The Wichita State Shockers are one of the representatives of the Missouri Valley Conference. They won the regular season, but were upset by Illinois State in the conference tournament final.
Indiana is limping into the NCAA Tournament. They have some really nice individual players, but head coach Tom Crean has had trouble getting them to play together as a team. The Hoosiers haven’t looked ‘right’ since mid-January.
Will this be the last game Tom Crean coaches for the Hoosiers?
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Wichita State doesn’t come into this year’s NCAA Tournament with the hype that surrounded them last year. I’m sure plenty of people were burned by them not going very far, but this year’s team has flown under the radar for most of the season. They were 28-4 this season with two of their four losses coming against NCAA tournament teams (Utah & Northern Iowa). The Shockers have a lot of upperclassman experience on the team. They also might have a chip on their shoulder due to last year’s early ousting.
Indiana isn’t the same team that beat SMU and Butler early in the season. Head Coach Tom Crean doesn’t seem to have the same control he’s had with past IU teams. Since beating Maryland on January 22nd, the Hoosiers are 5-9. Yogi Ferrell has been the glue that has kept this team together. He will need a strong showing for Indiana to advance.
Wichita State is a complete team. They aren’t great at any one thing, but they play team basketball. The shooting ability of Indiana guard James Blackmon Jr. could be the key to this game. He’s such an up & down player. One game he will go 9 for 14 from the field scoring 25 points and then the next game he will go 1 for 14. The Shockers will make it hard for the freshman to get an open shot. WSU’s defense will dictate the game and the Shockers will advance.
Prediction: #7 Wichita State
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.