Wichita State was a big story in the preseason during the weeks Gregg Marshall's job status was in limbo -- and right up until the winningest coach in school history was forced to resign. Then assistant Isaac Brown was promoted to head coach on an interim basis. Then the Shockers were picked seventh in the preseason American Athletic Conference poll. And I just figured they'd remain mostly, if not entirely, off of the national radar until a permanent head coach was hired.
But I was wrong.
Because Wichita State is now very much on the national radar, and one of the coolest stories in the sport, after Thursday's 68-63 victory over Houston that launched the Shockers into first place in the AAC standings. They're 13-4 overall, 9-2 in the league and on a five-game winning streak. And though they're not in the CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings just yet, they do have a resume worthy of at-large consideration for the NCAA Tournament considering they're now 4-4 in the first two quadrants with zero additional losses.
What. A. Story.
Does any of this mean Brown will soon get the Wichita State job on a full-time basis? Not necessarily. But the idea that he's making a compelling case for himself in the final weeks of this regular season is super interesting, and it's not an exaggeration to suggest literally no coach has more invested in how things unfold the rest of the way. If Brown marches this team into the NCAA Tournament, he really might sign something like a five-year, $7.5 million contract with Wichita State next month. If not, he might be making just a fraction of the money as an assistant somewhere else next season.
So the stakes are high.
As for Houston, this represented the second time Kelvin Sampson's Cougars have been upset this month after previously losing at East Carolina. They're now 6-2 in the first two quadrants with the ECU loss qualifying as a Quadrant 3 defeat. Consequently, Houston dropped to No. 16 in Friday morning's updated Top 25 And 1.
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Friday's Top 25 And 1 rankings
|Gonzaga's perfect record includes double-digit victories over Virginia, Iowa and Kansas. The Zags have won their 12 WCC games by an average of 24.4 points.||--||31-1|
|Baylor's perfect record is highlighted by victories over Texas, Illinois, Texas Tech and Kansas. The Bears have won 15 of their 17 games by double-digits.||--||28-2|
|Michigan is 9-1 in the first two quadrants with double-digit wins over Wisconsin and Purdue. The Wolverines' lone loss came at Minnesota.||--||23-5|
|Ohio State is 10-1 in its past 11 games with wins over Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa. The Buckeyes lead the nation with nine Quadrant 1 wins.||--||21-10|
|Illinois is 10-5 in the first two quadrants with zero additional losses. The Illini will take a six-game winning streak into Saturday's game at Minnesota.||--||24-7|
|Alabama is 10-5 in the first two quadrants with victories over Tennessee and Arkansas. The Crimson Tide will take a two-game winning streak into Wednesday's game at Texas A&M.||1||26-7|
|Oklahoma is 7-1 in its past eight games with wins over Alabama, West Virginia, Texas and Kansas. The Sooners have zero losses outside of Quadrant 1.||1||16-11|
|West Virginia's three-game winning streak was snapped Saturday by Oklahoma. The Mountaineers are 9-6 in the first two quadrants with zero losses outside of Quadrant 1.||1||19-10|
|Villanova's two-game winning streak was snapped Saturday at Creighton. The Wildcats are 5-3 in the first two quadrants with zero losses outside of Quadrant 1.||1||18-7|
|Texas is 6-5 in the first two quadrants with zero losses outside of Quadrant 1. The Longhorns will take a two-game winning streak into Tuesday's game at Oklahoma.||1||19-8|
|USC is 6-3 in the first two quadrants with zero additional losses. The Trojans' seven-game winning streak features victories over UCLA and Stanford.||1||25-8|
|Florida State is 7-2 in the first two quadrants with one additional loss to UCF. The Seminoles are 7-1 in their past eight games with victories over Virginia and Louisville.||1||18-7|
|Virginia's four-game winning streak was snapped Monday via a double-digit loss at Florida State. The Cavaliers are 3-3 in the first quadrant with one additional loss to San Francisco.||1||18-7|
|Iowa is 9-6 in the first two quadrants with only one loss outside of Quadrant 1. The Hawkeyes will take a three-game winning streak into Sunday's game with Penn State.||2||22-9|
|Virginia Tech is 3-1 in its past four games after Saturday's win at Miami. The Hokies are 7-4 in the first two quadrants with zero additional losses.||--||15-7|
|Houston is 2-2 in its past four games after Thursday's loss at Wichita State. The Cougars are 6-2 in the first two quadrants with one additional loss falling in Quadrant 3.||10||28-4|
|Creighton is 6-1 in its past seven games with wins over Villanova and Seton Hall. The Bluejays are 11-2 in the first two quadrants with three additional losses falling in Quadrant 3.||1||22-9|
|Arkansas is 7-1 in its past eight games with wins over Missouri and Florida. The Razorbacks are 9-5 in the first two quadrants with only one loss outside of Quadrant 1.||1||25-7|
|Tennessee is 5-5 in the first two quadrants with only one loss outside of Quadrant 1. The Vols are 3-1 in their past four games with wins over Kentucky and Georgia.||1||18-9|
|Wisconsin is 3-5 in its past eight games after Thursday's loss to Iowa. The Buckeyes are 8-8 in the first two quadrants with only two losses outside of Quadrant 1.||3||18-13|
|Texas Tech is 3-3 in its past six games after Tuesday's double-digit loss to West Virginia. The Red Raiders are 5-6 in the first two quadrants heading into Monday's game at TCU.||--||18-11|
|Louisville's 8-3 record in the first two quadrants includes victories over Duke, Virginia Tech, Pitt and Georgia Tech. Three of the Cardinals' four losses have come inside the first quadrant.||--||13-7|
|Loyola Chicago is 5-4 in the first two quadrants with zero additional losses. The Ramblers are 12-1 in their past 13 games with the lone loss in that stretch coming at Drake.||--||26-5|
|Kansas is 7-7 in the first two quadrants with zero losses outside of Quadrant 1. The Jayhawks will take a four-game winning streak into Saturday's game with Texas Tech.||--||21-9|
|Missouri is on a three-game losing streak after Tuesday's loss at Georgia. The Tigers are 7-6 in the first two quadrants with only two losses outside of Quadrant 1.||1||16-10|
|Oregon is 6-2 in the first two quadrants with two additional losses falling in Quadrant 3. The Ducks' top five scorers have combined to miss 20 games.||NR||21-7|