Why Wichita State can sustain its spotlight

In Wichita State, Gregg Marshall has a program on the rise. Harry How/Getty Images

ST. LOUIS -- Wichita State came into the season without cache, despite the Shockers' surprising Final Four berth a year ago. High-major programs didn’t want to face Gregg Marshall’s program since it didn’t have the same clout as, say, a Gonzaga or Memphis. A loss against the Shockers just didn’t hold the same weight.

Until now.

I poked holes at Wichita’s schedule all season, debating whether this team was deserving of a No. 1 seed. There were just a few quality wins in the non-league slate, and the Missouri Valley was as bad as it has been in more than a decade. I wanted to see Marshall play two-for-ones (two times at an opponent’s venue and one in Wichita State), but he felt as though the program deserved the respect to play a straight home-and-home series.

But the Shockers gained my respect. It doesn’t matter whether they were worthy of a top seed. These guys are legit, and they won’t be pulling a disappearing act from the national stage. But now -- like Gonzaga and Memphis have done -- the Shockers need to find a way to stay in the spotlight.