Location: Wichita, KS
Conference: Missouri Valley
Coach: Gregg Marshall
Record: 28-4 (17-1 MVC)
Kenpom ranking: 14
Good wins: vs. Northern Iowa, vs. Alabama
Bad losses: vs. George Washington, vs. Illinois State
Tournament appearances: 11 (Current streak: 4)
Best result: Final Four (twice, most recently 2013)
NBA alumni: Cleanthony Early, Antoine Carr, Xavier McDaniel
Best name: Rauno Nurger
Celebrity alumni: Bill Parcells, Pizza Hut founders Dan & Frank Carney
The Shockers' 2013 Final Four run was a (ugh, sorry, I know we got all these puns out of our system then, but) shock, but Wichita State has proven themselves a powerhouse, not a one-off Cinderella. If anything, the surprise about WSU's season is that the squad *did* lose games, including an MVC tourney game against Illinois State that cost them the conference title. The Shocks played evenly against elite squads, going 1-1 against UNI and losing in OT to Utah.
Style of play: Under control
With Fred VanVleet running the point, things go according to plan. Opponents only steal the ball from the Shockers on 6.1 percent of opposing possessions, fewest in the nation, in large part due to VanVleet's unshakeable precision. The Shockers are equally good on offense and defense -- they're ranked 19th in efficiency nationwide in both categories.
Key Player: VanVleet Foxes
When the Shockers are on offense, Fred VanVleet is in complete composed control, pinpoint precision in a point guard. A preseason All-American, the junior point guard is a smooth shooter, a smooth passer, smooth out of the pick-and-roll and rarely turns the ball over in spite of being the team's primary ballhandler. Oh, and he'll cross you.
Wichita State's team name is the Shockers. It refers to shocking -- harvesting -- wheat. Their mascot is anthropomorphic wheat. As you may know, "the shocker" is a hand sign simulating a rather graphic sex act. Wichita State fans have adopted this symbol to the point that it's on the cover of SI or any ESPN broadcast of a WSU game. This is an earnest congratulations to Wichita State fans for making a sex gesture so commonplace nobody bats an eye.