Koch Arena will fill up tonight with Wichita State basketball fans, many expecting to throw a bon voyage party for a team on its way to New York.
Hold your confetti until you know more about College of Charleston.
WSU (26-8) is at home, playing a team from the Southern Conference after knocking off representatives from the Big 12 and the ACC.
If it sounds like a break, WSU coach Gregg Marshall disagrees.
"Coach is really harping on us to not take this team for granted," WSU senior Graham Hatch said. "We've done that this season, and we've learned from those mistakes. We're going to respect them."
The winner of tonight's game will advance to the NIT semifinals in New York next Tuesday.
College of Charleston (26-10) isn't in tonight's National Invitation Tournament quarterfinal without good credentials. The Cougars defeated Dayton and Cleveland State to advance in the NIT. They handled Tennessee 91-78 in December. Three of their non-conference losses are to Maryland, North Carolina and Clemson, none by more than seven points. They won seven straight games in February.
Marshall doesn't need to do more than show highlights of Cougars guard Andrew Goudelock (GOWD-lock) to make his point. Goudelock, the Southern Conference Player of the Year, averages 23.5 points and makes 40.4 percent of his threes. He torched Dayton for 39 points, making 8 of 15 threes, in the NIT opener in Charleston, S.C.
"He can make shots no matter how you guard him," Marshall said. "I think he's an NBA player."
The Shockers put in plenty of preparation for playing elite guards this season.
Connecticut's Kemba Walker put on a show in the second half of a win over WSU in the Maui Invitational. Tulsa's Justin Hurtt, who scored 30 against WSU, is an All-Conference USA selection. Bradley's Andrew Warren commanded WSU's full attention on defense. So did Missouri State's Adam Leonard. Virginia Tech's Malcolm Delaney, a two-time All-ACC pick, scored 30 in Sunday's loss to the Shockers.
WSU guard David Kyles said the Shockers learned from playing Walker, who scored 29 points in the second half. It's tough for one player to guard that talent.
"We have to worry about Goudelock as a team," Kyles said. "Always know where the ball is. Always be in a help position. Just think a play ahead."
Toure Murry and Kyles will get most of the duty on Goudelock, just as they did on Delaney. The Shockers must help when Goudelock runs off screens, pick him up on fast breaks and when he gets by a defender.
"Everybody's has to have eyes on him," Murry said. "You've got to put pressure on him, try to chase them off the three-point line and contest every three-point shot."
Keeping fresh defenders on Goudelock may help. He is used to playing lots of minutes — 39 in both NIT games. Like Virginia Tech, the Cougars rely heavily on their starters. In two NIT games, coach Bobby Cremins played two reserves, one only a few minutes.
The rest of the Cougars are there to support Goudelock, and they do their job well. College of Charleston lost forward Jeremy Simmons, who averages 13.3 points and 6.2 rebounds, to a blood clot in his right arm in early February. Senior guard Donavan Monroe averages 12.2 points. Freshman forward Trent Wiedeman is averaging 14 points and 7.5 rebounds in the NIT.
"Everyone knows their role, and they play that role really well," Hatch said. "They know who their scorers are. They're going to (Goudelock) for sure, every play. It works for them."