The Wichita State Shockers made history Sunday, finishing the season with a perfect 34-0 record after defeating the Indiana State Sycamores by a score of 83-69. Wichita State joins the 1990-91 UNLV Rebels as the only Division I teams to begin a season with such a record.
SHOCKERS ARE PERFECT! Wichita State wins Missouri Valley Championship; 2nd team in NCAA history to start season 34-0. pic.twitter.com/91AP4MrO5o— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 9, 2014
It wasn't easy for the Shockers to accomplish this feat. With 10 minutes left to play, Indiana State trailed by only five points. However, Wichita State responded with solid decision-making and some beautiful strokes from Fred VanVleet.
It's official. WIchita State will be the first team since UNLV in 1991 to enter the NCAA tournament undefeated. I feel lucky to watch them.— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) March 9, 2014
The Sycamores knocked down some threes, again cutting the Shockers' lead to single digits with three minutes to play, but VanVleet and co. proved to be just too much for Indiana State to handle and cruised to victory.
Despite the clinic that VanVleet put on during Sunday's contest, it was Wichita State's depth that once again propelled the team to victory:
Five different players—including one off the bench in Darius Carter—put up double-digit points. The team combined to net 45 percent of its shots from the floor, including connecting on 40.9 percent from three-point range.
Indiana State shot a dismal 41.1 percent from the floor but compensated for it with an impressive 42.1 percent from behind the arc. What hurt the Sycamores, though, was their inability to attack and convert in the paint.
Regardless, Wichita State's 83-point output would have been difficult for any team to overcome.
This Wichita State team reminds me of the Jameer Nelson/Delonte West St. Joe's squad. Few future pros, star pg, great team bball. Likeable.— P. Schrager (@PSchrags) March 9, 2014
The win should secure Wichita State as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, where it will look to prove that its record-setting campaign is no fluke. The Shockers have not played a ranked team this season; however, they have consistently dominated opponents and earned decisive victories throughout.
"This team is going to be remembered 50 years from now," Missouri Valley Conference commissioner Doug Elgin said, according to USA Today's Eric Prisbell. "The real tantalizing question now? Can they run the table—40-0?"
Still, their schedule has forced some to be critical of the team's success, like Adam Beasley of The Miami Herald:
Wichita State played three RPI top 75 teams. Three.— Adam Beasley (@AdamHBeasley) March 9, 2014
Even though Wichita State has now won 34 straight games, it appears as though it still has plenty to prove.
The Shockers will certainly be a major force heading into tournament action, as they have all of the necessary tools to run the table.
A deep team, a tough mentality, loads of confidence and the longest hot streak in the nation are all in the team's favor. If that's not enough, its No. 13-ranked scoring defense and surging offense will be difficult to overcome for any opponent.
Expect the Wichita State Shockers to provide plenty more vivid memories as they embark on an NCAA tournament run.