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

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34-0.

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.

Villanova beats Duke, Kansas, Indiana for Jermaine Samuels

Atlanta, GA - MAY 27: Nike EYBL. Session 4. Jermaine Samuels, Jr. #23 of Expressions Elite dunks. (Photo by Jon Lopez)
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Villanova landed a commitment from top 50 prospect Jermaine Samuels on Saturday.

Samuels is a tough and athletic 6-foot-5 wing that will remind many Wildcat fans of Josh Hart. He’s got the same kind of versatility and nose for the ball that will let him guard perimeter players as well as work in as a small-ball four. Players like this are a specialty of Jay Wright.

Samuels picked up an offer from Duke recently and also had Indiana, Kansas and Georgetown in his top five. Beating out blue-bloods for a prospect like this is quite the statement for Villanova, one that should tell you the reigning national champs are here to stay as a national power.

Syracuse lands critical piece in Andrew White

LINCOLN, NE - FEBRUARY 3: Andrew White #3 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers shoots the ball over Rasheed Sulaimon #0 of the Maryland Terrapins during their game at Pinnacle Bank Arena on February 3, 2016 in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
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Syracuse has found their replacement for Malachi Richardson.

On Sunday, Nebraska transfer Andrew White committed to the Orange, picking Syracuse, in the end, over VCU. White is a graduate transfer who spent last season with Nebraska, where he averaged 16.2 points while shooting 41.2 percent from three. A top 50 prospect out of Virginia back in the Class of 2012, White played a limited role for Kansas his first two seasons in college.

This is a significant pickup for the Orange, one that legitimately puts them into the conversation as a Final Four contender and a threat to finish at or near the top of the ACC. Jim Boeheim has put together a roster full of talented, long and athletic front court players, but after Richardson declared for the NBA Draft as a one-and-done freshman, he was left with just two back court players on his roster.

Earlier this offseason, Cuse landed Colorado State grad transfer John Gillon, a 6-foot-1 combo-guard, to reinforce their back court. The addition of White gives them a lights-out shooter and a big-time scorer on the wing, something that would have been a major void on their roster.

With Paschal Chukwu getting eligible at the center spot and Tyler Lydon likely landing on every breakout player list this preseason, the Orange should be a markedly better team than the one that made their way to the Final Four last season.

Arizona lands first commitment in 2017 class

Alex Barcello (Jon Lopez/Nike)
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Arizona landed their first commitment in the Class of 2017 on Friday night as point guard Alex Barcello pledged to Sean Miller and the Wildcats.

Barcello is a 6-foot-2 point guard from Tempe who plays his high school ball for Corona del Sol. He committed to the Wildcats on an official visit to the Tucson campus.

Barcello is a borderline top 100 prospect who sits at No. 123 in the Rivals top 150. He’s known for his ability to shoot, and he’s more of a combo-guard — i.e. shoot-first — than a point guard at times, but he’s a nice pickup and projects as a solid four-year player for the Wildcats.

Virginia, Indiana, Stanford and Butler were the other four schools on Barcello’s list.

Duke lands first commitment in 2017 class

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Alex O’Connell knew exactly where he wanted to play his college ball, which is why, just two days after picking up an offer from Coach K and the Blue Devils, he became Duke’s first recruit in the Class of 2017.

O’Connell announced the on twitter on Friday afternoon:

O’Connell is a four-star prospect from Georgia that had a terrific summer, going from being a borderline top 75 prospect to a player that caught the interest of Duke, who, along with Kentucky, sit atop the college recruiting hierarchy. He’s an explosively athletic and lanky 6-foot-6 wing with three-point range on his jumper. He needs to add some weight and some strength — he’s listed as a crisp 175 pounds — but he has the tools, and the swagger, to develop into a very effective player in the ACC.

Is he a one-and-done prospect?

Probably not. In fact, since 2010, Duke has landed just two players that were rated lower than O’Connell: Antonio Vrankovic and Jack White. If you know who both of them are, you’re probably either Jon Scheyer or lying.

But what O’Connell is is a kid who put in the work to get better this past year and who has the skill set, the physical tools and work ethic to continue to improve. He may not be on Grayson Allen’s trajectory, but O’Connell has the makings of being an impact player for the Blue Devils for three or four years.

Alex O'Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)
Alex O’Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)

Shaka Smart lands contract extension at Texas

Texas head coach Shaka Smart instructs his team in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
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Shaka Smart has already landed himself a contract extension at Texas.

The school, according to the Austin American-Statesman, has given Shaka a one-year extension — through the 2022-23 season — and bumped his salary up to a cool $3 million, a raise of $100,000 annually.

Smart’s Longhorns went 20-13 last season and lost on a half court buzzer beater from Northern Iowa’s Paul Jespersen. It will be tough for Smart to match the success that he had last season, specifically because he lost senior point guard Isaiah Taylor to the professional ranks.

That said, the former VCU head man has been reeling in quite a bit of talent from the state of Texas — namely, Andrew Jones and Jarrett Allen — and is not all that far from turning the Longhorns back into a relevant member of the Big 12 title race.