Wichita State fans will be able to catch the Shockers at Koch Arena a record number of times during the upcoming 2019-20 season.
The WSU men’s basketball team released its nonconference schedule on Thursday, a 13-game slate that features nine games at Koch Arena and another at Intrust Bank Arena. Throw in the nine home games in American Athletic Conference play and the Shockers will play 19 regular-season games in Wichita, which shatters the program record of 17.
WSU’s home slate will be highlighted by Oklahoma (Dec. 14) playing at Intrust Bank Arena, then VCU (Dec. 21) and Ole Miss (Jan. 4) coming to Koch Arena. The Shockers also play Omaha (Nov. 5), Texas Southern (Nov. 9), Tennessee-Martin (Nov. 16), Gardner-Webb (Nov. 19), Oral Roberts (Nov. 23), Central Arkansas (Dec. 5) and Abilene Christian (Dec. 29) at Koch Arena.
WSU will compete in the Cancun Challenge on Nov. 26-27 and will face South Carolina, then either Northern Iowa or West Virginia, while the lone road trip of the nonconference slate sees WSU travel to Oklahoma State on Dec. 8.
Gregg Marshall and Dominic Okon, WSU’s director of basketball operations, managed to piece together a challenging schedule that keeps WSU’s still relatively inexperienced team at home as much as possible. That’s important after last year saw the Shockers sputter through the nonconference with a 7-5 mark and lose by a combined 48 points in their two road games.
But the trade-off WSU is making by playing so many home games is the opportunity for Quadrant 1 games, which must have the opponent ranked in the top-30 of the NET to qualify if WSU plays them at home.
Home games against VCU and Ole Miss very well could turn into Quadrant 1 games if each live up to their preseason expectations. The road trip to Oklahoma State, where the Cowboys need to rank in the top-75 of the NET to qualify, could also be another Quadrant 1 game.
But that might be it, unless South Carolina and either Northern Iowa or West Virginia surge into the top-50 of the NET this season or Oklahoma retools on the fly and finishes in the top-30 of the NET.
While that might not be as strong as last year’s nonconference schedule, WSU will be able to transition its six newcomers this season at home and still play five or six quality games. It’s important to keep in mind that WSU no longer feels the pressure of scheduling to make its at-large case into the NCAA Tournament during the nonconference because the AAC figures to once again be strong enough to provide the resume-building opportunities.
After several early-season tests last season, WSU will take a more conservative approach this season. The Shockers play their first five games all at Koch Arena and they will be heavily favored in all five games, although mid-majors like Omaha and Gardner-Webb are no pushovers.
That should prepare WSU for its trip to Cancun, then a loaded back-half of the schedule that will see the Shockers play Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, VCU and Ole Miss in a span of a month.
Fans interested in purchasing season tickets may call the Shocker Ticket Office at 316-978-3267.
WSU’s 2019-20 schedule
Tuesday, Oct. 29 — Northeastern State (exhibition)
Tuesday, Nov. 5 — Omaha
Saturday, Nov. 9 — Texas Southern
Saturday, Nov. 16 — Tennessee-Martin
Tuesday, Nov. 19 — Gardner-Webb
Saturday, Nov. 23 — Oral Roberts
Tuesday, Nov. 26 — vs. South Carolina (at Cancun Challenge)
Wednesday, Nov. 27 — vs. Northern Iowa or West Viriginia (at Cancun Challenge)
Thursday, Dec. 5 — Central Arkansas
Sunday, Dec. 8 — at Oklahoma State
Saturday, Dec. 14 — vs. Oklahoma (at Intrust Bank Arena)
Saturday, Dec. 21 — VCU
Sunday, Dec. 29 — Abilene Christian
Saturday, Jan. 4 — Ole Miss
AAC home games: Central Florida, Cincinnati, East Carolina, Houston, Memphis, South Florida, Temple, Tulane and Tulsa.
AAC road games: Central Florida, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Houston, Memphis, SMU, South Florida, Temple and Tulsa.