2018 Wichita State Shockers Basketball Predictions with Odds and Expert Picks
We have become very used to Wichita State being a very good team. They have made the NCAA Tournament seven years in a row, done damage more than once, and have one of the best coaches in the country in Gregg Marshall. They do more with less than any team out there on a regular basis. But this is a bit of a different year for the Shockers. They were upset in the first round of the tournament last year, losing to Marshall as a No. 4 seed. And since then their roster has gone through an absolutely insane overhaul - the team has lost nine of their scholarship players from last year, and that represents nearly 90 percent of their minutes. Marshall is essentially starting over, and now we will really get a chance to see how good he is. As you'll see in a bit, oddsmakers respect him despite the changes.
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Wichita State Shockers Additions/Losses
Basically, if you can name a Shocker from last year then he is gone. Point guard Landry Shamet was drafted 26th overall by Philadelphia. He led the team in scoring and assists last year and played the most minutes while posting the best three-point percentage. All-AAC forward Shaquille Morris, the second-leading scorer, is playing in Japan. Third-leading scorer Conner Frankamp graduated. Darral Willis Jr., Rashard Kelly, Zach Brown and Rauno Nurger all graduated. Austin Reaves transferred to Oklahoma, and C.J. Keyser to North Carolina Central. In all, 11 guys played at least 18 games for the Shockers last year. Only two remain, and both are seniors. The turnover is just incredible.
With that many departures, there are obviously plenty of new faces. Two projected starters are new to the roster. Forward Rod Brown is a freshman coming off his redshirt and has a chance to be the best defender the team has already. And Ricky Torres was a Juco All-American last year and will likely be one of two point guards who start beside each other in the backcourt. Another Juco addition, center Jaime Echenique, will be relied on off the bench for his rebounding.
Incredibly, the team added six other freshmen - four guards and two guys of varying sizes listed as centers in their recruiting profiles. We'd be here all day if we went over all of them, but here's what matters - big man Morris Udeze, the highest-rated recruit, will get a chance to play when two bigs go in or in spot duty otherwise, and center Isaiah Chandler and guards Chance Moore and Erik Stevenson could earn time as well.
Wichita State Shockers Outlook
Alongside Brown and Torres, the likely starters feature three guys with varying playing experience. Point guard Samajae Haynes-Jones averaged just 11 minutes a game last year, getting less time as the season went along. Someone has to know what is going on, though, so he should be a leader here. He and Torres will likely play together, which will add real versatility. Markis McDuffie, a wing, played nearly 20 minutes a game last year, so he is a veteran on this squad. His minutes might not go up that much, though, because Marshall likes to play two bigs in a more traditional look often times. And Asbjorn Midtgaard, who sounds like a Viking king, played only 49 minutes last year. He's seven-feet tall and fairly agile, though, so the Danish sophomore should fit in well for Marshall. So, in total they will have three starters with experience - none more than 19 minutes a game - and a bench made up of new faces. Strange times in Wichita.
Wichita State Shockers Schedule
There are tough tests for a team like this in nonconference play. They head to the Charleston Classic for their preseason tournament, where they could run into Davidson, Purdue, and Virginia Tech or Alabama if they make it to the finals. Later they play Baylor, Oklahoma, Southern Miss, Oral Roberts and VCU. They have a chance to make a few statements, but if they aren't ready for primetime it could be a tough road. It's definitely a schedule set more for what they were than what they currently are.
AAC play is balanced for them, with no more than two road games in a row.
Wichita State Shockers Futures Odds
Despite all the change and uncertainty, Bovada has the Shockers at +5500 to win the national title. That has them behind only 17 teams and tied with Florida and Purdue. It certainly feels like their reputation has been in play there.
Wichita State Shockers Predictions
I have no idea how to make predictions about a roster with this much upheaval. None. If everyone meshes well, they could be fine. Perhaps better than fine. But the floor could be pretty low, too. If they continue their tournament streak, I will be truly impressed. The potential range is very wide. All I do know is that that futures price is insanity, and not in a good way.
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