Wichita State Shockers

Wichita State returns to practice, prepares for uncertain opponent, bracket

Wichita State guard Fred VanVleet shoots against Northern Iowa guard Wes Washpun during the first half of their game at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on Saturday.
Wichita State guard Fred VanVleet shoots against Northern Iowa guard Wes Washpun during the first half of their game at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on Saturday. The Wichita Eagle

Wichita State basketball players returned to their routine on Tuesday, dropping off their practice jerseys in front of the film room before heading to lift weights.

Film and practice followed.

Inside Koch Arena, routine. Outside Koch Arena, the Shockers are college basketball’s No. 1 argument.

Will they make the NCAA Tournament as one of 36 at-large teams, or will they be forced to take their automatic bid to the NIT, as the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season champion?

“We’ll see where everyone is mentally,” WSU coach Gregg Marshall said. “We’ll be preparing Sunday night for some opponent. What we don’t know is who and where.”

The who and where is dominating discussion among those who predict how the selection committee will fill its bracket on Sunday. Some of the guesses:

▪  ESPN.com’s Joe Lunardi places WSU as a No. 8 seed playing Butler in Des Moines, with a possible game against top-seeded Kansas next.

▪  Michael Beller of Sports Illustrated leaves WSU out of his mock bracket.

▪  Jerry Palm of CBSSports.com puts the Shockers on his list of first four teams out.

▪  Bracketmatrix.com, which compiles 94 bracket projections, ranks the Shockers a composite No. 10 seed.

“At the end of the day, we’re a team that can not only be in that NCAA Tournament, but win games in that NCAA Tournament,” Marshall said. “We could also lose in the first round. Many teams in the country could also say the same thing.”

The Shockers took Sunday and Monday off. Marshall planned a long video session to look at last week’s MVC Tournament. The physical demands will be light most of the week, especially for veterans, in an attempt to freshen their minds and bodies before tournament play.

“We’ll probably take at least another day or so off,” Marshall said. “You may take more than that off, if you’ve got an ailing body part, any type of body part that rest may help.”

Baker, VanVleet honored — Wichita State seniors Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet and Kansas senior Perry Ellis earned spots on the All-District VI team selected by the United States Basketball Writers Association.

Kansas’ Frank Mason joined that trio on the 10-man team and Bill Self was named district Coach of the Year. Oklahoma senior Buddy Hield is the district Player of the Year.

It is the third All-District award for VanVleet and the second for Baker.

District VI includes Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Former WSU AD will evaluate Shockers — Jim Schaus is one of 10 people on the NCAA selection committee. In an email, he said that he will take part in discussions about Wichita State.

“The committee has guidelines which prevent members from voting on or discussing schools which they are currently associated,” Schaus wrote. “With no current association, I fully plan on participating in any discussions regarding Wichita State.”

Schaus, who left WSU in 2008 after hiring Marshall, is athletic director at Ohio.

The Shockers lost to Northern Iowa in the semifinals of the MVC tournament. It's the second time in a row they've lost to the Panthers and the second straight year they've been knocked out in the tournament semifinals.

The Wichita Eagle's Paul Suellentrop and Bob Lutz discuss Wichita State's overtime loss to Northern Iowa in the MVC Tournament semifinals in St. Louis. (Tony Adame/The Wichita Eagle)

Shockers react after losing to Northern Iowa, 57-52 in MVC Tournament semifinals (Tony Adame/The Wichita Eagle)

Paul Suellentrop: 316-269-6760, @paulsuellentrop

USBWA All-District VI

Player of the Year — Buddy Hield, Oklahoma

Coach of the Year — Bill Self, Kansas

  • G — Ron Baker, Wichita State
  • G — Isaiah Cousins, Oklahoma
  • F — Perry Ellis, Kansas
  • G — Buddy Hield, Oklahoma
  • G — Peter Jok, Iowa
  • G — Frank Mason III, Kansas
  • G — Monte Morris, Iowa State
  • F — Georges Niang, Iowa State
  • F — Jarrod Uthoff, Iowa
  • G — Fred VanVleet, Wichita State
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