Wichita State Shockers vs. Indiana State Sycamores - 1/18/14
Indiana State Sycamores (14-3) at Wichita State Shockers (18-0)
College Basketball: Saturday, January 18, 2014 at 4:00 pm (Charles Koch Arena)
The Line: Wichita State Shockers -11.5 -- Over/Under: TBA See the Latest Odds
The Wichita State Shockers put their undefeated record and #5 national ranking on the line when they host the Indiana State Sycamores on Saturday afternoon at the Roundhouse in Wichita.
They are off to their best start in school history and keep improving under the Greg Marshall tenure from every year. The Shockers are getting it done easily this season, outscoring their opponents by nearly 15 ppg. Their lone exception was winning in Overtime just two games ago at Missouri State – as they had to overcome a 19-point second half deficit in escaping with a win. They had no trouble disposing of Bradley at home the last time they saw the floor – typical of many games in which they outplayed their opponent in every facet of the game. 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. Sophomore point guard Fred VanVleet, who played a big part in last year’s NCAA tournament run, has really come into his own this year and is the main cog on the offensive end. He has an amazing 4.5:1 assist to turnover ratio and always seems poised. Wichita State gets it done without a high field goal percentage (under 45%), but their tenacity for 40 minutes are enough to drain other teams. Following the theme under Marshall, the Shockers are a solid rebounding team and outrebound their opponents by 8 per game.
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Trying to play spoilers to an undefeated season are the Sycamores of Indiana State, who are making a little noise of their own this season. They are even atop the Valley at 5-0 and ousted the Shockers last year on the road – as Wichita State was ranked 14th then. That will be in the back…well, probably front, of both team’s minds on Saturday. Indiana State had lost its last 8 road games to Wichita State before the upset of 13 points. With wins in 12 of their last 13 contests, they are looking to potentially make the Big Dance in a couple months, but first they are not counting out an MVC championship. Indiana State easily beat Missouri State on Wednesday night with another hot-shooting night from the floor, connecting on 48% for the game. They did, however, only connect on 29% from three-point range, where they have been great lately. Indiana State is the only D-I team that has 5 double-digit scorers who all have better than a 33% average from long range. All-Valley point guard Jake Odum (Senior) leads the team in points (12.5 ppg), rebounds (4.5), and assists (almost 3:1 A:T ratio), and has asserted himself as the one of the top players in the school’s history with his consistent play.
Both teams will be primed and ready for this battle of first place in the Valley. I think that the spread is a tad too much for a potential NCAA tournament team who knows how to win and will try to implement the same game plan that got it done last year in Wichita. I still think the Shockers come away with a win, but I think they need to bring their A-game as they win and the Sycamores come under the spread, but not by much as the Shockers pull away in the second half from what could be a pretty close game at halftime.