Wichita State basketball’s rare two-game swoon last week is troubling not only for dropping the Shockers in the American Athletic Conference standings, but it also lowered the team in the just-as-important NCAA bracket projections.
The Shockers, once sitting comfortably as a top-16 tournament seed and almost assuredly headed to Dallas for the first round of the NCAA Tournament in March, are now projected to be in the fifth- to seventh-seed range. That’s important because the NCAA tries to place top-four seeds close to home on the first weekend. (WSU can’t play at Intrust Bank Arena because it’s a co-host.)
Dallas is the closest site for WSU and the only drivable first-weekend site for anyone other than the most dedicated road warriors. It helps WSU that one other school in current projections’ top 20 seeds (Texas Tech) is a geographic fit for Dallas, so WSU can still be Dallas-bound with a resurgence. The Shockers’ fan following in Dallas would be much larger than at other sites.
There is plenty of time to get back into the top 16 seeds, especially with home-and-home meetings with conference leader Cincinnati. But postseason travel plans have become a little less concrete for Shocker Nation.