Wichita State’s perfect season might get a stern test before the Shockers reach the Sweet 16.
An expected No. 1 seed, Wichita State, 34-0, will open play Friday in St. Louis against No. 16-seeded Texas Southern or Cal Poly. Those teams will play Wednesday in Dayton, Ohio.
Assuming the Shockers don’t become the first top seed to lose to a No. 16, a fascinating round-of-32 game awaits.
Eighth-seeded Kentucky, 24-10, takes on ninth-seeded Kansas State, 20-12, which means the Shockers will either meet one of the game’s bluest bloods or a home-state program that it hasn’t played in more than a decade.
“It’s a stacked bracket, but we didn’t anticipate an easy task,” Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall said.
There’s nothing easy about the Midwest. The No. 2 seed is Michigan, which won the Big Ten regular-season title.
The No. 3 seed is Duke, which fell in the final of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament Sunday, and the No. 4 is Louisville, which may be the most underseeded team in the field.
The Midwest includes three teams that were in last year’s Final Four: Wichita State, Michigan and Louisville. The Cardinals defeated both the Shockers and the Wolverines on their way to the national title.
The region also has three of the last four national champions. Kentucky won the 2012 championship, and Duke won in 2010.
Action in the Midwest starts early. Three opening-round games feed into the region. North Carolina State meets Xavier on the No. 12-seed line with the winner meeting No. 5 seed Saint Louis in the round of 64. Iowa takes on Tennessee in an No. 11-seed game with the survivor playing No. 6 seed Massachusetts.
This marks the fourth year of the additional games, and in each of the first three, a play-in team advanced to the Sweet 16.Best matchup
It probably won’t be the best game, but it will teacher vs. student when No. 4 Louisville plays No. 13 Manhattan. Jaspers coach Steve Masiello, played for Rick Pitino as a freshman at Kentucky and was a coach for him for six years at Louisville. “I don’t know who (the selection committee) is having fun with, but it’s not fun for me,” Masiello said.Upset special
No. 11 Tennessee over No. 6 Massachusetts
Look for Tennessee, which threw a big scare into Florida in the SEC semifinals to beat Iowa in Dayton, and then the Minutemen.Player to watch
Louisville guard Russ Smith, an All-American, has been here before, helping the Cards win last year’s title.