2014 Wichita State Shockers Predictions and NCAA Basketball Futures Odds
by Aaron Smith - 11/5/2014
Wichita State is going to have a really hard time repeating last year's amazing start. The Shockers went 35-0 in their first 35 games last season. Unfortunately for them, their first loss came at a really bad time. Wichita State lost to Kentucky in what was one of the best games of the entire NCAA Tournament last year. At the time it seemed like a bit of a bad loss since Kentucky was a No. 8 seed, but Kentucky went on to play in the NCAA Championship, and it's pretty obvious the Wildcats were no ordinary eight seed.
Wichita State has a tougher nonconference schedule this year , which should benefit them in the long run. There won't be a 35-0 start to the year, but it might help them be more prepared in the NCAA Tournament. You have to wonder if the fact that they didn't play in many competitive games last year didn't hurt them a little bit in that loss against Kentucky. Regardless, Wichita State has built up a tremendous program, and there are no signs of their success slowing down even a bit. Coach Gregg Marshall has stayed true to the program despite being heavily sought after by other schools. Marshall thinks that Wichita State can win it all, and he wants to be around to see it happen. How will the Shockers fare in the season ahead?
2014 Wichita State Key Losses & Additions
Cleanthony Early was the Shockers best player last year, and he always seemed to come up big when the Shockers needed it most. Early averaged 16.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. He was the ultimate stretch-four who could bang around down low or knock down shots from the outside. Early shot 55 percent from the floor in seven career NCAA Tournament games. He was one of the best athletes in the nation, and Wichita State will have a very difficult time replacing him. Kadeem Coleby and Chadrack Lufile shared time at the center spot, but both of them are gone this year. Neither of them was particularly skilled, but they both fit into the system well, and losing them hurts the frontcourt depth of Wichita State.
Tevin Glass is a junior college transfer who should get a lot of playing time right away. Marshall's teams rely on junior college transfers quite often, and it has worked out great. Glass is a guy who knows how to score around the bucket. Rashard Kelly and Shaq Morris will also provide depth in the frontcourt. Rian Holland and Corey Henderson are newcomers in the backcourt. Holland is a scorer who needs to add some bulk. Henderson is a potential backup point guard.
2014 Wichita State Backcourt
Fred VanVleet is one of the best point guards in the country. VanVleet's work ethic is praised by coaches and teammates alike. This is something that really serves this team well, because their point guard leads by example through offseason workouts and practices. VanVleet will likely become a bigger scorer this year with Early gone. He is by nature an unselfish guy, but VanVleet is a terrific outside shooter. His numbers should go up quickly this year. Ron Baker starts at the two-guard spot. Baker is a stat sheet stuffer. He is one of those guys that every coach would love to have on their team because he does everything well. Baker has the ability to handle the ball, and NBA scouts are looking at him as a potential point guard at that level. Baker is one of the best passers in the country, and he is a playmaker on the offensive end. Tekele Cotton will be third starter in the backcourt for the Shockers. Cotton was the Missouri Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year last season. Marshall wants him to be more aggressive on offense this year. Holland and Henderson should get a decent amount of minutes right away with their skill sets fitting in well here. This is a really good backcourt.
2014 Wichita State Frontcourt
Wichita State has a lot of guys on the roster with talent in the frontcourt, but very few of them have experience. Darius Carter will start at the center spot. He's a bit undersized for that position, but he's the lone guy with any real experience. Coach Marshall believes Carter's success or failure this season will be a good predictor of how far this Wichita State team can go. Evan Wessel will play the three and probably be the first man off the bench most of the time. Wessel was thought to be a good long-range shooter, but he had a nightmare season shooting the ball last year. Wessel missed his first 20 three-pointers last year, and he never got his confidence back. He continued to play because of his hustle, but he has to shoot it better this year. Glas, Kelly, and Morris should all get plenty of chances at the four and five spots. Morris has a high upside, but his conditioning has been an issue. The frontcourt is a bit of a question mark.
2014 Wichita State Futures Odds
Wichita State is ranked No. 11 in the preseason polls, but the oddsmakers don't think they should be considered one of the favorites this year.Sportsbook.ag has them listed at +3,500 to win the NCAA Championship. Bovada has them listed at +2,800 to cut down the nets.
2014 Wichita State Shockers Predictions & NCAA Basketball Picks
I really like Marshall, and the job he is doing here at Wichita State is tremendous. I'm very concerned about their frontcourt, though. VanVleet, Baker, and Cotton are going to dominate in the backcourt, but the Shockers will miss Early in a serious way. Wichita State might get a better matchup and go a little farther in the Big Dance this year, but they shouldn't be a serious title contender.
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