Iowa (5-0) vs. Wichita State (5-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, November 21, 9:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Moon Palace Resort (990) -- Cancun, Mexico. Television: CBSSN. Home Record: Iowa 4-0, WSU 3-0. Away Record: Iowa 0-0, WSU 1-0. Neutral Record: Iowa 0-0, WSU 1-0. Conference Record: Iowa 1-0, WSU 0-0. Series Record: Series tied, 4-4.
GAME NOTES: The final game of the Cancun Challenge will feature a pair of unbeaten teams as the Iowa Hawkeyes and Wichita State Shockers meet in the Riviera Division championship game.
The Hawkeyes never trailed in their 63-55 first round win over Western Kentucky on Tuesday. Coach Fran McCaffery had to be delighted with his team's effort on both ends of the floor as the school produced its first 5-0 start in four seasons. After needing a huge rally to overcome a 23-point deficit versus Gardner-Webb on Saturday, Iowa made sure WKU did not jump in front by holding the Hilltoppers to 28.6 percent shooting from the floor in the opening 20 minutes. Although the Hawkeyes played well, they still exhibited their youth with 18 turnovers.
Wichita State continued to impress with its fifth straight win to start the season. The Shockers overpowered the DePaul Blue Devils to outscore their Big East foes, 44-8, in points in the paint. Coach Gregg Marshall's team had only let one opponent score more than 60 points coming into the game, but he can not be disappointed in his squad's defensive effort that help DePaul to 15- of-49 shooting from the floor in the game. Wichita State has defeated all but one of its fist five of its opponents by double-digit margins. The one exception is VCU, which the Shockers beat by two points after Malcolm Armstead made an 18- foot jumper as time expired.
This will be the ninth meeting between these programs. Both sides have won four games a piece in the rivalry's history. The Shockers won the last two to tie the all-time series.
Iowa missed all five of its three-point attempts after halftime on Tuesday, but it still managed to extend its lead to as much as 12. The team shot 50 percent from the floor, but still only tied WKU, 33-33, over the final 20 minutes due to its eight second half turnovers. Freshman guard Mike Gesell came into the matchup with WKU on a terrible shooting slump in which he made just 1-of-14 field goal attempts over a two-game span. The rookie bounced back with 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting fro the field to lead all scorers. Roy Devyn Marble was a primary focus of the Hilltoppers' defenders. Instead of forcing bad shots with defenders draped all over him, Devyn Marble dished out five assists and managed to score 10 points on 3-of-5 shooting from the field (4-of-4 FT). Melsahn Basabe was also very efficient with 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting.
Although the Shockers scored a great deal of their points in the paint on Tuesday, they were ice cold from the outside. The team went 4-of-16 from behind the three-point line while also missing 11 free throws. Wichita State can afford to have off-shooting nights if it continues to assault its opponent's field goal percentages with stifling defense. The Shockers are a very tough team to prepare for due to their balanced attack. Demetric Williams and Armstead came into Tuesday with respective scoring averages of 7.2 and 6.4 ppg. Armstead caught DePaul off guard and went onto to lead the team with 17 points. Williams was close behind with 16 points. Carl Hall also scored in double figures with 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting, which he accompanied with five boards and three blocks.
Iowa's high turnover frequency should be a major concern for McCaffery as he enters his 300th career game as a head coach. The Hawkeyes will be able to get away with loose ball handling versus the likes of Western Kentucky, but the Shockers are far too physical and scrappy to be careless against. Iowa will need Gesell to stay hot to stretch the defense or it will lose its third in a row to Wichita State.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wichita State 75, Iowa 70
11/21 10:33:41 ET