Highlights of the week ahead:
▪ Wichita State’s men’s basketball plays at Tulsa on Tuesday (7 p.m., Cox Kansas) in what should be a good test, one made more challenging depending on Fred VanVleet’s health. The Shockers practice Monday before leaving for Tulsa, so we’ll see how VanVleet’s hamstring/ankle are feeling.
The Hurricane opened the season with a 98-81 win over Central Arkansas on Saturday. Few fans (announced 3,839) bothered to show up and it will be interesting to see how many Shockers fans travel south to the Reynolds Center. WSU fans usually take advantage of this season’s shortest road trip.
Tulsa will spend more than a few minutes discussing Ron Baker in its scouting report. He is averaging 16 points in three games against Tulsa, making 13 of 23 three-pointers. VanVleet has been equally effective, although in a different way. He is averaging 17 points by making 17 of 31 shots and 13 of 16 free throws. He has 20 assists and four turnovers in the three meetings, including last season’s 9-assist-0-turnover gem at Koch Arena (bonus Bob Lutz predicting Conner Frankamp’s destination).
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▪ WSU’s women’s team plays Missouri on Wednesday (7:05 p.m. ESPN3). Missouri opened the season with a 71-55 win at MVC favorite Missouri State. The Shockers (0-1) opened the season with a 79-54 loss at Creighton.
▪ Shockers volleyball can wrap up the MVC title on Friday against Southern Illinois at Koch Arena (7 p.m. ESPN3). The Shockers (23-7, 14-2 MVC) lost at SIU (22-7, 13-3) in five sets on Nov. 2. WSU plays Evansville (8-22, 2-14) on Saturday (7 p.m. ESPN3).
▪ WSU dispatched Charleston Southern 88-63 in Friday’s opener in a game notable for 66 fouls and fine debuts by freshmen.
▪ WSU’s volleyball team stayed in first place in the MVC with a weekend sweep at Loyola and Bradley.
▪ WSU runner Sidney Hirsch finished 20th in the NCAA Midwest Regional in Lawrence on Friday. Her time of 20 minutes, 54.4 seconds in the 6-kilometer race earned her All-Midwest Region honors. The women’s team finished eighth and the men’s team 10th.
▪ SIU’s men’s basketball team provides a small encouraging note to a mostly disappointing opening weekend for the MVC. The Salukis defeated Air Force 77-75 and Florida A&M 81-51.
▪ The Valley is 3-9 in women’s basketball. Drake’s 74-70 win over Iowa State is a bright spot. The Cyclones are picked fourth in the Big 12.
Monday’s reading recommendation
Gregg Doyel of the Indianapolis Star chronicles LeBron James’ connection with a high school student in a wheelchair.