The SEC is coming to Koch Arena this winter.
The Wichita State men’s basketball team has been selected as one of four teams from the American Athletic Conference to face SEC foes in a nonconference scheduling alliance and has been paired with Mississippi, sources with knowledge of the situation told The Eagle.
The Shockers are slated to host Ole Miss at Koch Arena this coming season, while WSU will make the return trip to Oxford in the 2020-21 season, according to the sources. It will be the first time an SEC opponent has played at Koch Arena since 2014, when WSU defeated Alabama 53-52 on a late dunk by Darius Carter.
According to a tweet from CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein, the other matchups will be Houston at South Carolina, Vanderbilt vs. SMU and Georgia at Memphis. The AAC is expected to make an official announcement on dates and matchups later this month
WSU does have some history with Ole Miss, as the two sides have played each other five times, although not since 2001. Ole Miss played in Wichita twice, in 1995 and 1997, and leads the series 3-2.
Ole Miss is coming off a pleasant surprise in Kermit Davis Jr.’s first season, as the Rebels went from 12 to 20 wins and returned to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015. Their top two returning players, senior-to-be Breein Tyree (6-foot-2 guard who averaged 17.9 points) and junior-to-be Devontae Shuler (6-2 guard who averaged 10.3 points) currently have their names in the NBA Draft, but are expected to return.
If Tyree and Shuler both return, then Ole Miss would bring back about two-thirds of its minutes and scoring production from last season. The Rebels finished No. 36 in the final NET rankings for the 2018-19 season, while No. 50 in KenPom’s final rankings compared to WSU’s rankings of No. 83 in the NET and No. 66 in KenPom.
The Shockers graduate their top two and only double-digit scorers from last season’s 22-win team that reached the semifinals of the National Invitation Tournament in Markis McDuffie and Samajae Haynes-Jones, but redshirt sophomore transfer Teddy Allen is expected to immediately fill some of that scoring.
WSU also returns a core of senior Jaime Echenique, junior Asbjorn Midtgaard and sophomores Dexter Dennis, Erik Stevenson, Jamarius Burton, Isaiah Poor Bear-Chandler and Morris Udeze to go along with a highly touted recruiting class.
The addition of the Ole Miss game strengthens what already was shaping up to be a strong 2019-20 nonconference schedule for WSU. The Shockers also play South Carolina on Nov. 26 as part of the Cancun Classic (and could face West Virginia the next day), travel to Oklahoma State on Dec. 8, host VCU on Dec. 21 and will play Oklahoma at Intrust Bank Arena sometime in December.
Here is a look at the eight known games on WSU’s 2019-20 nonconference schedule with last season’s record in parenthesis:
Nov. 16 — vs. Tennessee Martin (12-19)
Nov. 19 — vs. Gardner Webb (23-12)
Nov. 26 — vs. South Carolina (16-16) at Cancun Classic
Nov. 27 — vs. Northern Iowa (16-18) or West Virginia (15-21) at Cancun Classic
Dec. 8 — at Oklahoma State (12-20)
Dec. 21 — vs. VCU (25-8)
TBD — vs. Oklahoma (20-14) at Intrust Bank Arena
TBD — vs. Ole Miss (20-13)