The waiting game begins for Wichita State’s men’s basketball schedule.
Senior associate athletic director Darron Boatright confirmed a series with Alabama will begin this season, leaving WSU with two games to fill. One game, against an unnamed but well-known opponent on the road, is close to final and Boatright is willing to hold out through the summer for the final spot.
He would like to land a high-major opponent for a home game. If he can’t get that, he will settle for a lesser opponent, most likely a non-NCAA Division I school.
“We’ll see if something pops,” he said. “We think we’re in a pretty good position.”
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Landing Alabama is the latest piece to WSU’s post-Final Four schedule. The teams play in Tuscaloosa on Dec. 18. In 2014-15, Alabama comes to Koch Arena.
Other highlights of the schedule include Tennessee (at Intrust Bank Arena), Davidson and a trip to Tulsa. WSU plays in the CBE Classic in Kansas City, Mo., with Texas, DePaul and BYU. It will get two home games as part of the CBE, Buffalo and an opponent to be determined.
The Shockers are benefiting from a push by SEC schools to boost non-conference schedules. Three of the SEC’s 14 schools made the NCAA Tournament, with defending national champion Kentucky in the NIT. According to the Associated Press, a consultant handed each coach a 20-page report on non-conference scheduling.
“One of the things that was very, very eye-opening to all the coaches was just how much every school’s scheduling impacts the other team because you are going to play those teams,” Florida coach Billy Donovan told the AP. “I think just the whole education process, not only the RPI but the scheduling and how to go about scheduling and the importance of it, is really good.”
Wichita State is happy to help, this season and in the future.
“We’ve entertained several calls since the SEC meeting broke up,” Boatright said. “It’s an across-the-board policy in the SEC to schedule tougher and be willing to play tougher opponents.”
WSU defeated Alabama in the 2011 NIT title game. Alabama defeated WSU the next season in a tournament in Puerto Rico.
Minnis signs — WSU pitcher Albert Minnis signed with Houston and will play for the Tri-City ValleyCats in Troy, N.Y., Houston’s Class-A short-season affiliate.
Houston chose Minnis, a junior this season, in the 25th round of last week’s draft.
WSU pitching coach Brent Kemnitz expects closer Brandon Peterson, a junior who was the Missouri Valley Conference Newcomer of the Year, to sign with Minnesota. The Twins picked Peterson, from Savage, Minn., in the 13th round.
“I told both of them I thought they were ready,” Kemnitz said.
Infielder Connor Goedert, a freshman from Neosho County Community College, will not attend WSU next season, Kemnitz said. He told coaches, before the firing of coach Gene Stephenson last week, that he planned to return to junior college. Pittsburgh selected Goedert, a third baseman, in the 34th round.
Pitcher Sam Tewes, from Waverly (Neb.) High told Kemnitz he will attend WSU. Toronto picked him in the 22nd round.
“He seems very solid and very excited,” Kemnitz said.