Scouting Wichita State
Wichita State does three things fairly well that will attract Virginia’s attention heading into Wednesday’s match-up. The Shockers (2-1) possess a host of tall, experienced post players that rebound aggressively. They are pretty accurate shooting beyond the three-point line. And their depth allows them to push the tempo more than in recent seasons.
After falling to Connecticut, 83-79, on Monday, Wichita State defeated Chaminade, 79-58, on Tuesday, and in both games, Coach Gregg Marshall’s squad gave Virginia (3-2) a good indication of what it can expect Wednesday in the Maui Invitational consolation final.
The Shockers claimed the rebounding edge over Connecticut (36-33) and Chaminade (43-23), and they’ve shot a combined 41.2 percent (21 for 51) from beyond the arc in the past two days.
On offense, Wichita State is led by junior guards David Kyles (6-foot-4, 188 lbs.) and Toure Murry (6-foot-5, 197 lbs.). Kyles has averaged 18.5 points in the Shockers’ past two games, and he shot 7 for 15 from three-point range combined in doing so.
Murry has averaged 15 points per game in Maui and has shot 6 for 11 from beyond the arc. After starting against Connecticut, Murry came off the bench against Chaminade. He is one of the top defenders in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Wichita State’s other backcourt options include senior Graham Hatch (6-foot-4, 206 lbs.) and junior Joe Ragland (6-foot-0, 193 lbs.) and sophomore Demetric Williams (6-foot-2, 174 lbs.). All three are role players who help facilitate the Shockers’ offense.
In half-court sets, Wichita State is more prone to firing jump shots than driving to the basket. The Shockers have attempted just 16 free throws in their past two games.
In the post, Wichita State’s four primary contributors are senior forward Aaron Ellis (6-foot-9, 215 lbs.), redshirt senior J.T. Durley (6-foot-8, 236 lbs.), junior center Garrett Stutz (7-foot-0, 256 lbs.) and senior forward Gabe Blair (6-foot-8, 235 lbs.).
Of those four, Wichita State relies on Ellis and Durley the most. Ellis isn’t much of an offensive threat, though he’s usually a presence on the boards. Durley, on the other hand, has averaged 14 points per game while in Maui.
The Shockers rebound in waves, and Virginia is going to need more than senior forward Mike Scott to put forth a solid rebounding effort tomorrow if the Cavaliers are going to have a chance to win.
“I know they’re a veteran team,” Virginia Coach Tony Bennett said following Tuesday’s 74-56 win over Oklahoma. “They’re big, and they shoot it well. They’re complete, and they’ll be a great challenge … I think with an experienced team like that, similar to Washington in completeness, it’ll be another test for us to maybe not get sped up. As we showed more patience, that helped us get more touches to Mike inside. I saw how physical they were. I feel like we’ve got a long time to prepare now that we’ve got 24 hours, as opposed to 12, so hopefully that will help us.”