When: December 9th, 2013
Where: Charles Koch Arena, Wichita, KS
A closer look at the teams:
Seton Hall: The Pirates will have quite a different look in 2014 compared to last season's roster. Only guard Sterling Gibbs and forward Brandon Mobley are returning from last season's set of starters. Leading scorer Fuquan Edwin graduated and third-leading scorer Patrik Auda left college early to play overseas. Forwards Eugene Teague and Brian Oliver graduated as well, leaving Seton Hall in a rebuilding position in 2014. Gibbs averaged 13.2 points and 4.2 assists per game while Brandon Mobley averaged 7.6 points and 4.2 rebounds per game in 2013 - numbers that should only improve in the coming season. Both players are talented but neither was looked at as a team leader last year. Sophomore guard Jaren Sina and senior forward Stephane Manga will provide further support but both are largely untested as key players. Looking at this team matched up against Wichita State, there is really no position where the Pirates have an advantage.
Wichita State: Head coach Gregg Marshall and the Shockers return four starters that helped carry them to an undefeated regular season and a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament last year. Ron Baker, Tekele Cotton and Fred VanVleet are all coming back and give Wichita State one of the best backcourts in the nation. VanVleet, who averaged 11.6 points and 5.4 assists in 2013, will lead the offense while Baker (13.1 PPG, 3.8 RPG) and Cotton (10.3 PPG, 4 RPG) will share the shooting guard and small forward spots. In addition to this trio, forward Darius Carter (7.9 PPG, 4.5 RPG) is back and will be an important down low presence for WSU. The loss of leading scorer and team leader Cleanthony Early is huge but shouldn't be devastating for WSU. Charles Koch Arena, Wichita State's home arena, sells out almost every game and has an electric atmosphere, making it a difficult place to win a basketball game. Overall, the Shockers will be a fantastic team with a great coach and a nice homecourt advantage.
Summary: Wichita State will be a tough team for Seton Hall to handle. With the combination of a hostile environment and a high quality basketball team in the Shockers, it will be difficult for the Pirates to leave Kansas with a victory.