Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall didn’t love traveling to Flagstaff, Ariz., or Cleveland in games connected with the BracketBusters series.
Davidson College, located in Davidson, N.C., is more to his liking. Rock Hilll, S.C., where he coached Winthrop for nine season, is 50 miles away. The Shockers will play at Davidson at 11 a.m. on Feb. 18 in the made-for-TV series, a game televised either on ESPN or ESPN2.
“For me, personally, it’s going back about 45 minutes from home,” Marshall said. “I’m very familiar with Davidson, N.C. We used to scrimmage them a lot.”
Davidson (15-5) may be a disappointment for Shocker fans. WSU appeared to line up well for a game at unbeaten Murray State. The 10th-ranked Racers (21-0) would have offered WSU (18-4) a game with more national attention and upside. Murray State is No. 33 in the power rankings (RPI), two spots behind the Shockers. Davidson is No. 67. Instead, Murray State will play host to No. 18 Saint Mary’s on Feb. 18 in a matchup of two of the events three nationally ranked teams. Long Beach State plays at No. 13 Creighton.
Davidson is 9-1 in the Southern Conference after a loss Saturday at Samford. The Wildcats own wins over Kansas (80-74) and Richmond (74-61). They lost to Duke (82-69), Vanderbilt (87-83) and Charlotte (84-61).
Marshall liked the exposure a game at Murray State offered, but is satisifed with a trip to Davidson.
“I think a game against Davidson will hold its own intrigue,” Marshall said. “I saw a little bit of the KU game, in which they shot it extremely well and executed their offense with a great deal of efficiency.”
Davidson is coached by Bob McKillop, who is in his 23rd season. He led the Wildcats to five NCAA Tournaments, most recently with an Elite Eight appearance in 2008. Davidson played in the National Invitation Tournament in 2009. He has two Kansans on his roster, junior Clint Mann from St. Thomas Aquinas and freshman Tyler Kalinoski from Olathe East.
Davidson will return a game to Wichita during the 2013-14 season.
This is the 10th BracketBusters and WSU is 2-6, including losses to Final Four-bound George Mason (2006) and Virginia Commonwealth (2011). It is 7-0 in the return games mandated by the series.
The MVC will again receive a significant share of the exposure on ESPN’s networks. Five of the 10 MVC schools are on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.