▪ Ken Pomeroy lists Kentucky as a one-point favorite and gives Wichita State a 49-percent chance of winning.
So again we’re looking at WSU’s seeding issue and the accuracy of kenpom,com, which is usually quite trusted.
The Shockers own one win over a No. 1 seed (Gonzaga) and two over No. 2 seeds (Ohio State, Kansas) under coach Gregg Marshall.
Beating Kansas takes on a life of its own. So would a win over second-seeded Kentucky. In many ways, those programs are equals. Kentucky, however, carries an aura of overwhelming NBA talent that the Jayhawks do not.
The Shockers have a chance to add a special win to their NCAA Tournament success.
▪ Putting Zach Brown on Missouri Valley Conference guards such as Paris Lee is a no-brainer. The choices made by the Shockers get much more difficult against more talented teams.
How do the Shockers guard Malik Monk, who can shoot the Shockers back home in a blink? Brown has the length to match up. But somebody’s got to guard equally imposing De’Aaron Fox. His quickness with the ball induces panic and you will see the Shockers retreating furiously when Fox pushes the ball.
Perhaps that job goes to Landry Shamet.
That puts Markis McDuffie on Derek Willis and Conner Frankamp on Isaiah Briscoe. Briscoe is an aggressive driver who shot 139 foul shots this season (64.7 percent success).
My guess is the Shockers will quickly go to a zone if things go bad. The Wildcats can be lured into passivitiy against a zone.
▪ The Shockers know they must stop the Wildcats from running, as Scott Paske’s story details.
Bad shots and turnovers can lead to breaks. The Shockers must limit both and get back on defense, even at the expense of a few offensive rebounds.
▪ The Shockers put on an impressive, yet typical, display of their depth and tenacity against Dayton on Friday.
They won with Frankamp making 1 of shots. Shamet made 3 of 9 and committed four turnovers. Center Shaq Morris played 14 minutes because of fouls.
If the Shockers win Sunday with similar performances, book your trip to Phoenix and send Coach Gregg Marshall directly to the Naismith Hall of Fame.
Those three must play better. Guard Daishon Smith played 11 minutes and didn’t score. Yet his quickness seemed to help WSU’s offense at times against Dayton when Frankamp struggled. How much will coaches trust Smith against Kentucky?
The Wildcats record steals on eight percent of their opponent possessions, which ranks No. 219 nationally, according to Pomeroy.
▪ The Wildcats make 35.3 percent of their threes, which is good, but not elite.
Monk is the big threat, shooting 40.3 percent behind the arc. He missed all six of his threes on Friday and is 3 for 21 in his past five games.
Willis is at 39.4 percent and he show little inclination to score in the lane.
Briscoe shoots 27.3 percent from three, so the Shocker who guards him must deal with his driving ability.
Wichita State vs. Kentucky
- When: About 1:40 p.m. Sunday
- Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis
- Records: WSU 31-4, UK 30-5
- Radio: 103.7-FM
- TV: KWCH