Wichita State recorded its own personal snuff film against Arizona last night to advance to the second round. The Shockers now face No. 3 Miami at 12:15 p.m. on Saturday. The veteran-laden Hurricanes present a difficult challenge. But perhaps the biggest obstacle to a deep Wichita State run is the NCAA and its scheduling decisions.
After losing to Northern Iowa in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament, Gregg Marshall’s club was sent to Dayton to play Vanderbilt in a First Four game on Tuesday night. A victory propelled them to Providence to play a tough Arizona team late Thursday night in a game that ended around midnight.
Now they’re being asked to turn around and play a game in 36 hours at 12:10pm ET, presumably because Wichita State-Miami doesn’t have the ratings pull of other matchups.
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Virginia and Butler, two teams who were done playing competitive basketball before dinner time on Thursday, don’t tip off until 7:10 p.m. Saturday.
Look, this isn’t some grand conspiracy theory trying to unearth an anti-WSU plot. Miami will enter with 2.5 more hours of rest so any advantage will be minimal. As an 11 seed, the Shockers shouldn’t necessarily be provided with a rose petal-lined path to the Final Four. It just strikes me as odd that they are forced to play a third NCAA Tournament game before everyone except Michigan (who may not still be in the field come tonight) has played two.
Perhaps it’s a blessing in disguise. Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet are clicking on all cylinders. Sometimes the best way to stay hot is to not have time to cool off.