Wichita State was ranked No. 8 in the preseason USA Today Coaches Poll released on Thursday, the program’s highest preseason ranking in 36 years.
The Shockers have earned a consensus top-10 ranking, despite their two best players — Landry Shamet and Markis McDuffie — currently recovering from foot injuries. Wichita State returns its top eight scorers and all five starters from last season’s team that went 31-5.
Wichita State was one spot ahead of North Carolina, the defending national champion, while Duke claimed the No. 1 spot in the poll. The top five was rounded out by Michigan Sate, Kansas, Kentucky, and Arizona.
Cincinnati, the team the AAC coaches picked to win the conference over WSU, was ranked No. 13 in the national poll.
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The last time Wichita State was rated as highly in the preseason coaches poll was in 1981 when it was ranked No. 7 – that team was coming off an Elite Eight appearance and had Antoine Carr and Cliff Levingston returning for their junior seasons.