Wichita State still had something to be angry about on Selection Sunday.
The second-ranked Shockers landed the first No. 1 seed in school history and will start their pursuit of a second straight Final Four on Friday in St. Louis, where they ran their record to 34-0 by winning the Missouri Valley tournament last weekend.
That’s where the reward for their record-setting season ended, though. They were placed in a loaded region that includes second-seeded Michigan, third-seeded Duke and fourth-seeded Louisville, which beat the Shockers en route to last year’s national championship.
Relying on their motto of “play angry,” Wichita State became the first school to reach the NCAA tournament unbeaten since UNLV in 1991. Gregg Marshall’s team will open against the winner of a First Four game between Big West champion Cal Poly and SWAC champion Texas Southern.
If the Shockers advance, they would face the No. 8 seed Kentucky or No. 9 seed Kansas State, which rarely plays Wichita State despite being just a few hours away.
The region includes two other First Four games involving bubble teams: No. 12 seeds North Carolina State and Xavier will play for the right to face No. 5 seed Saint Louis, and No. 11 seeds Iowa and Tennessee will meet in Dayton, Ohio, for a shot at No. 6 seed Massachusetts.
In other games, Michigan will open against No. 15 seed Wofford, Duke will face No. 14 seed Mercer and seventh-seeded Texas will face No. 10 seed Arizona State.
The Wolverines lost to Louisville in last year’s national championship game.
The seeding of the Cardinals (29-5) may have been the biggest surprise of the bracket. Many thought they would be a second or third seed, and coach Rick Pitino — admittedly biased — said that he thought his team had done enough to warrant the fourth No. 1 seed after winning five straight and 12 of their last 13 games, including the inaugural American Athletic Conference title.
The NCAA selection committee thought differently.
“You look at the number four line and we have some great teams,” said committee chairman Ron Wellman. “We look at the total resume, though. Right now, if you ask anybody, Louisville is playing as well as anyone, and the committee certainly agrees with that. However, we look at the total body of work, comparing everything they did from November through March.”