Feb 26, 2014 2:25 PM GMT
30-And-O! And Counting!
Even fresh off a magical, Tebow-inspired Final Four run last year, Gregg Marshall's managed to outdo himself with this crew.
Due to an expanded regular season schedule, Wichita State became the first Division I NCAA men's hoops team to win their first 30 regular season games. No D-I team has gone undefeated and won the NCAA title since Bobby Knight's Indiana Hoosiers back in 1975-76.
They're sitting at #2 in the country for the first time since 1982, the days of Cliff Levingston and Antoine Carr.
#9 Creighton's defection from The Valley certainly helps, but takes nothing away from an effectively balanced offensive attack with no major stars (Cleanthony Early, maybe? Ron Baker? Fred Van Vleet, anyone?) and gritty defense, ranking 13th in the country with just 60.1 opponent points per game.
They even achieved a perfect record amid an out-of-conference strength-of-schedule that ranks 32nd in the country. Their top non-conference road win was at #10 St. Louis back in December. They beat bubble team Tennessee and Southern Conference contender Davidson at home in December, and beat BYU at a neutral site around Thanksgiving.
All that's up in the air at this point is a 1-seed in the upcoming March Madness tourney, assuming they win their last regular-season game and run through their conference tourney. I've got them pegged as a 2-seed right now, but with another slip-up from Florida, Villanova, Arizona, or in-state rival Kansas, and the Shockers move up one slot.
The team motto this year is "PLAY ANGRY". Here's a clip of Marshall and players describing the source of the Shockers' motto.