Wichita State (4-0) vs. DePaul (2-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, November 20, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Moon Palace Resort (990) -- Cancun, Mexico. Television: CBSSN. Home Record: WSU 3-0, DePaul 2-1. Away Record: WSU 1-0, DePaul 0-0. Neutral Record: WSU 0-0, DePaul 0-0. Conference Record: WSU 0-0, DePaul 0-0. Series Record: DePaul leads, 4-2.
GAME NOTES: The undefeated Wichita State Shockers try to keep the ball rolling as they head to Moon Palace Resort for a Cancun Classic game against the DePaul Blue Demons.
The winner of this contest will advance to face the winner of Iowa/Western Kentucky game.
The Shockers have been impressive early this season on the way to a 4-0 record. All of Wichita State's victories have been by double-digit margins with the exception of its 53-51 decision at VCU, which came courtesy of a buzzer-beater by Malcolm Armstead. After taking down the Rams to avenge their 2012 NCAA Tournament loss, the Shockers cruised pass Western Carolina and Howard in their first two rounds of the Cancun Classic. Coach Gregg Marshall's team is strong defensively as it has allowed only one of its four opponents to score more than 60 points.
DePaul bounced back from a 12-point loss at home to Gardner-Webb in the first round with a rout of Austin Peay on Saturday. The decision over the Governors improved the Blue Demons' record to 2-1 before they departed for Cancun. Coach Oliver Purnell is now in his third season with the program after a pair of 16th place finished in the Big East standings. Purnell guided Clemson to three consecutive NCAA Tournament berths before arriving at DePaul.
This will be just the seventh meeting between these programs on the basketball court. DePaul leads 4-2 after its 83-62 win in the first round of the NCAA Championship on March 17, 1988.
It would not have been a shocker if the Shockers digressed from the 2011-2012 season that ended with a NCAA Tournament appearance after losing the senior trio of Joe Ragland, Garrett Stutz, and Toure' Murry to graduation. However, their departure opened up the doors for forward Carl Hall to have a vital role in his senior campaign. Hall is leading the team through four games with 14 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per contest. Junior transfer Cleanthony Early and redshirt freshman guard Ron Baker have helped replace some of the departed production by averaging 12.8 and 9.8 points per game, respectively. Early is also helping on the glass with 24 total rebounds, while Baker's jump-shot range has yielded nine makes from beyond the arc.
DePaul has a few players with range on their shot as well in Cleveland Melvin and Brandon Young. Melvin has been a force at the small forward position since joining the program for the 2010-2011 season. He has increased his scoring and rebounding each season and currently owns averages of 20.0 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. Melvin's sensational play over the past few seasons leave him just 13 shy of his 1,000th career point entering Tuesday. Defenses are unable to key on Melvin with Young lurking on the perimeter. The junior guard is second to Melvin on the team with 15.7 ppg, but he also does a nice job facilitating.
The Blue Demons have a few talented players, but they lack the inside toughness needed to blow past physical teams like Wichita State. The Shockers are not as adept offensively, but their size and strength on the defensive end should help them fend of DePaul and advance.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wichita State 68, DePaul 62
11/20 10:34:53 ET