Wichita State’s Monday starters

Wichita State shortstop Tanner Kirk starts his senior season on Friday against Northern Colorado at Eck Stadium.
Wichita State shortstop Tanner Kirk starts his senior season on Friday against Northern Colorado at Eck Stadium. The Wichita Eagle

Highlights of the week ahead:

▪  Wichita State is in must-win mode for a busy men’s basketball week. The Shockers (18-7, 12-2 MVC) play New Mexico State (18-8) at 7 p.m. Monday (Cox 22). The Shockers have won 36 straight home non-conference games, last losing to VCU in 2011.

On Thursday, Missouri State (11-15, 7-7) visit Koch Arena for a 6 p.m. tip (CBS Sports Network). On Sunday, the Shockers play at Indiana State (13-13, 7-7) at 3 p.m.. (ESPNU).

▪  WSU’s women’s basketball team (6-18, 3-10 MVC) plays at Evansville (2-21, 1-11) at 7 p.m. Friday and at Southern Illinois (15-9, 8-4), 2 p.m.. Sunday.

▪  Shockers baseball opens the season at home on Friday and the forecast is 71 degrees. The Shockers play Northern Colorado at 3 p.m., followed by 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.

▪  Shockers softball (2-3) travels to Las Vegas for a tournament and opens San Jose State (1:30 p.m.) and Hawaii (6 p.m.) on Friday.

Looking back:

▪  Saturday’s 53-50 loss to Northern Iowa cut WSU’s lead in the MVC to two games with four to play. It also snapped WSU’s 43-game game home win streak, which led the nation.

The Shockers are enduring all kind of shooting problems, including at the line. WSU is 21 of 36 in its past three games.

▪  WSU women’s team knocked off Loyola 65-62 in overtime on Sunday, which means two of WSU’s three MVC wins are over upper-half teams.

▪  Shockers softball beat Colorado State twice in the Aggie Classic to open the season. It lost one-run games to No. 24 Texas A&M and No. 7 UCLA before Sunday’s 9-1 loss to A&M.

Paige Luellen, who missed last season with a knee injury, hit .462 and drove in six runs in the tournament.

Monday’s reading recommendation:

Sports Illustrated: As (Braden Holtby) and his peers will attest, the demands of their position create unique challenges when the old boiler starts rumbling and nature comes calling. First, netminders wear more equipment than any athlete in any major professional team sport. They are buried in pads, straps, hooks, knots, buckles and buttons, plus jerseys that are baggy enough to pitch as campsite tents. Goaltenders are also uniquely needed on the field of play for an entire game, a requirement to which only soccer players can relate. No sneaking away between shifts like skaters or ducking into the dugout bathroom between innings as baseball players do.

Paul Suellentrop: 316-269-6760, @paulsuellentrop