The Oklahoma Sooners are north of the Oklahoma-Kansas state line to play the No. 3 team in the nation — the Wichita State Shockers. The game will technically be at a neutral site — INTRUST Bank Arena in downtown Wichita — but the Sooners will experience their toughest road atmosphere of the season short of Allen Fieldhouse. With Kansas’ eligibility issues involving Billy Preston and Silvio De Sousa likely lingering well into conference play, this will also possibly be Oklahoma’s toughest test of the regular season in general.
Oklahoma (7-1) vs. Wichita State (8-1): 3 p.m. CT
Where: INTRUST Bank Arena (15,004)
Commentary: Rich Hollenberg and Tom Crean
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Radio: Sooner Radio Network (KRXO 107.7 FM “The Franchise” in Oklahoma City; KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa) with Toby Rowland and Kevin Henry
About Wichita State
- The campus of Wichita State University is located about six miles from INTRUST Bank Arena. The Shockers usually play at the on-campus Charles Koch Arena (10,506).
- Wichita State’s only loss of the season came at the hands of Notre Dame by a score of 67-66 at the Maui Invitational. The Shockers are 2-0 against Big 12 teams this season, grabbing wins against at both Baylor (69-62) and Oklahoma State (78-66).
- The Shockers are allowing only 68.2 PPG this season. Only two teams (Cal and South Dakota State) have surpassed the 70-point mark against them, but both were actually able to surpass the 80-point mark in those games.
- Wichita State is led by Landry Shamet, who averages 16.3 points and 4.3 assists. The Shockers have three other players — Shaquille Morris, Connor Frankamp and Darral Willis Jr. — averaging double-figures and have 10 players averaging over 10 minutes per contest.
- Head coach Gregg Marshall (11th season) has amassed a record of 269-91 and has taken the Shockers to six consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, a Final Four and five conference championships.
- The Shockers now play in the American Conference after several decades of competing in the Missouri Valley Conference.
- National POY candidate Trae Young - It’s obviously quite early, but freshman point Trae Young has been arguably the most impressive player in college basketball this season. Leading the nation in scoring (28.8) and standing at third in assists per game (8.8), Young will need to be a spectacular as ever if OU is going to have a chance in this one. No, he obviously doesn’t have to surpass his point total from the Oregon game (43), but he’ll need to be as sharp as ever against one of the best defensive teams in the country. He’ll also be going up against one of the nation’s top point guards in Landry Shamet, so this will be a big test for the freshman.
- The Crowd - In addition to the fact that Oklahoma’s will be facing an elite defensive basketball team, Trae Young and the Sooners will have to deal with a sellout crowd of 15,000 in downtown Wichita. There may be a tiny bit of Crimson spread throughout the arena (Wichita is home to plenty of OU fans, after all), but the crowd OU will face will be more intense than most of the ones they’ll see in the Big 12.
- Battle Down Low - OU’s big men will also be in for quite a test both offensively and defensively. Edmond native Shaquille Morris is a load in the paint at 280 pounds and uses that to his advantage when posting people up. He’s also an deceptively athletic player who can defend at a high level. Darral Willis is a more of a stretch big who also has the ability to hit from deep. Khadeem Lattin, Brady Manek and Jamuni McNeace will have their hands full today, to say the least.
Wichita State defeated Oklahoma at Chesapeake Energy Arena last season by a score of 76-73, but a very young Oklahoma team could have easily come away with a W had they executed better down the stretch. Both of these teams return a lot of talent from a year ago and have also added some quality talent to the rosters — particularly in Oklahoma’s case. I think Oklahoma will fall likely in Wichita, but I’m expecting to take some positives away from this one. A loss also wouldn’t really do anything to harm OU’s chances at an NCAA bid, so the Sooners are sort of playing with house money today.
Wichita State 88, Oklahoma 83