According to ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi, the Shockers come into Saturday’s tilt pegged as a No. 3 seed in his latest NCAA Tournament projections.
Shockers rank as AAC’s best offense
The Shockers won their fifth straight game on Wednesday night, taking down Tulane at home 93-86. Shaquille Morris finished with a game-high 25 points and nine rebounds, while Conner Frankamp added 18 to help the Shockers improve to 12-3 in AAC play this year.
Wichita State enters the weekend ranked as the No. 1 offense in the AAC through 15 conference games. The Shockers come in scoring 119.1 points per 100 possessions (1st in the AAC), while turning the ball over on just 15.4 percent of their offensive possessions (1st in the AAC).
Wichita State owns the top two-point, three-point, and effective field goal percentages in the conference in league play this year. The Shockers have shot 53.6 percent from inside the arc and 39.2 percent from three-point range during conference play, which has led to an effective field goal percentage of 55.7 percent in AAC games this year.
Gregg Marshall’s squad plays at the fastest tempo in the conference, but that hasn’t stopped the Shockers from sharing the basketball at a high level. Wichita State averages about 69.0 possessions per game (1st in the AAC) and the team has assisted on 66.6 percent of their made baskets during the conference season (1st in the ACC).
Defensively, the Shockers haven’t been as stingy as usual. Wichita state has allowed 101.9 points per 100 possessions on the defensive end (4th in the ACC) during league play, but they’ve gone a good job of limiting second chance opportunities on the offensive glass.
Opposing AAC teams own an offensive rebounding rate of 22.9 percent against the Shockers defense this year (1st in the AAC).
Mustangs relying heavily on three-point shot
The Mustangs managed to snap a five-game losing streak on Wednesday, knocking off East Carolina 77-58 for their first win in the month of February. Jahmal McMurray scored a team-high 20 points, while Ben Emelogu finished with 16 points, seven rebounds, and six assists on the night to help the Mustangs break out of their shooting slump.
SMU’s offense has gone cold in recent weeks. The Mustangs have scored 60 points or less in three of their last five games, including a season-low 37 points in a loss to UCF last weekend.
The Mustangs enter the weekend scoring just 103.0 points per 100 possessions during conference play (7th in the AAC), while limiting their opponents to 102.1 points per 100 possessions on the defensive end of the floor (5th in the AAC).
The Mustangs use the three-ball to do most of their damage on offense. The team has shot 40.4 percent of their total field goal attempts from three-point land during the conference season (3rd in the AAC), connecting on 35.7 percent of their three-point attempts (3rd in the AAC). The three-point shot has accounted for 36.9 percent of the team’s total points during league play (2nd in the AAC).
On defense, the Mustangs rely on pressuring opposing ball handlers and having active hands to generate stops. Opposing teams have turned the ball over on 20.5 percent of their possessions against the Mustangs’ defense (2nd in the AAC) during league play this year and SMU owns the top defensive steal rate in the conference at 12.2 percent.
- Shockers are 19-7 ATS in their last 26 games after scoring more than 90 points in their previous game.
- Mustangs are 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 vs. American Athletic Conference.
- Mustangs are 1-9-1 ATS in their last 11 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
The Shockers are starting to click at the right time. Meanwhile, SMU has completely folded down the stretch of the AAC season and it is nearly impossible to trust them in this spot. Wichita State will come into this game looking for some revenge after losing to the Mustangs 83-78 on Jan. 17. If they can take care of the basketball on the road, they should have no problem covering the spread on Saturday afternoon against a reeling SMU team.
Pick: Wichita State Shockers
The Mustangs seemed to have found their shooting stroke in their last game against East Carolina and they will have to shoot the lights out to remain competitive in this game. Wichita State has been torching opposing defenses during the AAC season and they come in with the top two-point and three-point percentages in the conference. The Shockers have enough reliable ball handlers to handle SMU’s pressure on defense, which should lead to some extra easy buckets. Take the over in this AAC matchup on Saturday afternoon.
- Over is 8-0 in Shockers last 8 overall.
- Over is 7-0 in Shockers last 7 games following a straight up win.
- Over is 4-1 in Mustangs last 5 games following a ATS win.