Wichita State Shockers vs. Bradley Braves - 1/14/14
Bradley Braves (6-11) at Wichita State Shockers (17-0)
College Basketball: Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 8:00 pm (Charles Koch Arena)
The Line: Wichita State Shockers -19.5 -- Over/Under: TBA See the Latest Odds
The Wichita State Shockers put their undefeated record and #5 national ranking on the line when they take on the Bradley Braves at the Charles Koch Arena in Wichita, Kansas on Tuesday night.
The Shockers didn’t concede to the thought that they were going to lose their first game on Saturday night at Missouri State. They overcame an off night shooting and fought with all their might in the last 12 minutes – down 19 points – to force overtime and carry on their perfect record. This is the kind of team that head coach Gregg Marshall has put together and speaks volumes about their will to win – to play hard for 40 minutes no matter what the score is. Every road game in conference will be a test, so lesson learned. Senior Cleanthony Early, the league’s preseason Valley Player of the Year, comes in with a 16.6 ppg average, and nearly 7 boards per game. A couple sophomores, Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet play like veterans and perhaps that’s due to their postseason experience last year – having played big roles and making key plays in those games. Tekele Cotton is a junior who does just about everything for this team too, and his fierce defense feeds off the other guys. The Shockers are excellent at home and this is one of the toughest environments to win – let alone hang in games.
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
The visiting Bradley Braves will try to feed off their last gritty road performance at Indiana State. The Braves led for most of the 2nd half before giving up late 3-pointers and lost by 3 in the end. Senior All-Valley player Walt Lemon Jr. continued with his 20+ point theme, dumping in 22 vs. the Sycamores. He again carried the bulk of the load on Saturday, but needs to get others involved. He is not converted point guard who is prone to turnovers and really stuggles to get the offense flowing unless he finds his way in the lane and creates plays for himself and teammates. Another key guy is senior Tyshon Pickett, who averages 12 ppg and 7.6 rebounds. Besides these 2 guys, the scoring production is very inconsistent, and even these 2 have shown inconsistency all year.
The Braves are winless away from the friendly confines in Peoria and show up every few games. I think they play hard – just like last season, but the depth of the Shockers and intimidating home crowd may turn this into a laugher. This is a ton of points to lay for Wichita State, and Bradley played tough against one of the elite teams in the conference last game. But the Braves have been blown out in recent years in Wichita and I don’t see a competitive game here. Maybe head coach Gregg Marshall feels for Geno’s Braves, but not enough to lay off the gas and jeopardize an undefeated season. Just a warning though – Bradley has been an unpredictable team in conference games so far, but unless they play a good game, they won’t cover 20 points. And they’ve only played 2 or 3 good game in their last 10 or so.