Missouri State (11-21) vs. Wichita State (24-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, March 8, 7:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Scottrade Center (20,948) -- St. Louis, Missouri. Television: MVC Network. Home Record: Missouri State 8-7, Wichita State 15-2. Away Record: Missouri State 2-12, Wichita State 7-5. Neutral Record: Missouri State 1-2, Wichita State 2-0. Conference Record: Missouri State 7-11, Wichita State 12-6. Series Record: Wichita State leads, 31-30.
GAME NOTES: The No. 7-seeded Missouri State Bears take aim at an upset as they tangle with the second-seeded Wichita State Shockers in the second round of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament at the Scottrade Center.
The Shockers swept Missouri State in their regular-season series for the second consecutive year as they won, 62-52, in Springfield before completing a 79-50 rout of the Bears at home.
Missouri State will be playing for the second day in a row as it defeated Southern Illinois, 61-53, in the opening round of action of Arch Madness on Thursday. MVC Freshman of the Year Marcus Marshall scored 18 points to lead the way, while Anthony Downing added 16 points and Christian Kirk had 10 points and eight rebounds. Downing is MSU's clear leader as he paces the squad in scoring (13.7), rebounds (138), assists (85), steals (35) and minutes (34.3 per game).
MVC Coach of the Year Gregg Marshall's team had the No. 1 seed in its grasps before it suffered an upset, 59-56, loss at home to Evansville on Feb. 27. The Shockers then needed to defeat Creighton on the road to win the regular-season title, but Doug McDermott refused to let that happen as he scored 41 points to deny them the No. 1 seed. Wichita State is still a very likely potential candidate for the NCAA Tournament as it registered wins over Virginia Commonwealth, Iowa, Air Force and Detroit during its non-conference season.
In their first round tilt, the Bears held a 27-22 edge in the rebounding battle, shot 48.8 percent (21-for-43) from the floor and made 20 percent (3- of-15) of their shots from 3-point land. The Salukis, who were guilty of 16 turnovers, shot 22-for-43 from the floor and 3-of-9 from distance, but the Bears' 16-for-22 effort from the free-throw line overpowered their opponent's 6-of-10 performance at the charity stripe. The strong showing was a breath of fresh air, as the Bears came in ranked last in the league in most offensive categories, including points (59.5 pg), assists (10.4 pg) and field-goal percentage (.404). They are also the worst rebounding team in the league bringing in just 30 boards a game.
While the Shockers' scoring offense is above average by league standards (69.7 ppg), they have become one of the favorites thanks to their tough defense, which allows a conference-low 60.8 ppg on just 40.4 percent field-goal efficiency. Cleanthony Early leads the unit with 14.5 ppg and adds 5.2 rpg. Carl Hall missed seven games earlier in the season and the team is clear much more dangerous with him in the fold as he tallies 12.4 ppg, 7.0 rpg and 1.5 bpg, all while shooting 55.1 percent from the floor.
Wichita State simply has Missouri State's number of late. The Bears were lucky to get past the first round, but would need to produce a monumental performance to advance any further.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wichita State 67, Missouri State 56
03/08 10:34:27 ET