Wichita State Shockers
Missouri Valley Conference (25-9, 12-6)
Big Wins: 12/19 Texas Tech (85-83), 1/19 Northern Iowa (60-51), 3/6 vs Illinois State (65-61)
Bad Losses: 1/16 at Creighton (56-57), 1/23 at Drake (64-78), 2/9 at Evansville (62-65)
Last NCAA Appearance: 2006, Sweet Sixteen loss to George Mason
Coach: Gregg Marshall (1-7 in 7 NCAA appearances)
Why They Can Surprise:
Like most teams in the Missouri Valley Conference, Wichita State likes to slow down the pace of the game and grind it out. When playing in a low scoring game, rebounding becomes extra important and that is what the Shockers do best. J.T. Durley may be undersized for a center, but he is a quality rebounder and a dynamic scorer. Not only will Durley battle in the paint, but he can step outside and hit the mid-range jumper and even the occasional three-pointer.
Aaron Ellis is Durley’s frontcourt mate. Ellis has more size, but he does not even play 20 minutes a game and is not much of a scoring threat. His size keeps him in the starting lineup, but Gabe Blair will play just as many minutes. Blair, a 6-8 junior, has turned into a great sixth man. Not only has he developed into a decent scorer in the paint, but Blair is the toughest rebounder on the team. Seven-footer Garrett Stutz will see plenty of playing time too and his size alone makes him a rebounding and shot altering threat and that has pushed him into the starting lineup against certain opponents.
Why They Can Disappoint:
Just like how rebounds are magnified in a low scoring game, so are turnovers and the Shockers turn the ball over too much for a team that scores 69 points per game. Most of the blame goes to the team’s top scorers. Clevin Hannah is an extremely efficient outside shooter and connects on 43.0 percent of his attempts from long range. Considering he dishes out 4.7 assists per game, it is a little unfair to blame him for too many of the turnovers, since his assist-to-turnover ratio is quite good. Toure’ Murry is the more dynamic scoring threat who can hit the outside shot and finish around the basket. Both are also solid defenders, but they will have to keep the turnovers down if Wichita State hopes to make a little tournament run.
Who To Watch:
Graham Hatch could end up being the x-factor. Like the rest of the team, Hatch helps out on the glass, but he is also the other shooter on the team. Hatch has been a glue guy who helps out where he is needed most, but he has turned into a good scorer as an upperclassman. Hatch has had some great games like when he put up 17 points against Creighton or when he scored 14 points against Iowa. But for every big game, there is a not so good game. Hatch has had plenty of double digit scoring games and Wichita State has lost just once when Hatch reached the ten point plateau this season.
Clevin Hannah, Senior, Guard, 12.1 ppg, 4.7 apg
Toure’ Murry, Sophomore, Guard, 11.9 ppg, 3.1 apg, 5.0 rpg
Graham Hatch, Junior, Guard, 9.0 ppg, 1.3 apg
J.T. Durley, Junior, Center, 11.2 ppg, 4.9 rpg
Garrett Stutz, Sophomore, Center, 7.8 ppg, 4.3 rpg
Gabe Blair, Junior, Forward, 6.3ppg, 4.6 rpg
Aaron Ellis, Junior, Forward, 3.6 ppg, 3.0 rpg
Demetric Williams, Freshman, Guard, 3.6 ppg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 69.3 (164th in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 61.4 (33, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.8 (104, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.3 (130, 6)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.5 (136, 7)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.0 (89, 4)
Free-Throw Percentage: 74.8 (15, 4)
Rebound Margin: 4.9 (36, 1)
Assists Per Game: 14.2 (88, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.1 (116, 8)
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