Missouri State Bears vs. Wichita State Shockers - 1/11/14
Wichita State Shockers (16-0) at Missouri State Bears (12-3)
College Basketball: Saturday, January 11, 2014 at 8:00 pm (JQH Arena)
The Line: Missouri State Bears +10.5 -- Over/Under: TBA See the Latest Odds
The Missouri State Bears will try to play a major upset roll as the sixth-ranked Wichita State Shockers come into Springfield, Missouri to retain their hopes of an undefeated season.
Missouri State continued its trend of playing well after a blowout loss with a 3-point victory at Bradley on Wednesday. Much like previous game, the Bears clawed away and played strong down the stretch with good defense and key offensive plays, spearheaded by sophomore sensation Marcus Marshall, their leading scorer. Alongside Marshall was Jarmar Gulley (Sr.) who poured in 26 points with his strong play down low. They were outrebounded by 13, but shot a sizzling 51% from the floor. Missouri State carries a perfect 8-0 record at home into the match-up and you can bet that the JQH Arena will be hopping for this one, as this is the highest ranked team to even step foot into the Arena.
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For Wichita State, they will bring in a stout defense to attempt to silence the 2-barrel guns of Marshall and Gulley. Wichita State can beat you in so many ways and just don’t have a weakness on both ends of the floor. And Gregg Marshall’s bunch is not short of passion and a willingness to drive his team to a season of perfection, although he’s reluctant to talk much about it. This may be their biggest test – a conference matchup against a strong home team. Senior Cleanthony Early, the league’s preseason Valley Player of the Year, pops over 16 ppg. Other Shockers who are threats to score at will are Ron Baker, Fred VanVleet (the MVC player of the week), and Tekele Cotton…all guys who played big parts in their Final 4 run last season. These guys are not phased by any atmosphere, so it’s just a matter of execution really. They play the same way every game – hard, fierce, and determined – and their head coach won’t accept anything less.
A rising coach in the Valley is former Southern Illinois standout Paul Lusk and current head coach of Missouri State. He will have a good game plan ready, but I doubt the offense will have enough fire power besides the duo of Marshall and Gulley, who the Shockers will probably do their best to contain and put more pressure on other Bears. Unless another Bear emerges (as only 2 averages 10 ppg or more per game) or one of those guys is simply on fire, the Shockers will improve to 17-0. They are too much for Missouri State on the glass. But I like the Bears to hang in this one and just cover the spread, as they have the home crowd behind them.