Wichita State Shockers

Start the countdown to basketball season: Shockers release nonconference slate

Wichita State forward Markis McDuffie shoots against Marshall during the first half of their game in the NCAA Tournament in San Diego. A clip of McDuffie was featured in this year's "One Shining Moment" video.
Wichita State forward Markis McDuffie shoots against Marshall during the first half of their game in the NCAA Tournament in San Diego. A clip of McDuffie was featured in this year's "One Shining Moment" video. The Wichita Eagle

The chance to see the debut of the new-look Shockers in the 2018-19 season is less than three months away. Eighty-nine days, to be exact.

Wichita State released its full 12-game, nonconference slate on Thursday, revealing the mystery Intrust Bank Arena game opponent (Southern Mississippi) and a total of six home games. The Shockers will debut at Koch Arena in an exhibition game against Division II Catawba (N.C.) on Tuesday, Oct. 30, then open the regular season a week later against Louisiana Tech on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

For a team that will be one of the most inexperienced teams in the country, with just 11 percent of its production returning, WSU still constructed a challenging schedule that includes the likes of Baylor (Dec. 1 at Koch Arena), Oklahoma (Dec. 8 in Oklahoma City), and Providence (Nov. 9 in Annapolis, Md.) on top of the field at the Charleston Classic.

The start of November in particular could be challenging for the Shockers. Louisiana Tech is no slouch to open the season with, then WSU could potentially play four straight neutral-court games against opponents who played in the 2018 NCAA Tournament, starting with Providence, continuing with Davidson in the first round of the Charleston Classic and potentially Purdue and either Alabama or Virginia Tech on the final day.

Southern Miss, a team that finished last season 16-18 and outside of the Top 200 in Ken Pomeroy’s rankings, is a notch below what WSU has recently been scheduling for the Intrust Bank Arena game. While USM is no Oklahoma, Oklahoma State or Tennessee, the Golden Eagles make more sense for this season’s schedule.

The final tuneup before conference play will be a road test at VCU on Saturday, Dec. 22.

Other Shocker home games include Rice (Sunday, Nov. 25), Jacksonville State (Wednesday, Dec. 12) and Oral Roberts (Wednesday, Dec. 19). According to WSU’s ticket office, there will be an opportunity to purchase men’s basketball season tickets later in August.

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