▪ Nothing is more important to the last six seasons of Shocker basketball as its success on the road.
A program can’t make any conference or national progress until it can win on the road and the Shockers excel at college basketball’s most difficult task, going 57-13 (81.4 percent) since the 2010-11 season, tops nationally.
This is this Wichita State crew’s first road game in a hostile gym. Colorado State officials expect around 6,500 fans in the 8,745-seat, whale-shaped arena. Much like SIU Arena, students fill bleacher seats behind the baskets.
If that attendance projection holds, Moby will be loud. Few things fire up Rams fan more than beating Colorado and their team did that on Wednesday in Boulder.
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The Shockers will need to find measures of composure in ways that haven’t been tested in this way this season.
▪ The Rams are an excellent defensive team. They hold opponents to 24.4 percent shooting from three-point range to rank fifth nationally, according to kenpom.com, and 41.7 percent on two-point shots, No. 31 nationally.
They do this largely with man defense, keeping opponents off the foul line, limiting fast-break points and controlling the pace.
CSU does not, however, force turnovers.
Opponents attempted more shots than CSU in all seven games this season. CSU forces turnovers on 16.7 percent of opponent possessions, ranking No. 288 nationally, according to kenpom.com.
The Rams allow opponents to score 12.3 points a game at the line. They’ve outscored their opponents from the line in every game but one and are shooting 76.9 percent from the line.
▪ The teams share Maryland Eastern Shore as an opponent.
WSU defeated Eastern Shore 116-79 and made 15 of 24 threes.
The Rams defeated Eastern Shore 76-65 with one of their better shooting games, 52.7 percent overall. Eastern Shore, which committed 17 turnovers against the Shockers, had six in Moby Arena.
▪ Rams forward Emmanuel Omogbo is 33 of 43 from the line in seven games. He has made more foul shots than any Shocker attempted. He plays 30.8 minutes a game, much more than any Shocker, but keeping him off the line and keeping WSU’s big men away from fouls is important.
Omogbo and center Nico Carvacho are both good scorers around the rim — Carvacho, according to hoop-math.com, is 13 of 18 on shots at the rim.
▪ The Rams rely on free throws and offensive rebounds to prop up poor outside shooting.
They shoot 28.8 percent from three-point range, although the trend is good. CSU is 12 of 31 in its past two games behind the arc.
Colorado State’s strong offensive rebounding did not hold against Colorado. The Buffs out-rebounded them 19-9 on the offensive glass, yet managed only 14 second-chance points.
Watching: CBS Sports Network
Listening: KEYN, 103.7-FM, goshockers.com
Wichita State at Colorado State
- When: 4 p.m. Saturday
- Where: Moby Arena, Fort Collins, Colo.
- Records: WSU 6-2, CSU 6-1
- Radio: 103.7-FM
- TV: CBSSN