The Wichita State Shockers visit the Siegel Center on Wednesday to play the Rams in what has become a bit of a rivalry.
- What: VCU (1-0, 0-0) vs. WSU (1-0, 0-0)
- Where: Stuart C. Siegel Center
- When: Tuesday, November 13th at 7:00 PM
- Listen: 107.3 WBBT
- Watch: Online, ESPNU (Comcast 730 & Verizon 73)
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February 18, 2011. VCU was coming off two of the most embarrassing home losses of the Siegel Center era: a 70-59 thumping by Old Dominion that felt like a 40 point blow out, and a 71-51 shellacking by George Mason. Suddenly, less than one month removed from a nine game winning streak, the senior heavy VCU Rams looked lost as they ventured to Wichita, Kansas to face the Wichita State Shockers in an ESPN BracketBusters matchup. Both teams fought for 40 minutes in the extremely hostile Charles Koch Arena. With 0.8 seconds remaining, Joey Rodriguez hit two free-throws to steal a 68-67 victory. Without beating WSU, VCU would have never gone to the Final Four, much less made the NCAA Tournament.
In 2012, many thought WSU was equipped to have a VCU-like run in the NCAA tournament, but the #5 seeded Shockers ended up getting paired with #12 VCU. Led by five seniors including one of the most efficient scorers in the nation in Joe Ragland and a talented 7-footer in Garrett Stutz, the Shockers were heavily favored to win. Instead, VCU won the 2012 tournament’s first upset 62-59.
After being underdogs in 2011 and 2012, VCU faces Wichita State as a favorite on Tuesday night.
After the 2012 NCAA tournament, WSU lost five seniors including Joe Ragland and Garrett Stutz. This season, the Shockers have a healthy balance between experience and talent, but they are certainly not last season’s squad. Sixth-year head coach Gregg Marshall’s teams typically boast efficient shooting and effective rebounding.
VCU collected 20 steals against FGCU, and the Rams probably won’t replicate the performance as WSU’s backcourt is much more talented than FGCU. Senior, Oregon transfer Malcolm Armstead offers crucial experience at the point guard position, while his backup, Fred Van Vleet, is a talented top-100 recruit out of Illinois. Both players are new additions to the team, and both will look to prove themselves against HAVOC! in the hostile Stuart C. Siegel Center. Redshirt freshman shooting guard Ron Baker is the Shockers’ x-factor. Baker dropped 18 points in the season opener while shooting 4-7 from 3-point range.
In 2010, Northwest Florida State College forward Carl Hall made a commitment to join the Rams in 2011. Hall eventually changed his mind and joined the Wichita State Shockers. Now a senior, Hall watched VCU beat WSU in 2011, and in 2012 he played as the Rams beat the Shockers in the NCAA tournament. On Tuesday night, VCU has the opportunity to go 3-0 against WSU since Carl Hall decommited.1
Entering the season, Hall was picked as a preseason Missouri Valley Conference honorable mention. In his junior campaign, #22 was extremely efficient on the offensive end, but he had the benefit of playing alongside Garrett Stutz and Joe Ragland. The success of his senior campaign will depend upon his ability to score when not surrounded by five talented seniors. Hall proved capable in the Shockers season opener against North Carolina Central when he scored 17 points, grabbed 13 rebounds, and blocked three shots.
VCU returns too much talent, and WSU too little talent from last season’s NCAA tournament teams. WSU will likely put up a fight, but VCU will win in front of its 20th consecutive home sell-out.
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Wichita State University Profile
- Location: Wichita, Kansas
- Enrollment: 14,806
- Conference: Missouri Valley Conference
- All time series: VCU leads 2-1
- Last meeting: VCU won 62-59
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