Shockers dance begins in Indianapolis

Wichita State Sports

WICHITA – Wichita State returns to the NCAA Men’s Basketball championship bracket for a school-record sixth-consecutive year as the No. 10 seed in the South Region.

The Shockers (30-4 and ranked No. 20 in the latest Associated Press Poll) will tip off Friday in Indianapolis against No. 7 seed Dayton (24-7) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Start times and network assignments will be announced later this evening.

The winner of WSU-Dayton takes on either No. 2 Kentucky (29-5) or No. 15 Northern Kentucky (24-10) in Sunday’s Second Round. South Regional play continues the following weekend with Sweet 16 (Friday, March 24) and Elite Eight (Sunday, March 26) matchups in Memphis, Tenn.

Dayton leads the all-time series with the Shockers, 2-0, though both meetings took place over half-a-century ago. Dayton won a 79-71 decision in New York in the first round of the 1962 NIT and claimed a 42-19 victory in Dayton on Dec. 17, 1941.

WSU and Kentucky have played just once — a memorable Round of 32 matchup in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats, seeded No. 8, upset the top-seeded Shockers, 78-76, on their way to a national runner-up finish.

WSU and Northern Kentucky have never made on the hardwood.

This is the 14th overall NCAA Tournament bid for WSU. The Shockers are 17-14 all-time, with Final Four appearances in 1965 and 2013.

Since reaching the National Semifinal in 2013, WSU has been one of the tournament’s most successful teams. The Shockers’ nine wins over that four-year stretch are tied for the fourth-most, alongside Syrcause, North Carolina and Michigan State. Only Louisville, Duke and Wisconsin (11-each) have won more.

Gregg Marshall is one of just nine coaches with six-or-more NCAA Tournament appearances as multiple schools. He went seven times at Winthrop and will make his sixth in 10 seasons at WSU.

After losing All-American guards Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet to the NBA, many expected a rebuilding year out of WSU. Instead the team far exceeded expectations.

The 2016-17 Shockers reached the 30-win mark for the fourth time in five years and enter postseason play on a 15-game winning streak (the second-longest streak in school history). In February, they returned to the national rankings and claimed a share of their fourth consecutive Missouri Valley Conference regular season crown. In March, they won the MVC Tournament title for only the second time in the last three decades, taking all three games by double-figures.

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