The term Mid Major get thrown around a lot these days when referring to teams who play outside of the
six top conferences in College Basketball. Over the years, mid major darlings like Gonzaga, Butler, Creighton, and Memphis
have made the jump from Cinderella to perennial powerhouse. With a Final Four run in 2013, the Wichita State Shockers can
officially add themselves to the list of mid major programs who have earned their national spotlight. After this historic
tournament runs, the Shockers will no longer be an underdog and may find that the target is now on their back, especially
with a preseason ranking of #16 in the country. When the 2014 season opens for the Shockers, they will be tested December
14 by a very good Tennessee team, who beat the Shockers in Knoxville last year. The Vols have an abundance of talent returning
this year, making this preseason matchup at the Charles Koch Arena one to circle on your calendar.
With last years Missouri
Valley Conference winner Creighton off to the Big East, the Wichita State Shockers are the toast of the conference. When the
regular season tips off, look for a showdown with the third place Northern Iowa Panthers as an early sign of who will take
over the top spot vacated by Creighton. This exciting matchup on January 5 is a great way to get the season started.
February 22, the Shockers will host the Drake Bulldogs, who come to the Charles Koch Arena as a high scoring team that is
incredibly fun to watch. Shocker fans pack the arena to the rafters for everyone home game, and this end of the season match
up will be no different.
The Missouri Valley Conference is one of the nation's oldest, founded
in 1907. 10 midwest schools make up this prestigious conference, which over the years has left quite a mark on the college
basketball landscape. The 2014 Missouri Valley Conference will look a little different than in pervious years, as most conferences
across the country have realigned. The loss of last years MVC champion Creighton to the new Big East Conference should shift
the balance of power and could greatly benefit the Wichita State Shockers, who made their own incredible run all the way to
the Final Four. They are sure to get everyone's best game, as the remaining members of the Missouri Valley Conference are
sure to gun for the top of the conference themselves.
For years the rivalry between Missouri
Valley Conference foes Wichita State and Creighton has brewed, with both fanbases having an equal amount of distaste for the
other. Since their first meeting in 1946, the two teams have battled through many close games and nail biters, with six games
being decided in the final seconds. Both sides can point to bad officiating, cheap shots, and missed opportunities, all fueling
this mid major rivalry that was deemed the #17 nastiest rivalry in college basketball. The unfortunate side effect of the
conference realignment is that Creighton has now moved on to the Big East, severing their annual meetings with the Shockers.
Their passionate fanbases can only hope that the schools athletic departments can find a non conference game to keep this
incredible rivalry alive.
The Wichita State Shockers have enjoyed a very nice NCAA
Tournament resume over the years, with 10 tournament appearances in the school's history. Their most successful run came in
the 2013 season, when the Shockers, well... shocked the world and made it all the way to the Final Four. After receiving an
at large bid into the tournament, Wichita State was the first 9 seed to make the Final Four. They opened the tournament with
a win over the 8th seeded Pittsburgh Panthers where senior guard Malcolm Armstead lead the squad with 22 points and 5 assists.
The Shockers then upset the #1 seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs in a showdown of mid major teams and a thrilling game led by strong
performances by Cleanthony Early and Ron Baker, who both finished with 16 points. In the Sweet Sixteen, the Shockers another
upstart mid major in the La Salle Explorers at the Staples Center, in a game Wichita State won easily 72-58. Shocking the
world by getting to the Elite Eight, the Shockers' next opponent was the talented #2 seed Ohio State Buckeyes. Thanks to another
great performance by Malcolm Armstead, who added 14 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists, the Shockers upset the Buckeyes 70-66
to advance to their very first Final Four. In the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, the Shockers finally fell to the #1 overall team
in the tournament and ultimate champion Louisville Cardinals, despite an impressive game by Cleanthony Early, who added 24
points and 10 rebounds. Though the Cinderella run ended short of the championship game, the Wichita State Shockers proved
that they can play with, and beat, some of the best teams in the country, which should help them shed the Cinderella name.
Definitely an unconventional sports mascot, what exactly is a Shocker?
A shocker, as people
in Kansas know well, is someone who shocks, or harvests wheat. The story goes that in the early 1900's many students shocked
wheat during the summer break as a means of paying their tuition.