Wichita State Shockers Odds to Win the 2014 NCAA Tournament with Picks and Predictions
by George Monroy - 3/11/2014
The Wichita State Shockers ended the season with a perfect 34-0 record and became the first team in 23 years to enter the NCAA Tournament undefeated. The UNLV Runnin' Rebels completed the feat in 1991, but they did not win the national title as they were eventually eliminated from the tournament by the Duke Blue Devils. The Shockers, however, will have a chance to become the first undefeated National Champion since coach Bob Knight's Indiana Hoosier ran the table in 1976.
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Wichita State may not have faced an AP Top 25 team all season, but the squad plays elite-level defense and already proved that it can play with the big conference teams during last year's Final Four run that ended with its close, four-point loss to the eventual champion Louisville Cardinals. Let's take a closer look at Wichita State's national title futures odds with picks, analysis and predictions. All odds come from Sportsbook.ag.
Wichita State 2014 NCAA Tournament Story Lines
Wichita State has been lightning rod for debate all season. The team has a talented and experienced roster, but it does not play in one of college basketball's power conferences and in turn does not get the respect that it deserves-or it gets too much respect, in the eyes of some fans and experts. The center of the debate is Wichita State's schedule, which does not include any ranked opponents and is mainly composed of games played against the Missouri Valley Conference.
The Shockers undefeated season will surely get them one of the four No. 1 regional seeds, but it will probably not be enough to earn the squad the overall No. 1 ranking in the nation-if the moniker means anything to the team at all. And that is where the debate lies-some believe the team should be the No.1 overall seed, while others believe the team does not deserve a top ranking.
Either way, what is lost in all the Wichita State discussion is that the team already proved it has a legitimate squad with last season's Final Four run. This season, however, the Shockers are even better and play elite-level defense to boot. Senior Cleanthony Early leads the team with 15.8 points and 5.9 rebounds per game, while sophomore guard Ron Bakers adds 13.1 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game.
Wichita State 2014 NCAA Tournament Odds and Key Trends
Wichita State is receiving the +1000 national title odds at Sportsbook.ag and is leading the group of second-tier favorites that are getting anywhere from +1000 to +1600 odds from the sportsbooks. The team ended the regular season with a 24-6-1 overall ATS record and a 16-14 totals record. Wichita State has covered eight straight spreads and is 9-1 ATS in its last 10 matchups. The squad is also 8-1 over its last nine double-digit spreads.
On offense, the team is ranked 66th in points scored with 75.5 per game, 89th in field goal percentage at 45.9, and 26th in rebounding with an average of 38.8 per game. The Shockers, however, have been one of the best defensive teams in the nation all season, and they are ranked 12th in points allowed with 59.6, 14th in opponents field goal percentage at 39.2 and allow the fourth-fewest rebounds in the nation with only 26 per game.
Wichita State Odds to Win the 2014 NCAA Tournament Picks and Predictions
Wichita State might not be getting the respect of the oddsmakers, but the team's +1000 odds should definitely get the attention of bettors looking to find some value during this year's NCAA Tournament. This year's bracket is expected to be a deep pool full of talented teams, yet there are no truly great teams as in year's past.
Last season the Shockers were eliminated by a powerhouse Louisville team. However, as good as Florida is this season, Wichita State will not face a squad of that caliber during 2014's tournament. Wichita States plays excellent defense, which is the reason why it will have so much value to win the tournament. Do not be shocked if Wichita State runs the table and become the first undefeated National Champion in nearly 40 years.
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Read more articles by George Monroy