Gameday update: No. 9 Wichita State at Tulsa

Wichita State guard Fred VanVleet scored 21 points and had nine assists in last season’s win over Tulsa.
Wichita State guard Fred VanVleet scored 21 points and had nine assists in last season’s win over Tulsa. The Wichita Eagle

▪  Almost everything we’ve seen from Wichita State’s freshman class has looked above average.

Voice of the Shockers Mike Kennedy researched this gem: WSU’s five newcomers combined for 50 points in Friday’s 88-63 win over Charleston Southern (38 from four freshmen). That matches the 1979-80 group of five newcomers, who also scored 50 points in their opener. That class included freshmen Antoine Carr (19 points), Cliff Levingston (9) and Ozell Jones (4), junior Randy Smithson (10) and sophomore Mike Jones (8).

Tuesday, WSU’s rookies go on the road and some regression is expected. How much? Perhaps not as much as most teams would face with a lesser freshman class.

Freshman Landry Shamet is comforted by the prospect of hundreds of Shockers fans invading the Reynolds Center.

“I expect to see a lot of yellow and black,” he said. “I liked the hostility (in high school), knowing you were kind of the underdog … the enemy.”

▪  Lot of whistles in Friday’s game, as I’m sure you noticed.

The 66 fouls called on WSU and Charleston Southern appear to be on the high end as we look at the early returns on referees enforcing rules regarding physical defense. That was the most combined fouls in any MVC game so far. Bradley got a taste in its 90-60 loss to Arizona, in which the teams combined for 57 fouls and Arizona made 33 of 52 foul shots.

Bradley (53.5) and Evansville (50) are the only other Valley schools averaging 50 or more foul calls. Style of play, competition level and competence of the crew will, of course, add variables.

Tulsa and Central Arkansas combined for 37 fouls Saturday.

Friday’s WSU game tested everyone’s patience. It doesn’t appear every game will play out in a similar manner.

“I thought it got to the point in that game where any type of contact was a foul,” WSU coach Gregg Marshall said. “That’s not the way I’m seeing the Tulsa-Central Arkansas game officiated. I just thought the rules kind of got into the referees’ heads and now any contact is a foul, which is going to make it very difficult.”

Here’s another link to last week’s story and video which explain why coaches wanted this change and how referees are charged with enforcing rules as written.

▪  In WSU’s past four victories, the Shockers are out-rebounding Tulsa by an average of 10.4 rebounds, highlighted by an average of 10.2 offensive rebounds.

▪  Marshall can win game No. 400 in his 18th season as head coach. He would be the 12th NCAA Division I coach to hit 400 in 18 seasons. He is 205-76 at WSU, 398-159 overall.