Wichita St.-Detroit Preview
Wichita State was impressed with the level of athleticism from its last opponent.
The Shockers' next foe appears set to hand two athletic players their Division I debuts.
Detroit is hoping newcomers Youssoupha Kane and Chris Jenkins can help it pull off a surprise at home Saturday against No. 11 Wichita State.
The Shockers (6-1) sent Seton Hall to its first loss Tuesday, 77-68. Ron Baker scored 22 points as Wichita State stretched its home win streak to 22 games by handling a Pirates team that showcased some impressive ability.
''We knew they were going to be very athletic. They've got some good players,'' Baker said. ''They weren't going to come in shy, we knew that. We made some big shots and big plays.''
Now Wichita State will go on the road for the second time after its 12-game win streak away from home ended Dec. 3 with a 69-68 overtime loss to then-No. 25 Utah.
Detroit (6-3) has dropped 23 in a row to ranked opponents, though it will add some talent to the court in its upset bid.
Kane is a 6-foot-9 junior forward from Senegal who missed the first nine games while waiting to be cleared for eligibility. He previously played at Western Nebraska Community College.
"He has the size, he has the length, he can really run, he has good hands, what you look for in a big man," Titans coach Ray McCallum said.
Jenkins is a transfer from Colorado who never suited up for the Buffaloes. He is a Detroit native who is no doubt looking forward to debuting in his hometown.
"He's got great feet, he's got good hops, he can go above the rim, he shoots a good 3-ball deep, he can guard multiple positions, he can play multiple positions," McCallum said.
These teams last met Feb. 23, 2013. Wichita State won 94-79 at home en route to reaching the Final Four that season.
This season's team may have more balance with four players averaging double figures in points, led by Baker's 18.4 mark.
"You watch these guys on film, one of the most fundamental teams that I've seen all year long," McCallum said. "And they're primed for a Sweet 16, Elite Eight run, would not surprise me."
Baker is shooting 53.8 percent on 3-pointers while Detroit has a solid player from long range in Anton Wilson, who is at 54.3.
Titans point guard Matthew Grant is among the nation's leaders in assist-to-turnover ratio at 5.60 as he matches up with Shockers star Fred VanVleet, who is at 3.50.
VanVleet hasn't shot well at 39.5 percent, though he scored 18 points Tuesday. His defense was a factor as the Shockers converted 18 turnovers into 24 points.
Detroit has had a full week to integrate the newcomers in practice since winning 67-57 at home over South Florida last Saturday. Juwan Howard Jr. scored 16 points and Wilson added 15.
The Shockers lead the Missouri Valley Conference in rebound margin at plus-9.7 while the Titans are second-worst in the Horizon League at minus-1.9.
"We've gotta be better at it," McCallum said. "It's something that we emphasize."