WICHITA, Kan. — Wichita State University's 2011-12 men’s basketball schedule is highlighted by 17 home games, the continued rivalry with Tulsa, and a trip to the 2011 Puerto Rico Tip-Off, fifth-year head coach Gregg Marshall announced today.
WSU could play up to five 2011 NCAA Tournament opponents in 2011-12 with scheduled games against UAB, which lost to Clemson in a First Four game; UNLV, which was an eight-seed and lost in the second round to Illinois; Utah State, which was a 12-seed and lost to Kansas State in the second round; and Indiana State, which was a 14-seed and lost to Syracuse in the second round. Temple, which lost San Diego State in the third round, and Purdue, which lost to VCU in the third round, are potential opponents on the final day of the Pureto Rico Tip-Off.
"I think this is a very challenging and competative schedule," Marshall said. "We have an opportunity to play BCS schools in Puerto Rico on a neutral floor. Our strength of schedule also comes from the non-BCS quality programs we have lined up in UNLV, Utah State, Tulsa and UAB. We get the opportunity to play UAB in INTRUST Bank Arena, which is an excellent venue that we can continue to use as a recruiting vehicle.
"Filling the spot right before Christmas was quite challenging, and delayed finalizing our schedule. Playing Newman should keep local interest, fill the needed date, and also will not impact our RPI, either positively or negatively."
The first day of action during the evening session of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off on Thursday, Nov. 17 will be Alabama, Colorado and Wichita State, with each having reached the finals of the NIT in New York. Wichita State won the 2011 NIT by defeating Alabama, 66-57, and the Tide defeated Colorado, 62-61, in the semifinals.
Another non-conference highlight is a game at Tulsa, which the Shockers will play for the 121st time in history with the series tied at 60-60. WSU won, 82-79, against Tulsa a year ago in the renewal of the rivalry, which was also the Shockers' first game in the new INTRUST Bank Arena in downtown Wichita.
The Shockers open the 106th regular season of Shocker basketball against Charleston Southern Nov. 13, in Wichita.
WSU opens the Valley schedule Dec. 28 on the road at Bradley before the MVC home-opener Dec. 31 against Creighton. WSU never plays more than two-straight home games or two-straight road games throughout the Valley schedule, while the Shockers play nine games in January and eight in February, including the 2012 Sears BracketBusters game on the road Feb. 17, 18, or 19.
Dates for the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Basketball Tournament are March 1-4, at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo.
In addition, WSU will play host to Emporia State on Tues., Nov. 8, in the exhibition game.
The MVC-TV Network games and ESPN games will be announced in October, while the local television schedule will be announced soon after.
The Sears BracketBusters Series opponent, game time and network will be announced Jan. 30, 2012.