More than half of the non-conference schedule for the 2018-19 season is finished and details continue to emerge about future opponents for the Wichita State men's basketball team.
The latest game to be cemented is likely the Shockers' season-opener: a neutral-court game against Providence in the Veterans Classic on Navy's campus in Annapolis, Md. A date has yet to be announced, but last year the Veterans Classic games were played on Nov. 10, the first day of the college basketball season.
Two other non-conferences foes are known, both from the Big 12: Baylor and Oklahoma. After WSU won 69-62 in Waco last season, Baylor will return this season and play at Koch Arena on December 1. OU and WSU will continue their rivalry, as each side has won once, with the Shockers returning to Oklahoma City to play the Sooners at Chesapeake Energy Arena on December 8.
According to CBS Sports' Jon Rothstein, WSU will play Oral Roberts at Koch Arena in its non-conference schedule as well.
WSU athletic director Darron Boatright confirmed that the Shockers will play a game at Intrust Bank Arena for the ninth straight year, although the opponent is yet to be determined for the December 15 game. WSU had won seven straight times at Intrust before losing to Oklahoma State and Oklahoma the last two seasons.
Wichita State will also play three games in the Charleston Classic on Nov. 15, 16, and 18. The eight-team field also features Purdue, Alabama, Virginia Tech, Davidson, Ball State, Northeastern, and Appalachian State. Pairings have yet to be released for the tournament, which will feature six teams that finished this past season in Ken Pomeroy's top-100 ratings.
The Shockers will be one of the least experienced teams in the country, as just 11 percent of their minutes from the 2017-18 season return and only three players have Division I experience.
Teams typically schedule 12 or 13 non-conference games, which leaves either six or seven opponents to be scheduled to finalize the non-conference slate. WSU will learn which seven teams it will play twice in American Athletic Conference play sometime in June, with the final schedule being released in September.
A little more about WSU's known 2018 non-conference opponents:
Providence (21-14, 10-8 Big East) finished third in the Big East, then reached the conference tournament championship game before falling 76-66 to Villanova in overtime. Thanks to its late-season push, Providence made the NCAA Tournament as a No. 10 seed, but lost in the first round to Texas A&M, 73-69. Providence ranked No. 63 overall on KenPom's final ratings with the No. 100 offense and the No. 36 defense. The Friars return seven of 10 in their rotation, but graduate three starters and nearly half of their production. Alpha Diallo, a 6-foot-7, 210-pound junior, is the best player returning, as he averaged 13.2 points and a team-high 6.6 rebounds last season.
Baylor (19-15, 8-10 Big 12) finished in a tie for sixth place in the Big 12, but lost four of its last five games of the season and missed in the NCAA Tournament. The Bears won a game in the NIT before losing to Mississippi State, 78-77, in the second round. Baylor ranked No. 34 overall on KenPom's final ratings with the No. 62 offense and No. 23 defense. Baylor only used eight in its rotation last season and four of those players graduated, as the Bears return less than 45 percent of their minutes for next season (ranked No. 302 in the country). Gone are Manu Lecomte, Jo Lual-Acuil, Terry Maston, and Nuni Omot, the team's top four scorers. The leading returning scorer is King McClure, a 6-foot-3 senior guard, who averaged 8.1 points last season. Baylor has the No. 58 nationally-ranked recruiting class currently, per 247 Sports.
Oklahoma (18-14, 8-10 Big 12) finished tied for sixth in the Big 12 and lost eight of its last 10 games of the season, but still received a No. 10 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Sooners lost in the first round to Rhode Island, 83-78, in overtime. Oklahoma ranked No. 48 overall on KenPom's final ratings with the No. 37 offense and No. 85 defense. The obvious news is that Trae Young, who had the highest usage rate in college basketball, will be playing in the NBA next season. OU also had Jordan Shepherd and Kameron McGusty, both rotation players, decide to transfer, and the Sooners will also lose starting center Khadeem Lattin. There's still plenty of talent left in Christian James (11.9 points), Brady Manek (10.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, Rashard Odomes, and Jamuni McNeace.