Wichita State Shockers: 30-4, 17-1 in the Missouri Valley Conference

Head coach: Gregg Marshall (10th season)

Players to watch: Markis McDuffie (11.8 PPG, 5.7 RPG); Landry Shamet (11.1 PPG, 3.3 APG, 45.4 3PT%); Conner Frankamp (9.2 PPG, 44.6 3PT%)

Season Recap: Head coach Gregg Marshall’s Shockers captured their fourth consecutive Missouri Valley Conference regular-season championship, dropping just one contest against a league opponent all season—Illinois State claimed first place in the conference after the 76-62 win in January before Wichita State avenged the loss with a resounding 86-45 win less than a month later. Efficient on both sides of the ball, the Shockers possess no dominant player teams must always account for—instead, they hold a consistent rotation of capable players who spread the wealth and wear teams down. Unlike many college teams that rely exclusively on a core group of three to five players, eight Wichita State players have competed in all 34 of the team’s contests and 10 players average double-digit minutes.

After dispatching weak nonconference teams early on, the Shockers dropped two consecutive contests to ranked foes Louisville and Michigan State. Woes resurfaced soon after when the team fell 93-76 at home to Oklahoma State—the team’s most lopsided loss of the season. 

Despite struggling against the most competitive teams in their schedule, the Shockers enter the Big Dance on a 15-game win streak after waltzing through their conference tournament and topping top-seeded Illinois State 71-51 for the championship.

How they make a run: March Madness is nothing new for the Shockers, who compete in the postseason for the 6th consecutive time. Wichita State utilizes this experience to maintain its top-20 offensive and defensive efficiency as it escapes Dayton and knocks off second-seeded Kentucky to make the Sweet 16 yet again.

How they falter: A lack of success against top-tier opponents dooms the Shockers, who lack a star to turn to in moments of adversity.