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Beginning Monday, June 21st, 2004 CHN began unveiling 144 Team previews in 144 Days. CHN ranked the nations top 144 teams, and is unveiling one per day leading up until the opening day of the 2004-05 Season.


Bookmark the 144 Teams in 144 Days home page, and check back each day to see which team is previewed next.



#71 Wichita State Shockers

Missouri Valley

 2003-04: 21-11, 12-6, 4th

2003-04 postseason: NIT


By Adam Glatczak


Breaking in the refurbished Koch (nee Levitt) Arena, the Shockers continued their yearly improvement under coach Mark Turgeon. Wichita State finished 21-11 and in a three-way tie for second in the Missouri Valley Conference, losing in double overtime to Florida State in the first round of the NIT. WSU also averaged more than 10,000 fans a game and ranked 45th in NCAA Division I in attendance, impressive stats for a program that hasn't been to the NCAAs since getting an at-large bid in 1988.

Who’s Out: Aaron Hogg wasn't quite the offensive threat last year that he was as a junior. The guard was still an important player off the bench though, even playing with a nagging injury. Reserve guard contributors Matt Clark and Bret Wise also depart, while the loss of Jerome (Fridge) Holman as point guard will almost certainly mean this year's team has a different personality than last year's. Holman was an enigma, a good distributor who could win a game for you or lose it by shooting too much.

Who’s In: The starting five should be strong, but with most of its main bench players gone, Wichita State will need contributions from some newcomers, many of whom redshirted last year. Among those expected to be providing the depth are freshman guard P.J. Couisnard, sophomore forwards Kyle Wilson and Calvin Walls and freshman center Zach Green.

Who to Watch: Jamar Howard is one of the top defensive players in the country and can drive opponents nuts. He's almost universally regarded as the type of player you hate to play against but would love to have on your team. Howard also isn't bad offensively, and neither is Randy Burns. The senior shot a scary 38.8% last year but is better than that. He shot better and averaged more points per game as a sophomore (15 ppg as opposed to 12 ppg last year). Center Paul Miller and forward Rob Kampman are excellent third and fourth options. Kampman is unselfish and an excellent shooter, particularly from three-point land (42.6%). Miller is still a work in progress but at 6-10 has height not seen often in the Missouri Valley. Also a pitcher on WSU's nationally prominent baseball team, he needs to be a little tougher around the basket. Point guard will certainly be a spot to watch. Sophomore Adam Liberty would be the ideal starter, but it's possible Burns could end up handling the position some.

Projected Conference Rank: 2nd. Even if the Shockers do finish behind Southern Illinois in the MVC, they are good enough to get an at-large bid to the NCAAs. Like SIU, Wichita State has all-conference calibur players (Howard and Burns) and their supporting cast should be well-rounded and solid. Bench roles will have to be defined, but what the Shockers really need is the Salukis' swagger in close games. WSU lost a few too many games that went down to the wire, and a big problem was offensive inconsistency; while good on defense, the team suffered dry spells on offense last year. Wichita is unselfish but needs to pay a little more attention to detail on the offensive end. Again, this team is good enough to make the NCAA tourney for the school's first time in 17 long years. Do they want it badly enough?


Projected Post-season Tournament: NIT


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Email Joel Welser: jwelser_chn@ameritech.net

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