Wichita State's magical run to the Final Four last spring might have been just the first in a series of deep pushes into March and April.
Everything the Shockers have done so far this season points to them being as good and maybe even better than last season. They are undeniably superior in one respect to any other Wichita State team in history after beating Tennessee 70-61 at home on Saturday.
This is the first team in Wichita State history to start a season 10-0. Four other editions of the Shockers started 9-0 only to drop the 10th game of the year.
For awhile Saturday it appeared Tennessee might be capable of pulling off the upset but Tekele Cotton, Cleanthony Early and Ron Baker took over down the stretch. Cotton led the Shockers with 19 points.
Wichita State doesn't have a win over a ranked team yet this season, but it has beaten some quality competition such as Western Kentucky, Brigham Young, Saint Louis and Tennessee. The Shockers face another stiff test from the SEC on Tuesday when they travel to Alabama.
Meanwhile, Tennessee saw its best hope for a resume-building win in nonconference play disappear in the loss. Jordan McRae was the only Volunteer to score in double figures. He led all scorers with 26 points.
The Vols lost to Xavier and UTEP previously. While they have an upcoming game against unranked North Carolina State, it appears they will have to rely on their performance in SEC games to build a respectable resume for March.
There are plenty of good teams in the SEC that could help them achieve that, but the Vols are definitely going to need upsets against the likes of Kentucky, Florida, Missouri and others to turn heads.
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