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Pregame primer: USF men vs. Wichita State Shockers

Both teams will try to break out of skids in tonight’s ‘Coaches vs. Cancer’ game at the Yuengling Center.
Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall's club was ranked as high as 16th in the Associated Press poll earlier this month before losing two in a row last week. [MICHAEL PEREZ  |  AP]
Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall's club was ranked as high as 16th in the Associated Press poll earlier this month before losing two in a row last week. [MICHAEL PEREZ | AP]
Published Jan. 21
Updated Jan. 21

A quick look at Wichita State (15-3, 3-2 American Athletic Conference), which faces USF tonight at 7 at the Yuengling Center in the “Coaches vs. Cancer” game:

Diminished Shock value?

Wichita State point guard Jamarius Burton (2) will try to help his team snap a two-game skid tonight against USF at the Yuengling Center. [JESSICA HILL | AP]

The Shockers won 15 of their first 16 and climbed to as high as 16th in the Associated Press rankings before dropping consecutive games last week to Temple and Houston. They’re currently 31st in the NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) rankings, meaning a Bulls victory tonight would qualify as a solid Quad 2 win. Among Wichita State’s non-conference triumphs were a 23-point rout of South Carolina in Cancun, and a five-point victory against Oklahoma.

The Yuengling Center will ‘rock’

Three nights after going 4-for-26 from 3-point range at UCF, the Bulls may struggle to find their touch again tonight. The Shockers allow only 64 points a game and are especially stingy on the perimeter, ranking fourth in the AAC in both field-goal percentage defense (38.8 percent) and 3-point percentage defense (30.1).

College hoops advanced-metrics extraordinaire Ken Pomeroy has the Shockers ranked 16th nationally in defensive efficiency.

“It will be a rock fight, and it’s not a pun in terms of the shots that are taken at the basket either,” said Bulls coach Brian Gregory, whose club leads the conference in scoring defense (62.3 ppg). ‘It’s two really physical defensive teams like you saw the other night (at UCF). So possessions and quality possessions are at a premium when it comes to your offense.”

A model of efficiency

Wichita State sophomore Erik Stevenson leads the Shockers, who play at USF tonight, with 12.9 points a game. [JESSICA HILL | AP]

Despite their recent skid, the Shockers remain a portrait of offensive balance (six players averaging at least eight points), selflessness (14.5 assists per game) and efficiency (plus-3.9 turnover margin).

Two-guard Erik Stevenson (12.9 ppg, team-best 32 steals), a 6-foot-3 sophomore, is a bona fide first-team All-AAC candidate. Six-foot-4 point guard Jamarius Burton (11.2 ppg, 3.6 assists) is Wichita’s top 3-point threat (16-for-37).


  1. Former USF tight end Mitch Wilcox speaks after the 2019 USF spring game. [ALLIE GOULDING  |  Tampa Bay Times]
  2. Connecticut's Jalen Gaffney (0) and South Florida's David Collins (0) battle for a loose ball during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020, in Storrs, Conn. (AP Photo/Stephen Dunn) [STEPHEN DUNN  |  AP]
  3. USF guard Laquincy Rideau drives to the basket between Houston's Nate Hinton, left, and Fabian White during a game on Jan. 26, 2020, in Houston. [MICHAEL WYKE  |  AP]
  4. USF athletic director Michael Kelly (left) and first-year football coach Jeff Scott have confirmed the Bulls' spring football game will remain on campus. [JOEY KNIGHT | TAMPA BAY TIMES] [Joey Knight]
  5. USF coach Brian Gregory's club dropped its third consecutive game Thursday, falling 65-55 at Wichita State. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
  6. Florida Gators running back Lamical Perine (22) smashes into LSU Tigers safety John Battle (26) in the second quarter. (Bronte Wittpenn, Times) [Times]
  7. BRONTE WITTPENN   |   Times
Florida Gators wide receiver Trevon Grimes (8) catches the ball near the end zone in the third quarter in a game against LSU at Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at the University of Florida in Gainesville on Saturday, October 6, 2018.  [Times]
  8. USF defensive back Mike Hampton (7), returning an interception during the 2018 season opener, will help lead the Bulls through what could be the American Athletic Conference's toughest schedule in 2020. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
  9. USF wide receiver Randall St. Felix (84) and the Bulls have only one open date in the 2020 season. USF's complete 2020 schedule was finalized Tuesday. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
  10. Former USF coach Charlie Strong (left), greeting Alabama coach Nick Saban at a 2017 summer football camp on the Bulls campus, reportedly has joined Saban's staff in an analyst role. [Joey Knight]
  11. Connecticut's Megan Walker, left, drives past USF's Shae Leverett during the second half of the Huskies' 67-47 triumph Sunday at the Yuengling Center. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson) [MIKE CARLSON  |  AP]
  12. Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma brings his team to the Yuengling Center for the final time as an American Athletic Conference member today. [SEAN RAYFORD  |  AP]