After a four-game home stand to start the year, Wichita State is off to a hot 4-0 start.
The Shockers have outscored their opponents by just over 36 points per game, and the WSU bench alone has averaged 54 points per game. The Shockers are deep, and potentially much deeper than WSU teams of years past.
However, South Carolina State, Long Beach State, Tulsa, and Maryland-Eastern Shore aren’t exactly elite competition. Those teams aren’t going to jump off the page when outsiders look at WSU’s schedule. That’s why the Battle 4 Atlantis is crucial for the Shockers.
This week, the Shockers could potentially face Louisville, Michigan State, Baylor and/or VCU depending on how the bracket turns out. In their first game, the Shockers face off against LSU, and with a win would move on to play the winner of Louisville/Old Dominion in the semifinals.
Clearly, many expect - and hope for - a WSU and Louisville match up. The two teams haven’t met since the 2013 NCAA Tournament, when the one-seeded Cardinals defeated the ninth-seeded Shockers 72-68 in the Final Four.
On the other side of the bracket, Michigan State plays St. John’s and VCU faces Baylor. Win or lose, the Shockers are bound to face at least one of these teams. If the Shockers are able to make it to the championship, they will likely play Michigan State or Baylor, both of which are great resume builders for any mid-major program.
This year’s Wichita State team is young and deep; they only have two seniors on the roster, Zach Bush and John Robert Simon, both of whom have played sparingly. In terms of their depth, 10 of 14 players on the roster average over 10 minutes or more per game.
This trip to the Bahamas will help prove whether or not that 4-0 start is the real deal.