Shockers are No. 12 in USA Today coaches poll

Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet (Courtesy: Wichita State)

WICHITA, Kansas – For the third-consecutive fall, Wichita State will open with a national ranking. The USA Today Coaches Poll – released Thursday morning – lists the Shockers at No. 12.

WSU’s 461 poll points are 10 fewer than a year ago, when the Shockers checked in at No. 11 in the preseason Coaches Poll.

That 2014-15 team moved as high as No. 8 (March 2) heading into the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.

The 2013-14 Shockers made a steady climb from No. 16 in the preseason list, cracking the top-10 in Week 5 (Dec. 2) and the top-5 in Week 11 (Jan. 13). They appeared at No. 2 six times over a seven-week span, beginning in Week 14 (Feb. 3).

WSU has appeared in a school-record 42 consecutive Coaches Polls, dating back to the final 2012-13 rankings, and 49 total weeks under Gregg Marshall.

Utah, which will face the WSU at a sold out INTRUST Bank Arena on Dec 12, opens at No. 16. Potential AdvoCare Invitational foe Notre Dame checks in at No. 18.

Xavier – which is also in the tournament field in Orlando – finished outside the Top-25 but earned 25 votes. Another non-conference opponent, Tulsa, earned one vote.

Voting is conducted by a panel of 32 coaches, representing each of the 32 Division I conferences.

The Associated Press Poll and preseason All-America teams will be released in the coming weeks, and WSU is expected to extend its streak of AP rankings to 40 weeks. Seniors Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet are also strong candidates for individual accolades.

By contrast, Marshall’s early Shocker teams – while talented – often faced an uphill climb in their battle for national respect.

WSU’s 2012-13 Final Four team flew under the radar for much of the year, thanks to injuries to key personnel. Aside from one three-week stretch in late January and early February, the Shockers spent the majority of the season on the list of “others receiving votes.”

The Shockers’ Final Four run helped jump them from just outside the top-25 to a No. 4 final ranking and opened the doors for future plaudits.

WSU’s first Coaches Poll ranking of the Marshall era came after a Bracket Buster’s win at Davidson lifted the Shockers’ record to 24-4. They made their debut two days later (Feb. 20, 2012) at No. 19 and spent the final four weeks of the regular season in the polls, moving as high as No. 14.

In the three decades prior to that, WSU had appeared in the Coaches Poll a total of seven weeks.

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