Wichita State Is One of the Most Underseeded NCAA Tournament Teams Ever
The NCAA Tournament's selection committee will never get everything right, because "right" is subjective.
But, man, they seemed to undersell this year's Wichita State team, didn't they?
If you thought the Shockers deserved a higher seed, you're not alone. Our numbers actually have them as the 10th-best team in all of college basketball with a nERD -- the number of points we'd expect a team to win by against an average squad on a neutral court -- of 17.27. For reference, they're one spot behind Virginia, and one spot ahead of -- wait for it -- Duke.
Since 2000, the average nERD rating for a 10 seed has been 10.30. In other words, Wichita State is roughly seven points better per game than the ordinary 10 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
And that, you guys, is a massive difference. In fact, it's the second-largest discrepancy our numbers have seen over this time.
|School||Year||nERD||Seed||Seed Average nERD||Difference|
|East Tennessee State||2009||3.56||16||-2.28||5.84|
First off, it wouldn't be right to ignore the fact that Duke's championship team in 2001 is listed as the fifth-most underrated team -- seed-wise -- since 2000. As a freaking 1 seed. Whew.
But, as you can see, only the 2005 Utah State Aggies had a larger difference between their nERD and the typical nERD of their particular seed. In their case, they had an 11.83 nERD when the typical 14 seed's nERD has been 4.84.
The problem for Wichita State is that, with a Round 1 victory, they'll face Kentucky in Round 2. Our numbers do favor the Wildcats, but it should be, hypothetically, a much closer contest than their seeds suggest.