Highlights of the week ahead:
Wichita State’s men’s team opens the season on Friday against Charleston Southern and former Gregg Marshall assistant Barclay Radebaugh. The women’s team plays at Creighton on Friday (12:05 p.m.). The Bluejays are picked fourth in the Big East.
Missouri Valley Conference men’s team start the season with at least two challenging games. Illinois State plays at Mountain West Conference favorite San Diego State on Friday. On Saturday, Northern Iowa plays host to Colorado State.
Both are part of the Mountain West/Missouri Valley Challenge Series, as is Air Force at Southern Illinois.
If Valley schools can play competitively in underdog situations, the weekend for the women could also be interesting: Loyola at Georgia Tech, Missouri at Missouri State, Southern Illinois at DePaul and Evansville at Xavier.
Missouri State is the Valley’s preseason favorite and it gets Mizzou, picked seventh in the SEC, at home.
▪ Shockers volleyball (21-7, 12-2), holding first place in the MVC, travels to sixth-place Loyola on Friday (4 p.m.). The Ramblers (19-8, 8-6 MVC) are fading since an Oct. 17 loss at Koch Arena. That five-set defeat started them on a 2-5 stretch that knocked them from MVC contention.
WSU plays at Bradley (6-20, 1-13) on Saturday.
Second-place Southern Illinois (20-7, 11-3) plays Illinois State and Indiana State at home this weekend. A week from Friday, SIU visits Koch Arena.
▪ Wichita State’s cross country teams compete in the NCAA regionals in Lawrence on Friday.
▪ WSU’s men’s basketball team cruised past Hawaii Pacific 91-57 in Saturday’s exhibition, despite the absence of guard Fred VanVleet due to a strained left hamstring. Senior forward Anton Grady scored 13 points in 10 minutes for the Shockers.
▪ WSU’s women defeated Central Oklahoma 68-61 in an exhibition game Sunday. Freshman Jyar Francis scored 21 points for the Shockers.
▪ WSU’s volleyball team beat Drake 3-1 and Northern Iowa 3-0 over the weekend to remain in first with four matches remaining.
▪ WSU’s women tennis team won dual matches against Texas A&M, Sam Houston State and SMU in Dallas. WSU’s Julia Schiller and Gabriela Porubin defeated A&M’s Ines Deheza and Stefania Hristov 6-4. Deheza and Hristov started the fall ranked No. 14 nationally by the ITA.
Monday’s reading recommendation:
The Kansas City Star’s Sam Mellinger compares World Series champions 1985 vs. 2015.