The NCAA's most underrated team
LAS VEGAS, NV (The Spread) - It’s extremely hard to go unbeaten in college basketball. It’s even harder to go undefeated and stay undervalued all year long.
The Wichita State Shockers were able to do both this season. Wichita State is the first team since UNLV in 1991 to enter the NCAA Tournament with an undefeated record.
Wichita State’s dominance of the Missouri Valley Conference this year was really quite amazing. The conference was clearly down this year since Creighton moved on to the Big East, but going unbeaten in what has generally been a pretty competitive conference is something that this team deserves credit for.
Who was the number one team in the nation against the number this year? It was the Wichita State Shockers. Wichita State currently sits at 24-6-1 ATS so far this year. For a team that ran through the season unbeaten to also have the best ATS record in all of college basketball tells us a couple of important things. First, the oddsmakers don’t believe in Wichita State the way they should. Oddsmakers have been burned by this team a bunch this season. Second, Wichita State is as consistent of a team as you’ll find the nation.
Remember, Wichita State was taking the opposition’s best punch every time this year. Every single team the Shockers have been playing has wanted to be the first team to knock off Wichita State, and no one was able to do it. It has actually been a very long time since anyone even came close to accomplishing the feat.
While many will say that Wichita State didn’t play a difficult enough schedule, the Shockers took care of business against the teams that were put in front of them. They had a very nice win at St. Louis in the non-conference slate, which is something that speaks to the overall strength of this team.
How is Wichita State so good anyways? The Shockers are extremely balanced, and they have three or four guys on their team who could potentially play in the NBA. CleAnthony Early is an excellent stretch four who can do just about anything on the basketball court. Ron Baker is only a sophomore, but he plays like a grizzled veteran. Fred Van Vleet is the starting point guard, and he is one of the most underrated players in the country. Tekele Cotton is a defensive stopper who comes up with big shots on the offensive end.
Wichita State wins with defense first. Getting easy buckets against the Shockers is a very tough task for any offense. Wichita State is likely to be a number one seed, and you’ll probably hear a bunch of people bashing the Shockers. Keep in mind though; Wichita State has been underrated all year long!