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Wichita State will head into the NCAA tournament 34-0 as a No. 1 seed

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No. 2 Wichita State did it.

They won all 13 games in non-conference play, then won all 18 games in the Missouri Valley, and then won three more at Arch Madness in Saint Louis, taking home the MVC tournament title and becoming the first team since UNLV in 1991 to enter the NCAA tournament undefeated.

PHOTO: Epic typo on Wichita State’s MVC title shirts

Win No. 34 came against a scrappy Indiana State team that was good enough to notch a victory at Notre Dame earlier this season. The Sycamores were down by 15 points early in the second half, but they trimmed it to as close as four at one point down the stretch, but MVC Player of the Year Fred Van Vleet and Tekele Cotton were just too much, hitting run-quelling jumper after run-quelling jumper every time it seemed like Greg Lansing’s club was ready to make a push.

The 83-69 win means that the Shockers will be undefeated on Selection Sunday.

RELATED: Regardless of your opinion, appreciate the run Wichita State is making.

And that undefeated record will guarantee them a No. 1 seed when the brackets are released exactly one week from this moment.

We can argue the merits of that No. 1 seed if you like, and my guess would be that at least half of Wichita State’s ample and passionate fan base would understand, and agree, with their detractors. The fact of the matter is that the Shockers have not played all that tough of a schedule. They beat Texas, who likely won’t make it out of the first weekend. They beat BYU and Tennessee, two teams that might not even get make it onto the right side of the bubble. The win at Alabama looked better on their schedule in November than it does on their resume in March.

And while they stormed their way through the Valley, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that this season just so happened to coincide with Creighton leaving the conference and the rest of the perennial contenders being down.

All of that is a fair critique.

But none of it is going to matter in a week.

Because ‘0’ is a massive number. An undefeated record on Selection Sunday is something that we haven’t seen in 23 years, or the lifespan of a typical college senior, even one that redshirted a season. I’m not simply saying it should get Wichita State a No. 1 seed.

I’m telling you that it will.

MORE: Get to know all of the NCAA tournament’s automatic bids

Because what we haven’t mentioned yet is that the Shockers made the Final Four a season ago. That will lend some credibility and validity to this season’s record, even though it’s not supposed to. The people that fill out the bracket? The Selection Committee? They’re humans. They’re not machines. So when they look at Wichita State and they look at that undefeated record, it’s impossible not to think about what Gregg Marshall’s club accomplished a season ago.

That’s just the way it is.

The Shockers are going to be a No. 1 seed.

And they’re going to make a run at becoming college basketball’s first undefeated team since 1976.

As good as they’ve been, No. 3 Michigan State has yet to play their best

Bryn Forbes, Ryan Fazekas
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Sunday night’s Wooden Legacy title game matchup between No. 3 Michigan State and Providence was billed as a matchup of the nation’s two best players, and rightfully so. Michigan State senior Denzel Valentine (17 points, six rebounds, five assists), who already has two triple-doubles to his credit this season, and Providence redshirt junior Kris Dunn (21 points, five rebounds, seven assists) have more than lived up to the preseason expectations and more of the same was expected in Anaheim.

And while both had their moments, it was Michigan State’s supporting cast that made the difference in their 77-64 victory. The scary thing for future opponents on Michigan State’s schedule is that Tom Izzo’s team is nowhere near being a finished product.

With Valentine dealing with first-half foul trouble Bryn Forbes stepped up, scoring 13 of his 18 points to help the Spartans take a two-point lead into the half. As for the 11-0 run that Michigan State produced to take control of the game late, a host of players stepped forward in regards to scoring, rebounding and defending.

Freshmen Deyonta Davis and Matt McQuaid combined to score nine points over the final 5:32, with transfer guard Eron Harris adding six of his 12 points during that stretch. The Spartans outscored the Friars, who aren’t as deep, 22-7 during that stretch to close out the game, hunting for quality shots and hitting the offensive glass while making things difficult for Providence on the other end of the floor.

The end result was a final margin that does not indicate just how close the game was. While Providence seemed to run out of steam Michigan State received contributions from multiple players, which is undoubtedly a good sign for this group moving forward.

The Spartans will return the currently injured Gavin Schilling later this season, giving them another big man alongside Davis, Matt Costello and Colby Wollenman. He was a player they missed Sunday night, as he can defend opposing big men both in the post and on the perimeter. His absence was a main reason Michigan State didn’t have an answer for Providence’s Ben Bentil (20 points, seven rebounds) defensively.

The key for this group is going to end up being role definition, which is especially true in the case of Harris. A transfer from West Virginia, Harris came to East Lansing with the reputation of being a big time scorer. He’s struggled through the first two weeks of the season, but he got on a roll on Sunday night, finishing with 12 points, three boards and three assists. He showed he’s capable of doing a variety of things on the perimeter, and fitting into a “Swiss army knife” kind of role would make Michigan State that much more dangerous.

There’s no denying that Michigan State has been one of the nation’s best teams thus far.

But there’s also no denying that the Spartans have yet to hit their ceiling, which is definitely a positive moving forward.

Wichita State’s Anton Grady returns home with team

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Wichita State forward Anton Grady was released from a hospital in Orlando on Sunday afternoon in time to return home with his Shocker teammates.

Grady suffered a spinal corn concussion on Friday when he collided head-first with an Alabama defender, snapping his head sharply to the side. He lay on the court motionless for 10 minutes after the injury and was taken off the floor on a stretcher.

[RELATED: Can WSU still make tourney?]

“I want to send out a big thank you to Shocker Nation and all of my friends and family for of the love and encouragement that I have received the past few days,” Grady said in a statement on Sunday morning. “I’ve been reading your tweets and posts and appreciate every last one of them. I have a lot of work to do to get back on the court, but with the help of such a great support system, I’m ready for the challenge.”

By Friday night, Grady had feeling in all of his extremities, but he has a long road of rehab ahead of him.