By now you’ve probably heard the criticism of Wichita State’s seeding in the NCAA Tournament. The Shockers were given a 10 seed, despite going 30-4 and being rated highly by advanced metrics such as KenPom (6), Sagarin (11), and BPI (15). However that extensive criticism didn’t stop Shockers head coach Gregg Marshall from voicing his opinion on the their seed during his press conference Thursday.
In the press conference before him, Kentucky head coach John Calipari said he thought the committee did the best job he’s seen in the last eight years. When asked about the comment, Marshall didn’t find the seedings quite so favorable:
I’ll defer to Cal on that. They’re probably more likely to talk to him about seeding and where he wants seeds to be than they would to me. They don’t call me and ask me anything. They probably don’t care that I disagree with the seedings.
One of the major reasons that Wichita State received a 10 seed was the lack of quality wins. The Shockers only had two wins against the RPI top 50, both of which came against Illinois State. They tried to schedule Power Five teams like Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. They faced Louisville and Michigan State in the Bahamas. Marshall provided an interesting solution to help the mid-major teams get those opportunities for quality wins:
I think you’d have to mandate that the Power 5 teams have to play X amount of games on the road. They’ve got the money with the TV and the Bowl games and all that to basically do what they want.
For the Power 5 teams that get ample opportunities to pick up quality wins, there’s also the opportunity for quality losses, which is a luxury that Wichita State doesn’t have:
I think the BCS, Power 5 teams, that don’t have to go on the road — and then they also have the opportunity for quality wins, but many of them get a lot of quality losses as well.
In a year like this, the Shockers escaped from the Missouri Valley without a bad loss. However, with the rumblings of Wichita State and the AAC being a possibility, it’s valid to ask if the MVC is getting the respect that it deserves. Marshall thinks it extends even further to the rest of the mid-major landscape:
They want to weed out the non-Power 5s as quickly as possible. I mean, we play Dayton, VCU plays Saint Mary’s, it feels like there is a little bit of a movement by the committee to squeeze out the non-Power 5. I really feel that. There’s a lot of quality basketball being played at some of these places.
To finish, Marshall didn’t stop at just recognizing the quality of play across the mid-major landscape:
I’ll go one step further. There’s a lot of bad basketball being played in the Power 5 conferences.
The Shockers will face 7 seed Dayton on Friday in what should be a fantastic matchup between two of the best mid-major programs in the country. It’s these type of programs that make the tournament great, and Marshall knows it:
They kind of dismiss us, if you will. But when the tournament comes around, teams like us are what makes the tournament so special.