Despite playing without its injured leading scorer and rebounder from last season’s 31-5 squad, sixth-ranked Wichita State is just a one-point loss to Notre Dame in the championship game of the Maui Invitational from being unbeaten. The Shockers, coming off a 69-62 victory at No. 16 Baylor on Saturday, return home to host South Dakota State on Tuesday night.
The win over the Bears ended the nation’s second longest nonconference home win streak (46 games) and was once again accomplished without 6-8 forward Markis McDuffie, who had surgery for a stress fracture in his left foot and is expected to be sidelined until the end of the month. “If (Baylor) is as good as I think they are, this will be a very big win come (NCAA) tournament time,” Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall said. The Shockers certainly could use McDuffie, who averaged 11.5 points and 5.1 rebounds last season, on Tuesday night to help defend South Dakota State’s 6-9 Mike Daum, the nation’s leading returning scorer who averaged 25.1 last season and had 20 in a 89-67 loss to Wichita State. “He’s like Larry Bird,” Marshall told the Wichita Eagle. “He’s a fantastic player who is probably going to play in the NBA. I think he’s just a tremendous talent. Very versatile. Great skill. Great touch. Good size.”
TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN3
ABOUT SOUTH DAKOTA STATE (7-3): The Jackrabbis, who won the Summit League tournament last season and return four starters including conference player of the year Daum, were the pick to win the Summit League this year in the conference’s preseason poll. The team already has victories over Power Five conference schools Iowa (80-72) and Ole Miss (99-97 in OT) but comes in off a 73-53 neutral site loss to Missouri Valley Conference favorite Missouri State. Daum leads the team in scoring (18.8) and rebounding (7.7) while freshman guard David Jenkins Jr. (14.2) and four-year starter Reed Tellinghuisen (11.9) also are averaging in double figures.
ABOUT WICHITA STATE (6-1): The Shockers, who as a team are shooting 50 percent from the floor, have six players averaging 8.7 points or more per game. Shaquille Morris, a 6-8, 265-pound senior, leads the team in scoring (13.5) and blocks (2.0) while also shooting 45.5 percent from 3-point range. Sophomore point guard Landry Shamet (13.7), a returning first team all-Missouri Valley pick along with McDuffie, is also averaging double figures, as are sophomore forward Darral Willis Jr. (11.4) and senior guard Conner Frankamp (10.9), who began his career at Kansas.
1. Wichita State, which moves to the American Athletic Conference this year, leads the nation in rebound margin (plus-15.9) and has outrebounded 12 straight opponents dating back to last season.
2. Frankamp, the MVP of the 2017 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, has connected on a 3-pointer in 29 consecutive games.
3. The Shockers have won 42 consecutive nonconference games at Koch Arena dating back to 2011, when they lost to VCU, which eventually went to the Final Four that season.
PREDICTION: Wichita State 90, South Dakota State 69