Wichita State wanted to send a message to the nation. The Shockers felt that the Missouri Valley Conference was underrated, and it seems like they were right.
Just ask Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon.
Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall had a slogan for his team going into the game against the Panthers -- play angry. The Shockers did just that, holding the Pittsburgh offense in check. Cleanthony Early and Malcolm Armstead did enough on offense as Wichita State moved on in the tournament, ending Pittsburgh's days as a member of the Big East.
You knew that this had the potential to be a defensive battle. Pittsburgh was holding opponents to just over 55 points per game. Wichita State was giving up a little more than 60 per contest.
It was a disappointing end of the season for the Panthers. They closed at 4-4 in their last eight games. Now Pittsburgh will have to reload and retool as it heads to the ACC.
Give Marshall some credit, as he lost four starters from last season. Wichita State was hit by a number of injuries during the season, but the Shockers have responded to challenges. This is a club that clearly regrouped after losing to Creighton in the MVC title game. Wichita State was 2-3 in its last five games before beating Pittsburgh.
Armstead scored over double his season average. He came in at 10.4 points per game and put up 22. That effort came after a 28-point performance against Creighton in the MVC final.
This was not the way Tray Woodall wanted to end his career. He shot 1-for-12 from the field and scored just two points.
Neither team could shoot the trifecta. In the first half, they combined to go 1-for-21. Even after hitting a few in the second half, this was not a pretty game.
Marshall said play angry, and his team did. It's on to the next round for 27-8 Wichita State. It's off to the ACC for Pittsburgh.