No. 23 Wichita State Shockers (9-0)
Tennessee Volunteers (4-3)
6 p.m., Central | Thurs., Dec. 13, 2012
Thompson-Boling Arena (21,678)
Radio: KNSS 1330 - Mike Kennedy/Bob Hull
TV: FSN Midwest/Kanas City/South - Randy Smith, Bill Justus
Quickly... Wichita State (9-0) travels to Tennessee in the third meeting in history between the two teams, but the first meeting at a home venue.
-WSU is ranked No. 23 in the AP Top 25 poll (Dec. 10), and is receiving 88 points in the USA Today Top 25 poll, which is good enough for No. 26.
-The Shockers entered the polls at No. 24 (Dec. 3) in the AP Top 25 poll and had enough points in the USA Today Coaches poll for a No. 27 ranking. The Shockers have gotten votes in the AP poll for four weeks and the USA Today poll for three weeks.
-Wichita State is 9-0 for the first time since 2006-07 when the Shockers started 9-0 and reached a No. 8 AP ranking. WSU also started 9-0 in the 2004-05 season. The two 9-0 starts are the best in school history.
-The Shockers are coming off a 80-54 win against Northern Colorado Saturday.
-After playing a record number of games in November, WSU is playing just one game in 11 days before playing host to Charleston Southern Dec. 20.
Last Time Out... Then-No. 24 Wichita State (9-0) defeated Northern Colorado (1-6), 80-54, behind a game-high 16 points from junior Cleanthony Early to tie the best start in school history at 9-0.
The Shockers also had three more players in double figures with senior Demetric Williams' 12 points, junior Nick Wiggins' 14 points, and senior Malcolm Armstead's 11. Junior Chadrack Lufile grabbed 10 rebounds to lead WSU.
Last Game Standout... Cleanthony Early led WSU in scoring in the Shockers' lone game last week with 16 points on 54.5 percent (6-11) shooting. He also had a block, a steal and a three-pointer while making all three free throws.
Another Newcomer Breaks Out... Chadrack Lufile had a WSU career-high six points and 10 rebounds in WSU's lone game last week against Northern Colorado. Lufile made all three of his field goal attempts and also added two assists in 20 minutes of play off the bench.
Poll Position... When Wichita State entered the AP Top 25 last week at No. 24, it marked the first time since the Shockers were ranked in back-to-back seasons since the 1981-82, 1982-83 and 1983-84 seasons. The Shockers spent five weeks in the poll in 2011-12, finishing No. 18 in the final poll.
Depth Chart... Demetric Williams got his first start of the 2012-13 season against Northern Colorado and responded with 12 points and a perfect 4-of-4 effort from the field after Evan Wessel was held out due to a hand injury. In addition, Cleanthony Early has started three-straight games in the absence of Ehimen Orukpe, who is nursing an ankle injury. The Shockers played only 10 players against UNC, which is the least this season.
Road Hogs... Wichita State is 21-3 (.875) the last two-plus seasons on the road in both non-conference and conference games which is the best in the country. WSU is 2-0 in 2012-13, went 10-1 in 2011-12 and 10-2 in 2010-11. Murry State is next at 24-4 (.857) and Kansas is third at 17-3 (.850).
Marshall Loves the 80s... WSU broke the 80-point barrier two times this season with 86 points against Tulsa and 80 against Northern Colorado. Gregg Marshall is 84-4 in his career at WSU and Marshall when his teams score 80 or more points, which includes a 30-1 record in the last five-plus seasons at WSU. He is also 16-0 when his teams have scored 90-plus points in his 15-plus seasons as a head coach. In 2010-11, WSU was 7-0 when scoring more than 80 points, and was 3-0 when scoring more than 90. In 2011-12, his teams were 13-1 when scoring more than 80, 4-0 when scoring 90 or more, and 1-0 when scoring more than 100.
Next Up...The Shockers next play Dec. 20 against Charleston Southern in Wichita before playing host to Southern Miss Dec. 22 in Wichita's downtown arena, INTRUST Bank Arena. The INTRUST game marks the third-straight season WSU has played one gamein the venue.
On Gregg Marshall... Head Coach Gregg Marshall is in his sixth season at WSU and his 16th season overall in 2012-13 with a 312-144 career record and 118-61 record at WSU. Wichita State went 27-6 in 2011-12 to complete the bookend to the best two-year record (56-14) in Wichita State history in Gregg Marshall's fourth and fifth seasons. En route, the Shockers won the Missouri Valley Conference title, which earned Head Coach Gregg Marshall the Valley Coach of the Year honor, his first at WSU. With the conference title in the bag, WSU then earned an at-large ticket to the NCAA Tournament, dropping a second round game in Portland to VCU. Under Marshall's tutelage, Wichita State has also been voted the Army National Guard All-Defensive Team for two-straight seasons. Marshall personally reached the 300-win career mark and 100-win WSU mark in 2011-12. He ended the season with a 303-144 career record in 15 seasons as head coach, and was 109-61 at WSU in five seasons. His 2011-12 team also won the Valley regular season for the first time since 2006 with a 16-2 record. Marshall's 300th career win came in 2012 with a win Feb. 18 in the Bracketbuster Series game at Davidson. Marshall also coached the first Shocker Top 25 team since 2006-07 when WSU entered the list at No. 24 on Feb. 13. The Shockers rose to No. 15 in the AP poll and No. 14 in the USA Today/Coaches Top 25, and entered the NCAA Tournament 18th and 19th, respectively, in the polls. For his effort, Marshall was named 2012 Division I All-District 16 Coach-of-the-Year and the 2012 MVC Coach-of-the-Year.
Attack the Boards... Since Gregg Marshall arrived, WSU has out-rebounded 142-of-179 opponents, including eight of nine this season, while the one was a tie.
WSU out-boarded all but four opponents in 2011-12, and finished at 6.5 a game, which was 15th in the NCAA.
In addition, WSU carried a plus-8.4 rebound margin in 2010-11, which ranked in the top 10 in the NCAA all season.
Reaching New Heights... Demetric Williams' 18 points and Malcolm Armstead's 17 points against DePaul were career highs for both players, while Williams' four steals were also a career high.
Carl Seeing New Highs, too... Carl Hall is sporting a prescription sport goggle that has him shooting a career-high 73.9 percent (34-46) from the line this season after shooting 64.6 percent (62-96) as a junior. He also shot 61.5 percent (8-13) from the field in WSU's two Cancun Challenge games.
At Air Force...Carl Hall posted a double-double with a game-high 21 points and 10 rebounds and Wichita State held off a furious late-game rally to defeat Air Force, 72-69, Sunday at Clune Arena.
Cleanthony Early had 12 points in the contest for the Shockers and senior Demetric Williams added 10. Evan Wessel contributed six assists in the winning effort.
Mike Fitzgerald led the Falcons in scoring with 18 points.
MVC Player-of-the-Week... Carl Hall averaged 18.5 points on 68.2 percent (15-22) shooting for the week, and added 10.5 rebounds a game to lead WSU to wins against Tulsa and Air Force and earn MVC Player-of-the-Week honors. He also had three assists, three blocks and two steals. His 16 points against Tulsa and 21 points at Air Force were team highs, as were his 11 and 10 rebounds, respectively against the pair. The two double-doubles were his third and fourth of the year.
Senior Leader... Senior forward Carl Hall put together two-straight double-doubles to open the season with his 12 points and 11 rebounds against VCU, and his 17 points and 13 rebounds in Wichita State's home-opening win. He was named WSU and the College Sports Madness MVC Player of the Week.
He added his third and fourth double-doubles with the 16 points and 11 rebounds against Tulsa and 21 points and 10 boards at Air Force.
Cancun Challenge Champions... Gregg Marshall and the Shockers went 4-0 during the Cancun Challenge, defeating Western Carolina and Howard at Charles Koch Arena, then DePaul and Iowa in Cancun. It was the Shockers' first out-of-state in-season tournament win since 1963.
Holiday Road... Including the Tulsa game Nov. 28, WSU has seven regular-season games under its belt before Dec. 1, which is the most November games in school history. In one stretch in November, Wichita State played five games in 10 days, including two in Cancun, Mexico.
Two-time MVC Newcomer of the Week...Cleanthony Early received Missouri Valley Conference Newcomer of the Week honors for the second straight week (Nov. 19/26). The Shockers were led in scoring in the two games in Cancun by tournament MVP Cleanthony Early, who had 25 points and nine boards in the championship game, which included a 7-of-13 effort from the field and an 8-of-9 effort from the line. For the week, he averaged 16.5 points and 9.0 rebounds while shooting 50 percent (11-22) from the field and 89 percent (8-9) from the line.
In-Season Tournaments... Prior to winning the 2012 Cancun Challenge, Wichita State last won an in-season tournament that it did not host during the 1963-64 season when the Shockers won the All-College Tournament in Oklahoma City with a 3-0 record, defeating Montana State, Texas A&M and Oklahoma City University. Since then WSU has won in-season tournaments that it hosted, including the Cessna Classic from 1997-99. In all, WSU has won 14 in-season tournaments with 10 of them held in Wichita. Prior to the Challenge, WSU was last in the title game of an in-season tournament at the 2003 Paradise Jam.
Championship game against Iowa in Cancun... Wichita State won its first in-season tournament outside the State of Kansas since 1963 with a 75-63 defeat of Iowa in the championship game of the Cancun Challenge Wednesday night.
The Shockers were led in scoring by tournament MVP Cleanthony Early, who had 25 points and nine boards in the championship game, which included a 7-of-13 effort from the field and an 8-of-9 effort from the line.
Malcolm Armstead, also a member of the all-tournament team, had 14 points to back Early, while he also dished out five assists. Armstead also had 17 points in the semifinal win against DePaul Tuesday night.
Against DePaul in Cancun... Wichita State defeated DePaul, 75-62, behind 18 points from Demetric Williams in the Cancun Challenge at Moon Palace Resort to move into the title game against Iowa. The Shockers (5-0) also had Malcolm Armstead and Carl Hall score in double-figures with 17 and 11 points, respectively. DePaul's Brandon Young had 19 points to lead the Blue Demons, while Moses Morgan and Cleveland Melvin backed him with 15 and 11 points, respectively. Young was only 4-of-14 from the field, but made 10-of-12 free throws. WSU led the entire game with the largest margin at 13 points in the second half at the 6:11 mark.
Shocks Win at VCU...WSU defeated VCU, 53-51, on a game-winning jumper from Malcolm Armstead with 3.8 seconds remaining in the game. Senior Carl Hall recorded his second double-double in two games for Wichita State (2-0, 0-0) with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Cleanthony Early added 13 points and Armstead had 11. Juvonte Reddic led VCU (1-1, 0-0) with 22 points and 10 rebounds. The Shockers held the Rams to a 34.7 shooting percentage for the game and dominated the paint, out-scoring their opponent 30-12 in the lane. In a low-scoring contest that went back-and-forth all night, Darius Theus hit a 3-pointer for VCU that tied the game at 51 with 26.6 seconds to play. Armstead then nailed a long two-pointer that eventually won the game for Wichita State.
Baker's Breakout... Redshirt freshman guard Ron Baker scored a career-high 18 points on 5-of-8 shooting in the home-opener, which included a 4-of-7 effort from the arc. Baker also made all four free throws and had four rebounds.
Early's Breakout Game... Cleanthony Early scored a WSU-high 21 points and grabbed eight boards to lead WSU against Western Carolina on 6-of-11 shooting, including an 8-of-8 effort from the line.
20/20/20... Wichita State has won more than 20 games the last three seasons, and is on a quest to make it a school record fourth-straight season. In 2012-13, Wichita State returned only 22.7-of-77.1 points and 42-of-165 starts a game from a year ago with seniors Carl Hall and Demetric Williams, as well as Tekele Cotton, Jake White, Evan Wessel and Ehimen Orukpe.
Home Opener... Wichita State now has an 88-18 record in its home openers and a 78-28 record in season openers in its 106 years after defeating North Carolina Central, 71-57, Saturday Night. The Shockers have won the last 17 home openers, including all six in Gregg Marshall's tenure.
True Non-Conference Road Record... Gregg Marshall and the Shockers are 8-6 in true road non-conference games in his tenure with the win at VCU. The last two-plus seasons WSU is 6-1 with wins at LSU, Virginia Tech, Tulsa, Davidson, VCU and at Air Force. The loss was at San Diego State.
Early Bumps and Bruises/Redshirting... Junior center Chadrack Lufile did not play in the exhibition due to a left knee injury, but picked up limited minutes against NC Central, VCU and WCU... Demetric Williams played 12 minutes in the exhibition after missing time in the preseason returning from ankle surgery, and played 12 minutes in the NC Central game... Fred VanVleet played 11 minutes in the exhibition after missing some preseason with an ankle injury... Freshmen Zach Bush and Derail Green did not play and will redshirt.
Shockers Picked Fourth; Hall Preseason Honorable Mention All-MVC... Defending champion Wichita State was picked fourth in the Missouri Valley Conference preseason poll of league coaches, sports information directors and media, the league announced Monday. The complete poll is listed to the left. In addition, senior forward Carl Hall was picked as a member of the preseason honorable mention team.
What they're saying...
"In what should have been a rebuilding year for Wichita State, the Shockers have made their way into the MVC title conversation.Can they keep the momentum up? Andy Glockner weighs in." -CNNSI.com, Dec 4
"You probably can't name one player on the team, but don't sleep on the Shockers. They're reloaded and headed toward another NCAA berth." -Matt Norlander, Wake Up Call article, CBS Sports.com, Dec. 5
Home-court advantage...Ranking the best home-court advantages in the country (voters: Jason King, Andy Katz, Dana O'Neil, Fran Fraschilla), ordered by total points with number of first-place votes in parentheses:
1. Allen Fieldhouse, Kansas (3): 39
2. Cameron Indoor Stadium, Duke (1): 37
3. Assembly Hall, Indiana: 24
4. Carrier Dome, Syracuse: 23
5. The Kennel, Gonzaga: 18
6. Viejas Arena, San Diego State: 17
7. Rupp Arena, Kentucky: 16
8. The Pit, New Mexico: 14
9. Breslin Center, Michigan State: 8
10. Charles Koch Arena, Wichita State: 6