Welcome to the Valley
The Missouri Valley conference had a great game for the regular season championship between the #11 Wichita State Shockers and #10 Northern Iowa. Wichita State walked out triumphant, 74-60, winning their 2nd straight MVC regular season title.
I don't think we can really consider these two teams as mid-majors anymore. They are the top dogs in a weak conference but they have some talented players. The Shockers have the seniors with the best win percentage, Tekele Cotton and Darius Carter, who combined for 22 points Saturday, and juniors, Evan Wessel, Fred Vanvleet, and Ron Baker. All 5 of those players were apart of the 32-0 squad from last season and are big reason for the rise of this program.
The Shockers revenged their January 31st loss to the Panthers with some high-energy play. They played better on the boards this games, only 26 in the first matchup, 32 today. Coach Marshall contributed his team's defense as a factor in their victory, and I agree with him. The Panthers took a lot of shots today, but the Shockers held them to 47% which is a big difference from the 60% they allowed in January.
I'm very curious to where the selection committee will place these two teams on the Bracket. I think both are worthy of at least a #4 Seed and whoever wins the MVC tourney title, deserves a #2 seed. Both teams are ranked top 15 in the RPI, the college basketball version of the BCS, so I don't see why either one couldn't be considered for a #2 seed.
Only reason why I used RPI rankings is because it's the "system" the committee likes to use when selecting teams for the Big Dance. I hope the mid-major talk does not come up for these teams because they have good rankings in the committee's created system.
Sometimes these computer calculated rankings could overthrow human voters in the AP. Last year if you recall, SMU didn't make the tournament even though they were ranked in the top 25. They didn't win their conference tournament, being eliminated by Houston, finishing the season with 23 wins. Being ranked #54 in the RPI, unfortunately, costed them a trip to the NCAA Tournament. We see this type of snubbing every season from the committee. But like the BCS, if this is the system that is used, we'll see this type of robbery every season.