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Introducing Cinderella: The Wichita State Shockers Are Headed To The NCAA Tournament

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Conference: Missouri Valley

Coach: Gregg Marshall

Record: 30-4, 17-1 (T-1)

Ratings and Rankings:

Kenpom: 11
RPI: 37
AP/USA Today: 21/22

Seeding: The title of this article invokes Cinderella, but given Wichita State’s track record and strength, they don’t exactly fit that role. The Shockers’ resume also makes for a difficult seeding proposition for the committee because predictive measures – KenPom and Sagarin – love them while the RPI is more lukewarm. Look for the committee to split the difference and put the Shockers somewhere in the 7-10 range.

Names you need to know: Markis McDuffie, Landry Shamet and Darral Willis all average double figures while Conner Frankamp, a Kansas transfer, is shooting 44 percent from 3-point range. The stalwarts of Wichita State’s rise from mid-major program to national relevance like Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet may be gone, but the talent – and coach – is still in place to make the Shockers a formidable threat this month.

Stats you need to know: Wichita State is shooting 40.7 percent from 3-point range, which ranks sixth in the country. They’ve got four players shooting 38 percent or better on at least 65 3-point attempts this season. The Shockers are no slouches on defense either as they’re holding opponents to an effective field goal percentage of 44.2.

Big wins, bad losses: Here’s the problem for Wichita State. Most are pretty sure they’re pretty good, but looking solely at the W/L resume makes that murky. The Shockers will likely only have a win over an NCAA tournament participant if Illinois State, the team they beat in the MVC title game and split the regular season league championship with, gets an at-large bid. Wichita State’s losses have all been respectable, coming against Louisville, Michigan State, Oklahoma State and the Redbirds.

How’d they get here?: Unlike last year when the Shockers didn’t make the MVC tourney final, Wichita State had no problem earning the league’s autobid. They beat Bradley by 26, Missouri State by 15 and Illinois State by 20 in the title game.

Outlook: Wichita State is no Cinderella, even if they hail from a league that often produces them. This is a bona fide high-major program that plays in a mid-major league. The Shockers may have a difficult path, especially if they get slotted on that 8/9 line with a date against a top seed in Round 2, but they’ve got the talent and pedigree to make another multi-win appearance in the NCAA tournament.

How do I know you?: The Shockers have made the NCAA tournament every year since 2012, famously making the Final Four in 2013 and entering the Big Dance in 2014 undefeated, making them as recognizable a program outside the country’s biggest conferences as any.

VIDEO: Jay-Z’s nephew posterizes nation’s No. 1 recruit Marvin Bagley III

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Nahziah Carter is an unsigned 6-foot-6 wing in the Class of 2017.

He’s also Jay-Z’s nephew, and he just so happened to posterize Marvin Bagley III — the clearcut No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2018 — while Hova was in the stands watching him.

NCAA denies extra-year request by NC State guard Henderson

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The NCAA has denied North Carolina State guard Terry Henderson’s request for another year of eligibility.

Henderson announced the decision Friday in a statement issued by the school.

The Raleigh native played two seasons at West Virginia before transferring to N.C. State and redshirting in 2014-15. He played for only 7 minutes of the following season before suffering a season-ending ankle injury.

As a redshirt senior in 2016-17, he was the team’s second-leading scorer at 13.8 points per game and made a team-best 78 3-pointers.

Henderson called it “an honor and privilege” to play in his hometown.

SMU gets transfer in Georgetown’s Akoy Agau

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SMU pulled in a frontcourt player in Georgetown transfer Akoy Agau, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Agau is immediately eligible for next season as a graduate transfer.

The 6-foot-8 Agau started his career at Louisville before transferring to Georgetown after one season. Spending two seasons with the Hoyas, Agau was limited to 11 minutes in his first season due to injuries. He averaged 4.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game last season.

Coming out of high school, Agau was a four-star prospect but he’s never lived up to that billing in-part because of injuries. Now, Agau gets one more chance to make a difference as he’s hoping to help replace some departed pieces like Ben Moore and Semi Ojeleye.

South Carolina loses big man Sedee Keita to transfer

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South Carolina big man Sedee Keita will transfer from the program, he announced on Friday.

The 6-foot-9 Keita was once regarded as a top-100 national prospect in the Class of 2016, but he never found consistent minutes with the Gamecocks for last season’s Final Four team.

Keita appeared in 29 games and averaged 1.1 points and 2.0 rebounds per game while shooting 27 percent from the field.

A native of Philadelphia, Keita will have to sit out next season before getting three more seasons of eligibility.

Although Keita failed to make an impact during his only season at South Carolina, he’ll be a coveted transfer thanks to his size and upside.

Mississippi State losing two to transfer

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Mississippi State will lose two players to transfer as freshmen Mario Kegler and Eli Wright are leaving the program.

Both Kegler and Wright were four-star prospects coming out of high school as they were apart of a six-man recruiting class that is supposed to be a major foundation for Ben Howland’s future with the Bulldogs.

The 6-foot-7 Kegler was Mississippi State’s third-leading scorer last season as he averaged 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Kegler should command some quality schools on the transfer market, especially since he’ll still have three more years of eligibility after sitting out next season due to NCAA transfer regulations. Kegler’s loss is also notable for Mississippi State because it is the second consecutive offseason that Howland lost a top-100, in-state product to transfer after only one season after Malik Newman left for Kansas.

Wright, a 6-foot-4 guard, was never able to find consistent minutes as he was already behind underclass perimeter options like Quinndary Weatherspoon, Lamar Peters and Tyson Carter last season. With Nick Weatherspoon, Quinndary’s four-star brother, also joining the Bulldogs next season, the writing was likely on the wall that Wright wasn’t going to earn significant playing time.