DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — Wichita State opened a promising season at No. 10 in the preseason poll, but fell fast and hard as the injuries piled up, with four of the top six players missing time.
The Shockers (24-8) are back healthy and in the NCAA Tournament for the fifth year in a row, facing Vanderbilt (19-13) on Tuesday in the First Four. The Shockers returned three starters from the team that knocked off Indiana and Kansas to reach the Sweet 16 last year, but the early injuries forced the Shockers to reinvent themselves.
Guard Fred VanVleet — a two-time Missouri Valley player of the year — has been slowed by a strained hamstring for much of the season.
Inconsistent Vanderbilt sweated out an NCAA Tournament berth after losing to Tennessee in the SEC tournament.
The winner plays Arizona on Thursday in Providence, Rhode Island.