Wichita State is finding themselves beat up at the most inopportune time.
A day after head coach Gregg Marshall announced that leading scorer and rebounder Carl Hall would miss up to a month after getting surgery on his broken right thumb comes news that Ron Baker will miss six weeks with a stress fracture in his foot. Baker has averaged 7.3 points and 2.6 boards while shooting 32% from beyond the arc this season as a starter.
Baker is the third starter that will be out for the Shockers, as guard Evan Wessel has a broken pinky. Throw in the three games that Ehimen Orukpe, who started six of the seven games in which he has seen action, has missed due to an ankle injury and the bone bruise that Tekele Cotton is currently dealing with in his ankle, and Marshall’s team looks more like an NFL team heading into their by week than a MVC basketball team.
The worst news here is the timing.
Wichita State kicks off league play by hosting Northern Iowa on Dec. 30th. Odds are good that they will still be a week or two away from full strength when they host Illinois State and Creighton in back-to-back games on January 16th and 19th. What that means is the Shockers will be forced to play their three toughest league foes shorthanded at home. If they happen to lose any or all of those games, they’re liable to be swept; even at full strength, winning on the road in the Valley is not an easy thing to do.
Unless, you know, the home team is missing 60% of their starting lineup.
Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.
Steve Prohm announced on Monday that starting center Jameel McKay will not be in the lineup on Wednesday when the Cyclones take on Texas Tech.
“He’ll practice today because I want him in practice,” Prohm said, “but game-wise, he’s suspended.”
McKay did not make the trip to Stillwater with the team on Saturday, where Iowa State beat Oklahoma State, 64-59. Prohm has not gotten into specifics regarding the cause of McKay’s suspension, but it’s reportedly an issue with the way he has been practicing. McKay is dealing with a nagging knee injury, which may play a role in the situation as well.
“My hope is he’ll be with us on Saturday,” Prohm said.
Like the Coaches Poll, Villanova found themselves No. 1 in the AP Poll during the regular season for the first time in the history of the program.
And like the Coaches Poll, there isn’t much in the way of a consensus when it comes to who is the No. 1 team, as there are six teams that received No. 1 votes in the poll this week.
The biggest shock to me?
The No. 1 team in the NBC Sports Top 25, Iowa, received just 11 first place votes and is ranked fourth in the AP Poll.
They were ranked fifth in the Coaches Poll.
Can we get Fran McCaffery the love they deserve?
Here is the rest of the AP Poll:
1. Villanova (20-3, 32 first-place votes)
2. Maryland (21-3, 13)
3. Oklahoma (19-3, 7)
4. Iowa (19-4, 11)
5. Xavier (21-2)
6. Kansas (19-4, 1)
7. Virginia (19-4, 1)
8. Michigan State (20-4)
9. North Carolina (19-4)
10. West Virginia (19-4)
11. Oregon (18-4)
12. Miami (FL) (18-4)
13. Louisville (19-4)
14. Iowa State (17-6)
15. Texas A&M (18-5)
16. SMU (20-2)
17. Arizona (19-5)
18. Purdue (19-5)
19. Dayton (19-3)
20. Providence (18-6)
21. Baylor (17-6)
22. Kentucky (17-6)
23. USC (18-5)
24. Texas (16-7)
25. Wichita State (17-6)
DROPPED OUT: No. 22 Indiana, No. 25 South Carolina
NEW ADDITIONS: No. 23 USC, No. 24 Texas