The RoundHouse | 10/13/2021 3:09:00 PM
Preseason polls are best considered for a few minutes and then put away until the end of the regular season.
On that day, boasting is allowed, perhaps required, if a team exceeded expectations. The Shockers got to do that last year on March 6 after beating USF to wrap up an American Athletic Conference title.
Before the standings are final, forget the votes. If a team waited for its source of motivation until the poll, it probably didn’t put in the work necessary during the off-season.
The Shockers know all this, so they knew exactly what to say during Wednesday’s virtual media day sessions for the American Athletic Conference.
Wichita State is picked fourth, one point behind third-place SMU. Houston, coming off a Final Four, is the favorite. Memphis, after winning the NIT and landing an eye-popping recruiting class, is second.
“I definitely feel a type of way about that,” guard Tyson Etienne said. “It’s cool. They picked us to finish seventh last year.”
— Wichita State Men’s Basketball (@GoShockersMBB) October 13, 2021
Wichita State coach Isaac Brown didn’t seem too concerned. He is happy to let people categorize his team as young – six newcomers – and fighting to stay in the upper division.
“The biggest thing for us this year is handling expectations,” he said. “We have a young basketball. Six new faces.”
Brown also knows he has Etienne, preseason Player of the Year, and returning starters Morris Udeze and Dexter Dennis. Again, he is happy to let Houston and Memphis take the weight of preseason expectations.
Coming from back in the pack has often worked well for Wichita State men’s basketball.
“Our goal is to go to March Madness. We have a full team, the confidence and the great coaches and great chemistry. We’re ready to fight.”
— American WBB (@American_WBB) October 13, 2021
The Shockers will, at least for whatever preseason expectations matter, be in that position again in 2021-22.
In 2005-06, Missouri Valley Conference coaches picked the Shockers fifth. They won the title. Last season, American Athletic Conference coaches picked the Shockers seventh. They won the title.
Those teams knew how to feel about preseason polls.
Paul Suellentrop covers Wichita State Athletics and the American Athletic Conference for university Strategic Communications. Story suggestion? Contact him at [email protected]
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