Wichita St. Preview

Game Time: Friday, March 17, 7:10 PM 
Location: Bankers Life Fieldhouse Indianapolis, IN
TV: CBS (THE BIG ONE)
RADIO: WHIO AM 1290/FM 95.7

Dayton

After clinching the A10 regular season title UD proceeded to lay two complete eggs and lost in the regular season finale against GW and first round A10 tournament game against Davidson. The theme in both was rather similar: come out like crap and get down big early, spend the rest of the game catching up, and lose at the end. Archie himself said he though the team had “lost its edge.” I think there’s a good chance they get it back after a week of hearing how excited everyone is for Kentucky/Wichita St. in the 2nd round. This team has always been at its best as an underdog, and as we’ll see they certainly are in this game.

Wichita St.

A large angry shock of wheat.

A shocker is a person who shocks (or bundles) wheat. That’s what the esteemed members of Wichita St. came up with as a mascot. They saw Nebraska did it with corn and we’re like “Hey we could be the Nebraska of Kansas!” and just took that name. Luckily they were bailed out by a bunch of perverts looking for a name to something sexually enjoyable.

Kenpom Rank and Prediction: #8 of 351. Prediction: 77–70 Wichita, 25% chance of victory for Dayton.

Schedule: As I’m sure you’re aware by now:

This is true. They’ve beaten #47 Illinois St. twice, but Illinois St. hasn’t beaten anybody above #95 in KenPom. They lost their three games against tourney teams early in the year (Louisville, Michigan St., Oklahoma St.), beat mediocre Colorado St and Oklahoma teams and then cruised through the Missouri Valley Conference. And by cruised I mean laid waste to everything:

That’s why KenPom has Wichita so high. They have crushed everybody they’ve played (including Illinois St. twice) for two months. No slipups against teams like Missouri St. (who corresponds well to George Washington) or Loyola Chicago (who corresponds well to St. Bonaventure). Is KenPom overrating them? Almost certainly, but by crushing these teams instead of eking out one or two point victories it shows they are probably not a “paper tiger” who’s win total is propped up by a terrible conference. They are legitimately good and if we don’t bring it to start the game they could run us off the floor.

Lineup

A bunch of these stats should be taken with a grain of salt due to how miserable the MVC is. Other than Wichita, the MVC has only two teams ranked in the top 100 in defensive efficiency. Still, I am incredibly impressed with PG Landry Shamet’s and SG Connor Frankamp’s 3P%. In conference play they each shot over 50% from three, which seems impossible. They have led Wichita to the nation’s third best 3P% at 40.7%. Both are strong distributors as well who rarely turn the ball over. There isn’t much dropoff to backup PG Austin Reaves, who has shot 51% from 3 on the year, or Daishon Smith, shooting 40% from 3. Both are more likely to turn it over and less effective at creating shots for others though. Starting SF Zach Brown rounds out the guards, and may be a point of attack for Dayton. He only shot 25% from 3 in conference play, so he would be the guy to leave if we need to double team the post.

PF Markis McDuffie is a real stud, a big with the ability to score inside and out. After watching Peyton Aldridge and Tyler Cavanaugh burn us this year I’m worried about our ability to guard him. C Shaquille Morris is Kendall Pollard but taller, fatter, slightly slower, and with a more reliable jumper. He can drive from the top of the key or baseline, and he has the weight to bully you down low. I’m not sure anybody but Kendall or maybe Josh can guard him. Darral Willis comes off the bench but he will take a ton of shots when he is out there. His postup game is fairly strong, but I think our bigs will be able to hold up one-on-one against him. Fellow backup Rauno Nurger will also play, and though he is less athletic and effective down low, he makes up for it with three point shooting ability.

As you can see Wichita is an extremely deep team. Their decline in performance when they go to the bench is much less than Dayton’s. We will likely need our starters to play long minutes in order to keep pace.

Four Factors

Conference Stats Only

OOOOOOO look at FTA/FGA. Depends alot on the refs, but that should be an area to exploit for UD. GET TO THE LINE BOYS.

Explanation of Four Factors

Taking all this stuff with a grain of salt again due to competition but damn this is impressive. I’m most worried about offensive rebounding, but there’s nobody on Wichita St. at the level of Mo-Alie Cox or Justin Tillman. We should be able to handle these guys slightly better.

Keys

  • Come out strong. Obligatory. Can’t get down big early.
  • Hold up in post ups. We cannot leave shooters open. Being able to guard one-on-one in the post will go a long way to preventing that.
  • Stay out of foul trouble. Wichita is much deeper than us, and our bench is weaker. This applies to Scoochie, Kendall, and Cooke in particular. We can’t afford to have them off the floor for long stretches of time.
  • Attack the hoop and get to the line. We are extremely good at the one thing they are below average at. If we can get to the line and make enough free throws I think we will win.
  • Keep it close. Wichita hasn’t been challenged in a game since mid-January. Get the bright lights on, with a partisan crowd in Indy cheering for us and they could shy away from the moment. Their starting point guard is a freshman and there is no senior presence to take charge when things get tough for this team. Keep it close and see what happens.

Prediction

Last year I was initially excited when we were matched up with Syracuse. Most people thought they shouldn’t have even made the tourney, but as I looked into it more and more I got discouraged. They had the big guards to frustrate Scoochie and the shooters to stretch Big Steve away from the hoop. That game went poorly as I’m sure you all remember.

This year has been the exact opposite. Initially I was bummed about picking up Wichita, but as I’ve gone through everything I have gotten more and more hope. We’re really good at the one thing they aren’t good at (getting to the line), they haven’t been challenged in two months, and they are young and inexperienced.

My only issue is depth. If one of our seniors gets into foul trouble and can’t play I’m not sure we’ll be able to survive. Wichita has the opposite problem, with backups who have played major minutes all year. Too much of this relies on refereeing and intangibles (e.g. maybe Wichita will freak in a a big moment?) for me to be comfortable picking UD.

Wichita 75–70.

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