESPN Insider
J.T. DurleyAP Photo/Eugene TannerIf J.T. Durley and Wichita State can't win their league tournament, they could be in trouble.

The Wichita State Shockers have been down this road before.

Last year, the Shockers entered Selection Sunday with a 24-9 record (12-6 in the Missouri Valley) and No. 43 RPI ranking, meaning they were well within striking distance of an at-large bid. Upon further review, however, one thing stuck out: Wichita State had played just four games against RPI top-50 opponents, three of them coming against the conference champion Northern Iowa Panthers. The Shockers finished 1-3 in those games -- the lone win coming when the Panthers traveled to Wichita -- and found themselves NIT-bound.

This season, the Shockers' résumé looks fairly similar. At 18-4 (10-2 MVC), they're currently No. 39 in the RPI. Once again, Wichita State is on pace to have played four RPI top-50 games -- versus the Connecticut Huskies, San Diego State Aztecs and Missouri State Bears (twice) -- by season's end. And once again, their performance has been lacking, as they are currently 0-3 in those games. For this reason, Gregg Marshall and friends could be feeling some serious déjà vu March 13 if they are unable to wrap up the MVC's automatic bid.