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The fact that Kentucky may have to play Wichita State in the 2nd round is absurd

We knew the Selection Committee would probably pit Kentucky against Northern Kentucky in the opening round because, you know, hey, they’re in the same state, what a story! However, if there’s one surprise in Kentucky’s draw, it’s a potential second round game vs. 10-seed Wichita State. Even though Kentucky was the top overall two seed, they somehow ended up near the Shockers, who are the eighth team in the country according to KenPom. That is absurd. In a season that feels eerily similar to the 2014 year, I guess the selection committee thought it only made sense to set up a rematch of the 2014 second round classic between the Cats and the Shockers, in which Kentucky pulled off the improbable upset. Who gets to play the role of Aaron Harrison this time?

Back in 2014, it was Wichita State that got screwed by the draw, but this year, it’s the other way around. The Shockers are ranked 20th in the AP poll, have a 30-4 record, and are one of only ten teams in the country that rank in the top 25 in both offensive and defensive efficiency right now; however, somehow they ended up with a 10-seed? Earlier today, Jeff Goodman said that the Shockers could end up as an 8 or 9 seed in order to set up a tough second round matchup for a one-seed.

The Shockers have 30 wins, but the résumé doesn’t look all that imposing. If Missouri Valley runner-up Illinois State doesn’t get in, Gregg Marshall & Co. won’t boast a single win over an at-large tourney team. Sure, they have pounded the competition for the past couple of months, but it has been Missouri Valley competition. Three of the Shockers’ four losses came in November and December to Louisville, Michigan State and Oklahoma State, and the fourth was at Illinois State. Some metrics-based rankings such as KenPom have Wichita in the top 10, but others such as the RPI have them at 31. So where does the committee put this team? The Shockers have plenty of talent, and if put in the 8-9 matchup, would be a brutal opponent for a No. 1 seed in the second round.

Yet, here they are, in Kentucky’s bracket as a 10-seed. Hmm. Crazy. You’re telling me this didn’t have any impact on the committee’s decision?


Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

11 Comments for The fact that Kentucky may have to play Wichita State in the 2nd round is absurd

  1. catsarerunnin
    9:17 pm March 12, 2017 Permalink

    The Shocker

  2. ekywildcat
    9:32 pm March 12, 2017 Permalink

    Thanks Mitch!!!

  3. SoCalCat
    9:39 pm March 12, 2017 Permalink

    I wouldn’t jump off the cliff just yet. Looking at Wichita State’s conference, there were only 2 teams above .500 in the entire league, so I wouldn’t call them world beaters just yet. I think Dayton provides just as much concern. If the Cats cannot handle either squad, or NKU for that matter, there is no chance for them getting through the remaining gauntlet anyway.

  4. SanDiegoCats
    9:57 pm March 12, 2017 Permalink

    No reason why we shouldn’t beat Wichita state. The ucla and unc matchup will be tough but you have to beat good teams in the tournament. I don’t think there’s an easy path for any team.

  5. cats42301
    10:03 pm March 12, 2017 Permalink

    I am tired of the selection committee trying to interject drama and storylines into the tournament by manually creating these potential matchups that they think will draw the most interest. Last year it was the UK-IU second round matchup that they created purposely because we had not played IU in the regular season since 2011. The committee should seed the teams and then the matchups should be random from there blind picks made by drawing ping pong balls just like the lottery. It is not fair that they determine matchups based upon who they think will create the most interest/ratings. If you think TV networks, as in CBS networks, don’t have a say in who plays who in the first round and potentially the 2nd round then you are mighty gullible. It just isn’t right and it needs to change. The NCAA thinks they can manipulate the tournament games and to a large extent they can, just like the potential Wichita St. matchup in 2014 was setup by TV and the NCAA.

  6. maximumscott
    10:03 pm March 12, 2017 Permalink

    We are better than first weekend right now. If we come and play how we did today we have nothing to be worries about

  7. Cals Hoverboard
    11:16 pm March 12, 2017 Permalink

    I’ve looked this bracket for our region over and , while I didn’t like seeing UCLA as our #3, it doesn’t have the matchups and other danger that we could very easily have seen. NO Louisville, West Virginia, , or Duke. No Wisconsin. No Indiana (sorry Hoosiers, you’re NIT anyway!). No Iowa State or Florida State or Notre Dame, or Purdue (all dangerous teams for us according to many comments posted here). We play in Indianapolis and Regional in Memphis. If we were “rewarded” as being the top #2 seed, we’d go West for Gonzaga and play our regional in California. We’re not in same region as Kansas, which I think is a plus. We don’t go East and play a regional in New York. I’m seeing a lot of good things about where we ended up and feel good with our chances. Nobody seems to think we’ll get past a team that we’ve already beaten (North Carolina) but I feel pretty darn good about it.

  8. 2x
    11:26 pm March 12, 2017 Permalink

    This train is NEVER late…