NEXT GAME DETAILS
SET THE SCENE
Thanksgiving – Turkey, family, and Shocker basketball, what else could we ask for? The Shockers will have a rematch from their Final Four game with #10 Louisville on Thursday. This will hands down be the toughest test for either team so far this season. Wichita State and Louisville have a common opponent in Long Beach State this year; WSU won 92-55 and UL won 88-56.
Rick Pitino and his Cardinals had their hands full in the Bahamas for their first game. Pitino found himself going to OT with Old Dominion, but ultimately winning the game. Going to OT didn’t help anything for Louisville’s short turn-around, and need for fresh legs against WSU. For once, Wichita State is on the positive side of the short turn-around in tournament play, which hurt the Shockers in last year’s NCAA Tournament. The winner of today’s game faces either #20 Baylor, or #24 Michigan State in the finals of Battle 4 Atlantis on Friday.
Wichita State and Louisville have recent history, and some long term history, all though short-lived. Louisville resided in the MVC for 10 years from 1965-1975. Louisville leads the series 20-5, and are 1-0 on neutral courts. The Shockers have a chance for revenge from the most recent meeting in 2013, in Atlanta at the Final Four.
KEYS TO VICTORY
- Defense, defense, defense – Typically when talking about WSU and defense being a key to victory, it’s 99% of the time going to be the Shockers’ defense and not their opponent. This is one of those times. Louisville is ranked #1 in adjusted defensive efficiency on KenPom.com; Wichita State is ranked 3rd. This is going to be one of the best defensive games in college basketball this year, and Wichita State may not see a better defense all season.
- Rest & relaxation – Wichita State had a nice stretch of rest and relaxation before today’s game. Less than 24 hours of rest and it’s a nice stretch you say? Compared to Louisville’s about 13 hours, yes. Wichita State’s bench has allowed plenty of fresh legs to cycle in, and the ability for players to give 110% when they’re in the game. WSU’s bench will have to constantly apply pressure to a Cardinals team that could need a nap later today.
- Who brought their Windex? – Today’s game will most likely come down to rebounding, being the separating factor. Wichita State and Louisville have very similar approaches to rebounding. You ain’t getting it, is basically how each team goes into rebounding. Elbows will be thrown, bodies will be bumped with no regard for human life. I fully expect some blood to be spilled on the hardwood over a loose rebound today. However, Louisville should be worried that Old Dominion out-rebounded them yesterday.
Wichita State will play the winner or loser of #20 Baylor vs #24 Michigan State. Win or lose, the next game will be beneficial for building a strong out of conference tournament résumé. If Wichita State is crowned champs in the Bahamas, they will have one of the best records in college basketball.
Make sure to enter our giveaway for one of our new shirts!
Follow us on Twitter @ShockerHoops, like us on Facebook, and for more discussion, join the community at ShockerNet.net. ShockerHoops.net is a publication of Knockwood Interactive, L.L.C. and is not affiliated with Wichita State University.