Mock brackets = mock reality

Why am I so enamored by all things mock? Mock drafts, mock brackets, mock trials. You name it and if it’s got mock in its name, I’m on board.

I’m in the habit now, of course, of checking all of the mock NCAA Tournament brackets to see where our Kansas teams fall in. These efforts in “bracketology,” a word coined, I believe, by ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, are worth the paper they’re printed on. But they do sometimes give a good glimpse into potential seeding, although trying to predict who plays who is a guessing game.

I’m going to go over three of the mock NCAA brackets today and figure out the most advantageous scenario for Wichita State. The Shockers, although 24-5, are no higher than an 8 seed in the mocks I’m going with today. I’ll also address predictions regarding Kansas and Kansas State.

ESPN Bracketology (Joe Lunardi)

Lunardi has the Shockers as an 8 seed in the Midwest Regional with a second-round game against Oklahoma in Dayton. If the Shockers take care of the Sooners, they would play the winner of the Indiana-Norfolk State vs. Southern game, which I think we can all assume would be the Hoosiers.

Lunardi has KU as a 2 seed in the Midwest, taking on Long Beach State in the second round. That winner would face the San Diego State-Colorado winner.

Kansas State, according to Lunardi’s most recent projection three days ago, is a 4 seed in the East Region and would meet Akron in the second round in Kansas City. That winner would face the winner of the Ohio State-California vs. Ole Miss game.

My thoughts: Really tough road for the Shockers, obviously. Indiana is the most likely No. 1 overall seed in the tournament and Dayton is just a short trip from Bloomington. But a WSU-OU game is intriguing and if you’re going to be in the tournament, why not go for a shot to pull a huge upset? I like this scenario a lot, but would give the Shockers only about a 10 percent chance of reaching the Sweet 16. (Jerry Palm)

Palm has Wichita State as a 10 seed in the Midwest, facing a slipping Oregon squad in the second round in Philadelphia. The winner would catch the Georgetown-Stony Brook winner.

Kansas is a 3 seed in the Midwest, according to Palm, and would take on South Dakota State in the second round in Kansas City with that winner headed for a game against the St. Mary’s-San Diego State winner. There’s the potential of a KU-WSU Sweet 16 game in Palm’s bracket, one that would take place in Indianapolis. The thought of such a game tickles my heart, but how realistic is it?

Kansas State, meanwhile, is a 4 seed in Palm’s bracket, set to meet Bucknell in the second round. That winner would face the Akron-Marquette winner in the East Region.

My thoughts: Even though the Shockers are seeded two spots lower, according to Palm, this is a much better scenario. Seems more likely that WSU could beat Oregon and Georgetown than Oklahoma and Indiana. But Georgetown is playing great basketball of late, so of course the Shockers would be big underdogs. Still, the WSU vs. KU Sweet 16 game that Palm suggests would be spectacular.

USA Today

The Shockers are a 10 seed in this bracket, playing a second-round Midwest Region game against Missouri in Auburn Hills, Mich. Win that one and guess who awaits? Most likely Michigan, which Palm has meeting up with Niagara in the second round.

Kansas also is in the Midwest Region in this bracket with a second round game against Long Beach State in Kansas City. The winner of Oregon-Creighton would await the Jayhawks.

Kansas State, meanwhile, is a 4 seed in the Midwest Region with a second round game against an interesting Louisiana Tech team. If the Wildcats were to win that game, to be played in Austin according to the USA Today mock, they would face the winner of Ohio State-LaSalle.

My thoughts: Again, being in that 7 to 10 range makes it difficult to think WSU could get past two games in the tournament. But the Shockers would be an even bet to beat Missouri, I would think. And Michigan has showed some chinks in its armor of late, although the Wolverines would have a decided home-court advantage. I think the Jerry Palm bracket bodes best for Wichita State to reach the Sweet 16 while the Lunardi bracket, in which the Shockers would have to get past Oklahoma to face Indiana, almost guarantees an early exit.