On Saturday afternoon two Mid-Major heavy weights will meet in Cedar Falls, Iowa for the first of two meetings that will take place over the next month. Wichita State will be visiting Northern Iowa in the first matchup between two nationally ranked Missouri Valley Conference schools since 1982. Both teams have earned these rankings by putting together 19-2 starts while beating plenty of bigger opponents on the way. The winner on Saturday will be on the fast track to a number one seed going into the MVC Tournament.
The Panthers and Shockers are two of the hottest teams in all of college basketball by winning 8 and 9 games in a row respectively. Defending MVC Champion Wichita State is led by Veteran sharp shooter Ron Baker as well as a very experienced surrounding cast that only lost one game last season. Northern Iowa will lean on its ‘do-everything’ Senior Seth Tuttle Saturday afternoon. To beat Northern Iowa you need to shut down Tuttle who leads the Panthers this season in points, rebounds, and assists per game. Will Wichita State continue its dominance in the MVC or are the Panthers going to emerge as the team to beat?
Although it ended earlier than hoped, the Wichita State Men’s Basketball team is coming off a historic, undefeated 2013-2014 regular season. The No. 1 seeded Shockers lost in the second round of last season’s NCAA Tournament to the powerhouse Kentucky Wildcats. Heading into the tournament, Wichita State hoped to become the first Missouri Valley Conference school to win a National Championship in Men’s Basketball. Although they lost to the eventual national runner-up, the Shockers are looking for a better finish this year. Hopes are high in the heart of Kansas!
Looking forward into the 2014-2015 season, the defending MVC champions will have a great chance of repeating their championship run with two of their three leading scorers, Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker, returning. The 11th ranked team in the nation will need to elevate their game with the loss of last year’s leading scorer Cleanthony Early who contributed 16.4 PPG last year. The Shockers will start their 2014 campaign by hosting New Mexico St. on November 14, before they square off against University of Memphis on November 18. Can VanderVleet and Baker lead Wichita St. on a deep run in the tournament dance this year, or will they once again get caught up in the madness of March?
-Thanks to the Prep Sportswear’s very own sports guru, Erik H. for contributing!