College Basketball

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(6) Wichita State (16-0) at Missouri State (12-3)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 11, 8 p.m. (et)

FACTS & STATS: Site: JQH Arena (11,000) -- Springfield, Missouri. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: WSU 10-0, MSU 8-0. Away Record: WSU 4-0, MSU 3-2. Neutral Record: WSU 2-0, MSU 1-1. Conference Record: WSU 3-0, MSU 2-1. Series Record: Wichita State leads, 32-30.

GAME NOTES: The sixth-ranked Wichita State Shockers face one of their toughest tests to date, as they put their unblemished record on the line in Saturday's Missouri Valley Conference clash with the Missouri State Bears.

Wichita State is one of only five teams left at the Division I level still without a loss, as the team is 16-0 overall and 3-0 in conference. The Shockers recently topped visiting Illinois State, 66-47, and they now take to the road for this bout before returning home for a pair against Bradley and Indiana State in the next week.

Missouri State has also been impressive through the first two months of the season, recording a 12-3 mark, which includes a 2-1 league ledger. The Bears have won four of their last five games, with the one setback in that stretch coming at Loyola-Chicago (89-57) last Sunday. The team bounced back by posting a 68-65 win at Bradley three days later, and is putting its perfect 8-0 home record on the line tonight. Wichita State is the highest ranked team the Bears have every hosted.

Wichita State owns a 32-30 advantage in the all-time series with Missouri State, and the Shockers have won the last five meetings.

Simply put, you don't get to be undefeated this late in the season if you aren't getting it done in nearly all facets of the game. Wichita State is averaging 76.3 ppg while allowing just 60.9 ppg, and they are outshooting foes (.456 to .400), outrebounding them (39.2 to 31.4 rpg), and they are +3.9 in turnover differential. The Shockers boast four double-digit scorers among the starting five, led by Cleanthony Early and his 16.3 ppg. Early also spearheads the effort on the glass with 6.4 rpg, while Fred VanVleet chips in with 12.0 ppg while handing out a club-best 5.4 apg.

The Shockers didn't play very well in their recent bout with Illinois State, but it's a true testament to the team's overall talent and desire as it still prevailed with relative ease. Early and Ron Baker scored 11 points apiece to pace the unit, while VanVleet dished out 10 assists. WSU shot only 41.1 percent from the floor, but nailed nine 3-pointers while holding the Redbirds to just 32.7 percent efficiency, which included misses on 19 of their 26 long- range launches.

Balance is the key for Missouri State, which despite having a pair of double- digit scorers in Marcus Marshall (14.3 ppg) and Jarmar Gulley (13.7 ppg), is putting up 73.7 ppg on typical shooting efforts of .435 overall and .363 from beyond the arc. Seven other players average between 5.1 and 7.6 ppg, and the Bears also use more than 13 forced turnovers per outing to help overcome any shortcoming they may have themselves.

Gulley and Marshall were once again the top performers for the Bears in their recent win over Bradley, as the two scored 26 and 20 points, respectively, combining to go 7-of-14 from 3-point range. No other player tallied more than eight points for Missouri State, which made good on 51.1 percent of its total shots while holding the Braves to 43.8 percent. The Bears won the game despite being outrebounded by a 35-22 margin.

The Shockers are clearly the class of the MVC, but don't be surprised if the Bears man up and give the visitors something to worry about.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wichita State 68, Missouri State 64

01/11 12:35:29 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
ECU 50
CIN 46
Final
BOS 75
MIA 83
Final
NYK 92
LAL 80
Final
FSU 55
MIAMI 54
Final
YOUNG 80
OU 96
 
Final
ECU 50
CIN 46
Final
MSU 76
MICH 66
Final
DAY 101
FORD 77
Final
MON 76
MAN 87
 
Final
CAN 67
MAR 75
 
Final
NIAG 105
QUIN 100
 
Final
USC 39
UTAH 67
Final
WASH 88
CAL 90
Final
HOU 70
UCONN 68
Final
WILL 62
NDST 64
 
Final
MON 2
ARI 3
Final
WAS 3
STL 4
Final
PIT 0
NAS 4
Final
VAN 2
MIN 4
 
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SEA
NEP