The Wichita State Shockers think they're the best team in the state of Kansas, and for the first time since 1993, they'll get a chance to prove it. They'll play the Kansas Jayhawks on Sunday with more at stake than the title of Kansas' best team: the winner will head to Cleveland to play in the Sweet 16.
For the Jayhawks, this will be their chance to silent critics, who say they're ducking Wichita State. The No. 2 seed are favored to win against their in-state foes. Even if the last game between the two was in 1993, Kansas leads the all-time series 14-2 and has won the last five. Their top-10 defense should help: the Jayhawks are giving up just 91 points per 100 possessions according to KenPom.com ratings. Perry Ellis seems like he's been in school forever (he's just a junior), but he's a key to the Jayhawks' success, leading the team in scoring with 13.7 points per game. After beating New Mexico State in the Round of 64, they'll get a hungry Wichita State team for a chance to play in the Sweet 16.
Wichita State entered last season's tournament undefeated, but lost a heartbreaker to Kentucky in the Round of 32. As a No. 7 seed this season, expectations aren't as high, at least from the national audience. At 29-4, the Shockers once again had a great season. They lost Cleanthony Early to the NBA, but brought back point guard Fred Van Vleet, who runs the Shockers' precise, efficient offense. Van Vleet matched his career high of 27 points in a Round of 68 win over the Indiana Hoosiers. They're going to need to be efficient against Kansas, even as emotions are running high.
Sunday's winner will face off against Notre Dame in the Sweet 16. They'll be riding high as they best team in Kansas, ready to take on the best team from Indiana.
Time: 5:15 p.m. ET, on CBS
Place: CenturyLink Center, Omaha
Online: March Madness On Demand
Odds: Kansas -1.5