It's been a rough start to the season for Gregg Marshall's Wichita State Shockers. The preseason Top 10 quality squad has dropped to a 2-3 mark after being upset by Tulsa and struggling at the Advocare Invitational in Orlando this week. Things have also gone from bad to worse on the injury front as Fred Van Vleet continues to be sidelined and Anton Grady is out indefinitely after that vicious pick against Alabama.
We take Marshall and the Shockers for granted but now the question must be asked, can the Shockers still score an at-large bid?
The Shockers current situation is eerily similar to the 2009 Davidson Wildcats. Stephen Curry and his squad were America's sweethearts at the time fresh off their 2008 Elite 8 run. With Steph back for his senior season, there had to be some magic brewing...right? Nope, despite winning 25 regular season games that year the Wildcats didn't have the resume to get an at-large bid. They had nice neutral floor wins against North Carolina State and West Virginia but couldn't knock off Oklahoma, Purdue, and Duke for another resume builder. A bracketbuster loss to Butler late in the season seemed to seal the deal for the Wildcats.
Wichita State has not been able to build their resume this season and it's even more meager looking than '09 Davidson now. Remaining on the slate is tomorrow's neutral court game against Iowa, trips to Saint Louis, UNLV, and Seton Hall, and a home match up against Utah. Even if the Shockers could take down all those teams, there isn't much quality that is going to turn the committees head.
When the Shockers fell to USC 72-69 on Thursday they also lost the opportunity to play top caliber teams Xavier and Dayton. That's another resume booster that is essentially dust in the wind at this point.
The Shockers may need to become big Evansville and Northern Iowa fans at this point. If they can have success against those two programs then it will likely give Wichita State a nice RPI boost, but likely not a big enough one to overcome their early season woes.
Obviously Wichita State could still win the Missouri Valley Tournament and move on to March Madness, and the Shockers will be the favorites if healthy, but this season just got pretty dicey for Gregg Marshall and company.