Wichita State Shockers

Wichita State will host a Big Ten team in a closed basketball scrimmage this month

Nebraska will make a return trip to Koch Arena in a closed men’s basketball scrimmage against Wichita State on Saturday, October 26, The Eagle confirmed Wednesday following an original report by Stadium’s Jeff Goodman.

Gregg Marshall and the Shockers have some history with the Huskers, a 76-49 trouncing at Koch Arena in the opening round of the 2011 National Invitation Tournament. It was the first step of an eventual championship for WSU.

But that was eight years ago back when Doc Sadler was Nebraska’s coach and Nebraska was still in the Big 12. Now the Huskers have moved on to the Big Ten with Fred Hoiberg starting his first season as head coach.

Nebraska seems to be an ideal choice for Wichita State as a practice partner before the season. The Huskers have high-major athletes who will test WSU but are transitioning to Hoiberg’s regime with 11 new scholarship players.

After last season’s complete rebuild on the fly, it probably feels like WSU has a wealth of experience back this season with seven returners. But the Shockers are still young with 10 of their 13 scholarship players being freshmen or sophomores.

Although it’s labeled as a scrimmage, coaches use the practice as much more. Both teams will work on drills, in-bounds plays, half-court set plays and specific-time situations before ending the day with a traditional scrimmage. In recent years, WSU practiced against Oral Roberts in 2016 and 2017 and against Oklahoma State in 2018.

It will give WSU’s five freshmen — Tyson Etienne, Noah Fernandes, DeAntoni Gordon, Grant Sherfield and Josaphat Bilau — their first look at high-major Division I competition. Junior-college transfer Trey Wade, expected to contend for the vacated starting spot at power forward, has had a taste of Division I with Texas-El Paso his freshman season.

WSU makes its public debut at 11 a.m. Saturday with an intrasquad scrimmage at Koch Arena. The practice date against Nebraska falls just three days before WSU’s lone exhibition game against Northeastern State on Tuesday, October 29 and 10 days before the season opener against Omaha on Tuesday, November 5.

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