INDIANAPOLIS -- Before Wichita State's 64-58 win over Dayton on Friday in the first round of the NCAA tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, coach Gregg Marshall lamented the woes of life outside the Power 5 conferences, such as the challenges of scheduling high-major programs that have no interest in facing dangerous underdogs like the Shockers.
The No. 10 seed assigned by the NCAA tournament selection committee to a squad ranked sixth by KenPom.com and 15th by ESPN's BPI only conveyed the pitfalls of their plight.
On Sunday, however, Wichita State could face second-seeded Kentucky in a game with multiple benefits: a chance to advance to the Sweet 16 via bracket-shattering upset and an opportunity to prove the selection committee, and the rest of its doubters, wrong.
Just one problem.
The Shockers won't alter any perceptions or advance if they bring Friday's effort against a Kentucky squad, assuming the Wildcats beat Northern Kentucky on Friday night, with a pair of possible future NBA lottery picks named Malik Monk and De'Aaron Fox.
In the first half of Friday's win, Wichita State finished 2-for-12 from the 3-point line and 10-for-28 overall. The Shockers put together an impeccable defensive effort in the second half, holding the Flyers to an 8-for-29 shooting clip.
But Dayton's engine is not comparable to a Kentucky offense ranked eighth in adjusted offensive efficiency. Fox's speed, Monk's explosiveness and a roster that features six players 6-foot-9 or taller will present problems on both ends of the floor for the Shockers.
You can't go 6-for-20 from beyond the arc (19-for-48 overall) and commit 16 turnovers -- like the Shockers did against the Flyers -- and expect to beat a title contender.
Wichita State is a good team. The Shockers are clearly better than their double-digit seed. But advancing on Sunday will demand a greater performance than the one they showed Friday.