Highlights of the week ahead:
▪ Tuesday is Missouri Valley Conference basketball media day in St. Louis. Wichita State’s men’s will be voted the favorite, with Illinois State or Northern Iowa second. It will be interesting to see where the Shockers women are picked. They’ve won three straight titles, but lost five starters.
Ron Baker, Fred VanVleet, Jaleesa Chapel and Rangie Bessard will join their coaches to represent WSU.
You can read my preseason ballot here.
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▪ On Saturday, WSU’s men’s basketball team faces Oklahoma State in a closed scrimmage. No fans. No media. No publicizing winners or stats.
▪ WSU’s cross country teams travels to Evansville for the MVC Championships on Saturday. Both teams appear to have a chance to challenge for titles in a conference that appears balanced.
▪ Wichita State’s volleyball team (18-6, 9-1) plays at Missouri State (15-8, 6-4) on Saturday for its lone match this weekend. The Bears handed WSU its MVC defeat, 3-1 at Koch Arena on Oct. 2. On Monday, WSU plays at Southern Illinois (16-7, 7-3).
▪ WSU’s baseball team will dress in costume for its Halloween scrimmage at 7 p.m. Wednesday. You can join them and win prizes and eat candy.
▪ Thursday, Shocker Madness pulled in the biggest crowd I can remember and I’ve covered all but one or two of the past 10. More than 5,000 people came and forced WSU to pull back the tarps on several sections in the upper levels to free seats.
Eric Hamilton won the dunk contest. Conner Frankamp sparkled in winning the three-point contest.
Forward Steffon Mitchell, from Minnesota, visited and came away impressed with the fans at Shocker Madness. He said he will make his decision within a week or two, choosing from WSU, Utah State and Central Michigan.
“The visit went well,” he said Sunday night. “I learned a lot of new things about the campus, the coaches, the facilities. It was fun to see the way they practice.”
Guard C.J. Keyser, who gave Wichita State a non-binding commitment last month, made his official visit.
▪ WSU’s volleyball team won at Illinois State and Indiana State to maintain its two-game lead, now over Loyola and Southern Illinois. The Shockers are in a good spot, especially if they can sweep or split these two road games. Nobody else in the MVC has shown the ability to put together a long run and WSU plays four of its final six matches at home.
Monday’s reading recommendation
Sports Illustrated remembers Flip Saunders with a story about SH*T.