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Wichita State to play in the AAC next season

Gregg Marshall

FILE - In this Feb. 9, 2016, file photo, Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall directs his team during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Drake, in Des Moines, Iowa. At this time of year college basketball coaches often sound like political candidates looking for votes as they tout their teams’ NCAA tournament worthiness. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)


Wichita State is heading to the AAC, and an official announcement confirming the move is expected at some point today, per multiple reports.

They will play in the AAC next season.

The move will include all Shocker sports -- the school does not field a football team -- but the reason for adding Wichita State to the conference has everything to do with their basketball program. The Shockers have been one of the best teams in the country for the last five seasons, reaching a Final Four in 2013, going 35-1 in 2014 and finishing the year as a top ten team on KenPom last season. They are currently ranked 10th in the NBC Sports Preseason Top 25, meaning that they’ll likely be the favorite to win the AAC regular season title this year.

There is some risk involved with this move, as Wichita State’s success is somewhat tied to Gregg Marshall’s presence on the bench. They’ve always been a good basketball program. They’re a top 15-20 program nationally with Marshall there. But Marshall is already one of the highest-paid coaches in the country. He would never leave for a pay raise -- the Koch brothers have the deepest pockets in college basketball -- so the only way to get him out of Wichita would have been if he got fed up with having to deal with the NCAA Selection Committee’s inability to recognize how good teams from mid-major conferences are. Remember, the committee did such an awful job seeding the Shockers this year that they were a seven-point favorite as a No. 10 seed.

But Marshall probably won’t have to worry about that now that he’s in a league with Cincinnati, SMU, UConn, Memphis, Temple, Houston and Tulsa.

And that may mean that he ends up in Wichita longer than he would have otherwise.