Aaron Fitt’s regional projection lists Wichita State as close, but not part of the 64-team field. He puts Illinois State as a No. 3 seed going to Arizona State and Kansas State a No. 3 seed at Arkansas. ESPN has WSU one of final teams left out. Same story from Rivals.com, which won’t even consider WSU one of the first 10 out.
Should these brackets hold up, the team that stands out as fortunate is Kentucky, which didn’t make the SEC Tournament. North Carolina (which played three non-conference road games) is in the same boat. It seems very strange to reward a team for finishing that poorly in conference play. It’s not unusual, however, and it remains one of the flaws of the system. Making a conference tournament should be a minimum standard, written or unwritten, to qualify for play in a national tournament.
The more you look at these numbers and projections, you realize a lot of this subjective and personal preference. The big knock on WSU is its 3-5 record against the top 50, which is a legit minus. Connecticut is 3-3 against the top 50 (15-7 against the top 100), and it will host a regional.