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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 23, 4 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Charles Koch Arena (10,506) -- Wichita, Kansas. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: Detroit 12-2, Wichita State 14-1. Away Record: Detroit 6-7, Wichita State 7-4. Neutral Record: Detroit 0-0, Wichita State 2-0. Conference Record: Detroit 10-4, Wichita State 12-4. Series Record: Wichita State leads, 12-7. .
GAME NOTES: The Detroit Titans will take a break from their Horizon League schedule to visit Charles Koch Arena for a non-conference duel with the Missouri Valley Conference leading Wichita State Shockers as part of the BracketBuster event.
Ray McCallum's Titans picked up their second straight victory and sixth in seven games last weekend as they downed Valparaiso, 84-74, on the road to narrow the Crusaders' lead in the league standings to just a single game. The win improved Detroit to 18-9 on the season and put it just one game below the .500 mark in true road games. Ray McCallum, whose father is the team's head coach, paces the squad with 18.7 points and 4.7 assists per outing. Nick Minnerath is Detroit's most productive forward with 14.8 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. Jason Calliste has proven he can fill it up on occasion and posts 14.4 ppg with a 38.2 percent efficiency rating from beyond the arc, while Doug Anderson and Juwan Howard Jr. both serve their duties as role players well.
Greg Marshall's Shockers have regained their composure since their three-game slide that consisted of setbacks to Indiana State, Northern Iowa and Southern Illinois. After being upset by the Salukis, Wichita State won three games in a row before avenging their loss to the Sycamores on Tuesday with a 66-62 victory at the Hulman Center in Terre Haute. Cleanthony Early, who leads the squad with 14.6 ppg, pumped in 19 points to guide the Shockers past ISU, which improved their record to an impressive 23-5.
This will be the 20th meeting in history between these schools on the hardwood. Although the Shockers hold a 12-7 all-time series edge, the rivalry has been idle since the 1982-83 season.
Detroit's win over Valpo turned into a shootout as it knocked down 53.3 percent of its field-goal tries to the Crusaders' 50 percent efficiency from the floor. The Titans got after it on the defensive end to swipe 10 steals and caused 18 turnovers and they also made good on 16-of-21 at the charity stripe. The Titans are one of the most difficult teams to defend in the nation as indicated by their scoring average of 79.0 ppg that ranks sixth nationally. Defensively, there is room for improvement as they give up nearly 70 points per tilt.
Early had plenty of help in WSU's victory over ISU on Tuesday as Malcolm Armstead added 18 points, Demetric Williams tallied 12 points and seven boards and Carl Hall got into the mix with 10 points. After the contest progressed into the intermission tied up at 25, the Shockers connected on 44.4 percent of their field goal tries to arrive at the four-point decision. The reserves played a huge role to help WSU hold a 26-2 advantage in bench points. Although Marshall's team is not quite as explosive as the visitors with a scoring average of 69.0 ppg, it is very good on the boards (38.3 rpg) and is even better defensively with just 59.2 allowed points per outing.
This could be the best matchup of the entire BracketBuster weekend as it features two teams that participated in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. McCallum and Calliste give Detroit an advantage in the backcourt, but the Shockers are much stronger on the interior. The Titans will need to produce a decent shooting display to pull out the win, as Minnerath will have trouble finding his points against WSU's front line.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Detroit 73, Wichita State 67
02/23 10:37:12 ET