▪ Wichita State continued its post-10-day-slump rampage with Saturday’s 74-58 win over Illinois State.
The Shockers are No. 37 in the RPI, No. 8 in Ken Pomeroy (No. 1 in defense efficiency), No. 22 in ESPN’s BPI, a No. 100 strength of schedule and a No. 6 non-conference strength of schedule. Utah and Seton Hall are turning out to be major assets.
And while 1-4 against the top 50 of the RPI isn’t ideal, the Shockers are 3-2 against 51-100 with one loss outside the top 100 — No. 106 Illinois State.
Let’s look at some other teams in WSU’s range in bracket projections:
vs. top 50
vs. 200 +
The win over Utah (No. 8 in the RPI) is a crucial chip, probably the biggest that will get the Shockers in with an at-large. WSU’s non-con SOS should also help.
The MVC Tournament could be helpful if teams such as UNI, Illinois State and Evansville avoid upsets and allow the Shockers to get some more top-100 wins. Nevada also sits near the top 100, No. 110, and a good run by the Wolf Pack could help.
▪ WSU baseball endured a disastrous stretch, losing at Oral Roberts and three at New Mexico. Three of the WSU starters failed to get into the fourth inning in those four games.
▪ WSU’s men’s track team ended a stretch of seven runner-up finishes (indoor and outdoor) to win the MVC Indoor Championships on Sunday in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Freshman Jared Belardo set a school record with a long jump of 25 feet, 9 1/2 inches, ninth-best in the nation. He also won the triple jump (51-2 3/4).
WSU’s women finished second. Breanne Borman won the high jump (5-8) and finished second in the pentathlon. Her total of 4,133 points ranks No. 16 nationally.
The top 16 athletes in each event qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships in March.
▪ WSU women’s tennis team continued to climb in the national rankings. The 21st-ranked Shockers defeated No. 23 Kansas 5-2 and No. 46 New Mexico 6-1. They have won eight of nine matches.
▪ WSU softball went 4-0 at the South Alabama Invitational, outscoring opponents 29-8.
Highlights of the week ahead:
▪ The top-seeded Shockers (23-7) open MVC Tournament play at noon Friday (FSKC) against No. 8 Loyola or No. 9 Bradley in St. Louis. The Ramblers may be without guard Earl Peterson, who left Wednesday’s game against the Shockers with a toe injury and didn’t play Saturday in a loss to Drake.
▪ WSU’s women’s basketball team (7-20, 4-12 MVC) plays host to Illinois State (7-20, 5-11) on Thursday (7 p.m., ESPN3) and Indiana State (13-14, 9-7) on Saturday (2 p.m., ESPN3).
▪ Shockers baseball (2-5) plays Nebraska-Omaha (5-3) on Tuesday at Eck Stadium (3 p.m.). Sam Houston State (3-5) visits Eck for a three-game series starting Friday at 3. The Bearkats are coming off a sweep of Oklahoma in which they allowed eight runs in three games.
Monday’s reading recommendation:
The Washington Post: Duke sophomore guard Grayson Allen is a captivating basketball player and hellacious competitor who this season has been enabled to behave like a punk of the highest order. Allen is worthy of blame, and the real scorn should reside with Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski and Atlantic Coast Conference administrators for tacitly condoning Allen’s indefensible conduct.