Wichita State (1-0) at VCU (1-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, November 13, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Siegel Center (7,622) -- Richmond, Virginia. Television: ESPN U. Home Record: WSU 1-0, VCU 1-0. Away Record: WSU 0-0, VCU 0-0. Neutral Record: WSU 0-0, VCU 0-0. Conference Record: WSU 0-0, VCU 0-0. Series Record: VCU leads, 2-1.
GAME NOTES: The VCU Rams are set to host the Wichita State Shockers at the Siegel Center tonight in a rematch of last season's NCAA Tournament second- round matchup.
Wichita State got its season off on the right foot with a 71-57 victory over North Carolina Central. The Shockers have now won 17 straight season openers, including six in a row under head coach Gregg Marshall.
VCU also started the season strong with a convincing home win over Florida Gulf Coast on Friday night, 80-57. It was the Rams' 26th consecutive win when scoring 65 points or more, and it also marked the 19th consecutive sellout at the Siegel Center, a building where they went 13-1 last season.
As a No. 12 seed in the NCAA Tournament last season, VCU upset the fifth- ranked Shockers, 62-59. The win gave the Rams a 2-1 lead in the all-time series.
Wichita State introduced a new look in its opener, with four of its five starters making their first career start in a Shocker uniform, and the results were largely impressive as the team shot nearly 45 percent from the floor and held North Carolina Central to less than 38 percent. Although the team has a lot of new faces, it was actually a veteran who was the spark plug in the victory, as Carl Hall tallied a double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds while also blocking three shots. Hall, who averaged 8.4 ppg a year ago, was a preseason All-Missouri Valley Conference honorable mention selection. Ron Baker poured in 18 points thanks in large part to a stellar night from three- point range (4-of-7). Early Cleanthony logged significant minutes off the bench, tallying 10 points, five boards, two blocks and a steal. Malcolm Armstead, a transfer from Oregon, was cold from the floor, shooting just 1- of-5 including 0-of-4 from beyond the arc, but he made up for it by dishing out six assists while turning the ball over only once.
VCU was spearheaded by an 18-2 first half run in its blowout victory over Florida Gulf Coast. The Rams had a modest night shooting, connecting on 43.8 percent of its field goal attempts, including just 8-of-30 from three-point range, but they attempted 29 more shots than their opponent thanks in large part to winning the battle on the boards (43 to 29) and forcing 25 turnovers. Briante Weber played just 18 minutes off the bench, but it was plenty of time for him to score 13 points and log a school-record 10 steals. Treveon Graham paced the team in scoring with 15 points and he also produced seven rebounds and three assists, while Juvonte Reddic narrowly missed a double-double with 10 points and nine boards. Adding to the impressive bench effort was Rob Bradenberg, who scored 11 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the floor.
Both teams experienced a bit of an overhaul in the off-season, and while expecting repeat performances from their NCAA Tournament runs may be setting the bar too high, both have plenty of talent to be major factors in their respective conferences. Wichita State is a tough draw this early in the season, but VCU has been nearly unbeatable at home.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: VCU 74, Wichita State 70
11/13 10:33:48 ET