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Pregame update: Indiana State at No. 15 Wichita State

Both Reggie Miller and Ron Baker made a lot of three-pointers.
Both Reggie Miller and Ron Baker made a lot of three-pointers. The Wichita Eagle

▪  Indiana State is the closest thing the MVC has to a team that will try to outscore you. The Sycamores lead the MVC in scoring at 68.8 points (conference games only) and rank last in scoring defense at 66.8. It ranks second in three-pointer accuracy (41 percent) and ninth defending the three (39.6). That doesn’t mean Indiana State isn’t interested in defense. It held Illinois State under 37 percent in both meetings and held Northern Iowa under 42 percent in both meetings. The Panthers, however, made 16 of 38 threes and outscored Indiana State 32-18 at the foul line.

WSU’s perimeter defenders must be on alert, especially the big men. Indiana State has attempted 29 more than threes (in MVC play) than any other team and made 20 more than any other.

Forward Justin Gant makes 35.9 percent of his threes and center Jake Kitchell makes 32.4 percent.

▪  Despite a reliance on outside shooting, the Sycamores do a good job drawing fouls. Their 174 points from the foul line ranks third in the MVC in conference games. Five Sycamores made 39 or more in 12 MVC games. Three Shockers reached that number.

▪  Would it surprise you to know Wichita State is one of the nation’s best offensive teams? Sometimes, it doesn’t look like it. Forward Tevin Glass, who played little until the past two weeks, is getting increased minutes based largely on the hope he can make a few jump shots.

The Shockers appear to struggle to score, especially when Darius Carter is in foul trouble, and much of the burden falls on Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet. Tekele Cotton is 2 for 10 from three-point range in the past four games and reached double figures once. Carter hasn’t played more than 20 minutes in his past six games and hasn’t score more than 10 points in the past five.

Despite those obstacles, WSU continues to shoot well, rebound and take care of the ball. The result is a team that ranks 24th nationally and first in the MVC in kenpom’com’s offensive efficiency stat. Its turnover rate ranks No. 12. When combined with strong offensive rebounding, it means WSU almost always takes more shots than its opponents and those shots are usually good ones. While it didn’t seem like it during the final five minutes of the win over Bradley, the Shockers know how to score and, just as importantly, know how not to make it easy for the other team to score.

For the season, WSU leads its opponents 355-209 in points off turnovers, 271-152 in second-chance points and 124-65 on fast-break points.

▪  Wednesday’s record watch:

Baker enters the game with 1,011 points, two behind No. 40 Ron Washington, 11 behind Ron Heller and 17 behind Bob Trogele. Baker ranks fifth on the career list with 159 threes. Jason Perez is fourth with 196.

Baker has 61 threes this season, tied with Malcolm Armstead for 13th. He needs 14 more to tie second-place David Kyles. Sean Ogirri holds the record with 91 in 2005-06. Last season, Baker made 68 to rank fourth.

VanVleet enters the game with 415 assists, five behind No. 3 Trogele, 14 behind Warren Armstrong and 15 behind career leader Toure Murry. He has 147 career steals, one behind fourth-place P.J. Couisnard and Aubrey Sherrod and six behind Jamar Howard.

Cotton has 931 career points. He has 139 steals, right behind VanVleet.

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