College basketball handicappers universally agree Wichita State got a raw deal being dropped to a No.7 seed after being a Top 15 all season and posting high RPI number throughout the year.
Will this fuel the Shockers to greater heights being snubbed from being a higher seed and if that might be true, will 10-seed Indiana be the recipient of a beatdown by an angry opponent and something you should use for sports picks? Here is everything you need to know about this matchup in the Midwest Regional to make NCAA tournament picks.
Wichita State Report
It is no shock the Shockers (28-4, 17-13-1 ATS) are back in the tournament led by their terrific guard tandem of Ron Baker (15.2 PPG, 4.5 RPG) and Fred Van Vleet (12.5 PPG, 5.4 APG). In this event, having experience top flight guards is big plus and match them with a great coach like Gregg Marshall who always has the right pulse on his team, this is a super combination.
The biggest difference between this squad and the one that entered the tourney last season unbeaten is Cleanthony Early is now with the New York Knicks and Wichita State lacks an NBA-level talent in the paint, which will eventually matter.
Offensively, Wichita State has a balanced attack with Baker, Van Vleet and Darius Carter all in double digits. Van Vleet is a crafty ball-handler and if a teammate is open, he will make a great delivery. The focus of their offense is setting ball-screens and to set up perimeter jump shots or driving into the paint for layups or dishes for dunks.
Defensively, this tough-minded troop plays man to man with Van Vleet a tenacious on-ball defender and two-time MVC Defensive Player of Year Tekele Cotton takes the opposing opponent's top perimeter threat.
The Shockers are 13-4 and 9-8 ATS away from home and one of the losses came in their last outing to Illinois State which is what precipitated their seeding fall. Because of their lack of height, Wichita State is vulnerable inside and if their big suffer foul problems they become more beatable.
The vast majority of teams entering the NCAA Tournament are on a upswing, but not Indiana (20-13, 15-17 ATS), who went from a lock to bubble trouble by finishing the season 5-9 SU and ATS and had restless Hoosiers fans calling for coach Tom Crean to walk the plank.
Indiana started the season with anxiety, with player issues on and off the court and expectations went from positive to negative in a hurry. But Crean was able to control the situation and the Hoosiers defied the college basketball betting odds by starting 15-4 and were rolling in the later stages of January on a four-game conference win streak.
The offense was being driven by the three guard tandem of Yogi Ferrell, James Blackmon Jr. and Robert Johnson. However, this offense was being fueled by deep shots and despite Indiana making 9.3 treys per contest on 40.3 percent accuracy, the off adage of - living and dying by the three – started to work against Crean’s crew once another element was exploited by opposing teams.
Indiana started falling behind in Big Ten contests and continually tried to bomb their way back in, instead of playing better defense. The Hoosiers not very good on that end of the floor to begin with and matters got worse which is why they finished 287th in points allowed (71.4), 297th in steals (5.1 PG) and 200th in blocked shots (3.2 PG).
The Hoosiers are 5-9 and 7-7 ATS outside Bloomington.
What Outcome to Expect in this 7 vs. 10 Confrontation
The sportsbooks made Wichita State a 4.5 point favorite with a total of 138 and the NCAA Tournament odds have changed to the Shockers to -5.5 and a higher total of 140.
Indiana has a chance because they can start dropping 3’s at a rapid rate, unfortunately for them, coach Marshall has the superior defensive squad and perimeter defense to force difficult attempts and will play the –respect card – (or disrespect in this case) and my guess be extremely focused versus a wobbly foe.
NCAA Tournament Pick: The Shockers win and cover and look forward to facing Kansas on Saturday.