Get to know the Wichita State basketball readers panel
1. What is your preferred NCAA Tournament seed, site and possible opponents?
Loren Honse: As a No. 9 seed the Shockers beat many different teams (in 2013), and (Louisville coach Rick) Pitino said that was the hardest game he coached all year (in the national semifinal). As a No. 11 (in 2016), Arizona and Miami didn’t like playing us much. They are just numbers they don’t mean anything in the tournament. Just getting in is all that matters.
Russell Lowden: Obviously Tulsa would be the ideal site for the Shockers. It would be very heavily attended by Shocker Nation. I believe we will receive either a No. 8 seed or a No. 9 seed. I feel we deserve a No. 6 or No. 7 seed. My preference is a No. 6 seed or a No. 11 seed as that allows us to avoid the top seeds for as long as possible.
I want us to play Power 5 conference teams. I do not want us matched up with a good mid-major, as I do not want to eliminate them. A matchup at some point down the line against the (Kansas) Jayhawks would be very interesting.
David Gonzalez: Site: Tulsa please! A dream match-up would be WSU vs. anyone in Kansas City for a trip to the Final Four.
Bryan Steele: For this team I would prefer a No. 6 seed (as far as realistic expectations). That would likely slot them against a host of bubble teams in the first-round game and potentially someone traveling from Dayton in the First Four.
I feel like this is possible since Wichita State won the conference tournament. Removing the committee from the decision on whether they “deserve” to be in the tournament allows them to seed WSU based on how good they are.
Fun potential first round games for me include Creighton (rival), South Carolina (Frank Martin), Miami (revenge), Northwestern (first time in dance), and Wake Forest (Danny Manning). The initial seed range we are seeing makes any of those possible.
Patty Beamer: I would like a No. 7 or No. 10 seed in Tulsa. I don’t care who we play, and a No. 7 or a No.10 seed is pretty much the same. I would prefer not to play KU in the round of 32.
Sara Orr Jones: Although Wichita State deserves more love from the selection committee and should come in as either a No. 6 or No. 7 seed, the Shockers will probably end up at No. 8 or No. 9.
However, what matters is where we finish, not where we start. And because Shocker fans love to travel to support their team, the BOK Center in Tulsa would be ideal.
It would be fun to play against a team or two that we lost to earlier in the season, like Louisville, Michigan State or Oklahoma State.
Joseph Stroud: I would love to see Wichita State as an No. 9 seed in the East Region and compete against Dayton and after that match-up … play Duke or North Carolina, I would love to see us defeat bigger opponents so we could get more respect and better scheduling options.
Sasha Bouska: I’d take a No. 6, No. 7 or No. 10. That keeps us off the 8/9 line and avoids playing a No. 1 seed the first weekend.
Mike Burrus: I would like to have the Shockers assigned to Tulsa for their first and second round games; I think our fans would turn out in great numbers.
While I think we deserve a seed in the No. 5-6 range – as supported by national polls, advanced metrics (KenPom, Sagarin, etc.) – a 7, 8 or 9 seed by the selection committee is more likely; I could live with that.
2. Are you booked for Phoenix? How many NCAA wins makes this season a success?
Loren Honse: I believe two wins make it a success. Getting to the Sweet 16 is a remarkable accomplishment that any team should be very proud of.
Russell Lowden: I am not booked for Phoenix, but would definitely look at going if the Shockers are still playing, which I think is possible depending on the match-ups. I consider this season as a success already — 30 wins, regular season and tournament titles. I really want to make it out of the first weekend to make the Sweet Sixteen. The amount of press you get as a second-weekend team is monumental.
Mike Burrus: I requested tickets for Phoenix and would absolutely attend if the Shockers make the Final Four. As for defining success for this season, I would consider it a success even if we do not win an NCAA Tournament game. However, I do expect us to win multiple games, and would be personally disappointed if we do not.
David Gonzalez: No plans for Phoenix yet. And I think the Shockers have already achieved a successful season. Winning games in the NCAA Tournament just makes this season more special. I’m not sure many expected a 30-win season, plus regular-season championship, plus tournament championship, plus top 25 ranking in a “rebuilding” year.
Only the undefeated team has seen similar accomplishments.
Sasha Bouska: I think making the Sweet Sixteen is a successful season, but the sky is the limit for this team. They are coming together nicely at the right time of year and have the weapons to compete with and beat any team in the country. Four wins in March Madness is a difficult task, but it will be fun to watch this team try to do it.
Patty Beamer: A dream would be to win it all! But to me, although many will disagree, winning in St Louis makes this year a great success. This team did something that has only happened once in 25 years! I want more for the team, but I am happy!
Joseph Stroud: I would like to win at least two games, if not a national championship. This would show the world that we no longer need Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker, plus it would be nice to prove Jerry Palm (of CBSSports.com) wrong yet again.
3. If you attended Arch Madness, how was the experience for a fan? What suggestions would you make?
Loren Honse: The experience of Arch Madness was interesting this year especially with all of the Illinois State fans. I believe everyone kind of knew that it was going to be ISU vs. WSU this year and the anticipation was very high for that game. The WSU crowd got very loud and super-involved in every play from start to finish.
If I would make a suggestion it would be to have a different place for the pep rally, we won’t even try to go because there is absolutely no way to get in.
Ty Houseman: It was great! My oldest daughter was a ball girl this year and that was a wonderful experience for her and our family. The drive home is much better after a win! It’s great to see so many Shocker fans travel, and the staff inside Scottrade Center were outstanding.
Patty Beamer: Driving home happy was fabulous! The team and coaches were so happy and this is the first time I have ever seen the students get to be on the court to celebrate.
Mike Burrus: I did attend Arch Madness, as I have done for many consecutive years. I had a great experience as a fan; of course, it helps when your team in winning. Despite it requiring a seven-hour drive to reach, St. Louis is a good venue for hosting the tournament, with more than adequate hotel and dining options.
One suggestion is to modify the Scottrade Center’s heating/cooling system; during some of the more poorly attended games, people sitting around me were so cold that they were wearing gloves and coats.
Joseph Stroud: Arch Madness was really fun for me, this was my seventh Year in a row I have gone and this was my second championship victory I have experienced. I did not appreciate the court-storming though. It did not make sense to me since we did not do it back when we were the first team to go undefeated at 34-0. I thought that we were held to a different standard and were more classy than that.
There are renovations that need to be made to the arena; especially seating since the majority of the seats are dirty and rusted and it would look cleaner if it were updated.