Wichita State has been the talk of college basketball this season, with an unbeaten record of 33-0 and a No. 2 ranking in both the AP and Coaches polls. The Shockers will have their hands full with the Indiana State Sycamores, the two seed in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, on Sunday in the conference title game.
The Shockers are the first team to finish a season undefeated since 2003-04 when Saint Joseph's went 27-0. Now, they will try to move into the NCAA Tournament without dropping their conference championship game in an effort to secure a No. 1 seed during March Madness.
Wichita State's RPI sits at a healthy No. 6, but its overall strength of schedule (99) has some doubting the Shockers will garner a top spot in a bracket. Their current run through the MVC Tournament should help them in the eyes of the selection committee, as they have won both their games by more than 20 points heading into their matchup with Indiana State.
Leading scorer Cleanthony Early has been dominant during the tournament, racking up 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting, adding five rebounds, two blocks and a steal during the Shockers' win, 67-42, over Missouri State in the semifinal. Look for guard Fred VanVleet play an important role in moving the ball for the Shockers, getting his teammates in position to score early against the Sycamores.
For Indiana State, Sunday will be a chance to redeem itself after playing the Shockers close in a loss at home, 65-58, on Feb. 5. The Sycamores barely scraped by on their way to the conference championship game after they beat Southern Illinois on a late-game tip-in to advance.
Jake Odum will be the player to watch on the wing as Indiana State's leading scorer at 13.3 points per game. Odum has logged games of 20 and 18 points in the Sycamores' two games in the tournament, and the Shockers will have to prepare for him as he tries to score from behind the arc and at the free throw line.
Indiana State has been adept at scoring this season at 71.3 points per game, but went on a three-game slide entering the MVC where it never cracked 70 points. Look for sophomore Khristian Smith to try and supplement Odum on the offensive end. Defensively, Wichita State is one of the best teams in the country at keeping its opponent off the glass, so the Sycamores will need to really concentrate on crashing down low if they want to get a look at extra opportunities.
With a record of 23-9, including 12-6 in the MVC, the Sycamores aren't pushovers. They will need to bring everything they've got in order to beat on the of the best teams in college basketball and prevent the perfect cap to the perfect season by the Wichita State Shockers.
The game will tip at 2:05 p.m. ET Sunday on CBS.