The Wichita State men's basketball team is headed to the United States Naval Academy for what could be the first game of its 2018-19 season.
As the first game of the 2018 Veterans Classic, the Shockers will play Providence on Navy's campus in Annapolis, Md., on Friday, Nov. 9 with a 5 p.m. CT tip-off. Navy will play Maryland, led by former WSU coach Mark Turgeon, in the nightcap. Both games will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network.
Tickets are available through the Navy ticket office with general admission tickets at $50 and lower-level tickets at $75.
The experience for each visiting team also includes a guided tour to immerse themselves in the inner workings of the academy the day before the games. These experiences will be turned into a 30-minute show that will air on CBS Sports Network.
"Competing in the Veterans Classic is both an honor and an opportunity for our young team," WSU coach Gregg Marshall said in a statement. "Our guys are looking forward to the challenge of facing a high-caliber opponent in Providence while spending time with some high-caliber people at the U.S. Naval Academy, an institution world-famous for its character and leadership development."
The first day of the college basketball season is Tuesday, Nov. 6, which leaves open the possibility for WSU to schedule a confidence-building game at Koch Arena to help acclimate its young roster to the Division I level before traveling to the East Coast to play Providence on national television.
Wichita State returns just 11 percent of its minutes from last season, which makes it one of the five least-experienced teams in college basketball. Markis McDuffie is the only player with significant Division I experience.
But the Shockers still have a reputation to uphold, as the program has won at least 25 games in nine straight seasons and played in the NCAA Tournament the last seven years.
Providence, which has made the NCAA Tournament each of the last five years, finished No. 63 overall in Ken Pomeroy's ratings last season. The Friars return seven of their top 10 players, although three starters graduated with nearly half of the team's offensive production. Alpha Diallo, a 6-foot-7 junior forward, is the top player returning after averaging 13.2 points and 6.6 rebounds.
WSU has won both previous meetings, a 90-86 victory at Providence on Dec. 11, 2004 and a 82-74 win at Koch Arena on Nov. 30, 2005.