Wichita State kicked off its 2017 NCAA tournament run with a 64-58 win over the No. 7-seeded Dayton Flyers on Friday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, but few believe the Shockers qualify as a No. 10 seed.
"[They're] like a 4-seed, like a 4- or 5-seed maybe," Dayton head coach Archie Miller said after the game, per Myron Medcalf of ESPN.com. "Thirty-some wins, and you look at the numbers across the board. I mean, every coach studies the analytics.
"They're a team that can beat anybody on a neutral court at any time, and I wouldn't be surprised if they were pushing toward another second weekend. They're a great team, and they're really well-coached, maybe as fun of a team to prepare for as we've had."
As Miller noted, the analytics think highly of Wichita State.
Wichita State has outscored opponents by 19.6 points per game this year, including the postseason, for the second-highest margin in college basketball. And the eye test also seems to favor the Missouri Valley Conference team, which was No. 20 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll prior to Selection Sunday.
"Somehow, 20 divided by four equals 10, but that's OK," Shockers head coach Gregg Marshall said of his seed.
What held the team back was its RPI, which was only No. 31, and a strength of schedule that ranked 186th in the country, per ESPN. Aside from a 2-1 record against conference rival Illinois State, the team lost its other big matchups (Louisville, Michigan State and Oklahoma State).
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Still, it's clear this is a quality program that has reached a Final Four and a Sweet 16 in recent years despite relatively low seedings both times. While fans will always complain, Marshall noted Dayton was the team that suffered.
"I think Dayton deserved a better draw in this tournament," Marshall said after the win. "I'll finish with that."
Kentucky could be the next team that suffers, as the No. 2 seed will face Wichita State on Sunday in Round 2 in Indianapolis.