Nick Wiggins, Cleanthony Early

Wild rally gives Wichita State sole possession of first in Missouri Valley

Leave a comment

It all began with a kick.

With 41.2 seconds remaining in regulation Illinois State forward Jackie Carmichael grabbed a rebound with the Redbirds leading by seven, 67-60. But in his aggressive corralling of the basketball his foot struck Wichita State’s Tekele Cotton in the face.

After reviewing the play the officials would hit Carmichael with a flagrant 1, beginning an 8-0 run that would ultimately give the Shockers an improbable 68-67 victory.

The victory, which was clinched on a Cleanthony Early three-pointer with 4.8 seconds remaining, gives Wichita State (22-5, 11-4 Missouri Valley) sole possession of first place in the Valley while also cooling off an Illinois State team that had won seven of its last eight games after an 0-6 league start.

Malcolm Armstead, who assisted on Early’s game-winner, scored 18 points to lead the way offensively for Wichita State and the Shockers won despite being outscored by 17 points from the foul line (30-13) and committing 14 turnovers.

As a result of the win Gregg Marshall’s team has control of the Missouri Valley race with three league games remaining, but the road to a second consecutive regular season title will not be an easy one to navigate.

Wichita State still has to visit both Indiana State (Tuesday) and Creighton (March 2), with the game in Omaha also being the regular season finale for both. But for a conference that in recent weeks hurt its tournament profile in the eyes of some bracketologists, Wichita State’s win keeps them in position to grab an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament (if needed).

With a loss at Southern Illinois in their most recent road game, getting back on track away from home was something the Shockers needed to do ahead of those upcoming games that will determine the MVC title.

And if the break Wichita State needed came by way of an opponent’s foot, so be it.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: Kris Dunn vs. Denzel Valentine; Two 6-0 teams from Ohio battle in Orlando

Kris Dunn
AP Photo
Leave a comment

GAME OF THE DAY: No. 3 Michigan State vs. Providence, 9:00 p.m. (ESPN2)

Two Player of the Year candidates lock horns on Sunday night as Michigan State senior Denzel Valentine battles Providence’s Kris Dunn. Both players are strong threats to record a triple-double each time they take the floor and both are key reasons why their teams are 6-0. The Friars could probably use this game a bit more than Michigan State since they enter this game unranked and could use another confidence-boosting win for a team filled with newer players. As for the Spartans, winning the Wooden Legacy would mean another great accomplishment before December even started for a team that has national title aspirations.

THIS ONE’S GOOD TOO: No. 23 Xavier vs. Dayton, 3:30 p.m. (ESPN2)

These two 6-0 teams from Ohio will meet in Orlando in the championship game of the AdvoCare Invitational. The Musketeers have six different players averaging at least 9.7 points per game this season as they’ve received great balance on the offensive end. As for Dayton, Charles Cooke as emerged as a go-to player early this season while guard Scoochie Smith has also been outstanding. This will be the first time these two schools have played since Feb. 16, 2013.


  • One of the fun teams to watch this week has been Monmouth and their amusing end-of-bench antics. On the floor, the Hawks knocked off Notre Dame and gave Dayton a scare and they’ll face USC for the second time this season to close out the AdvoCare Invitational. The Trojans won the first one 101-90, but this is a 12:30 p.m. EST tip, so that could benefit Monmouth the second time around.
  • Wisconsin visiting No. 7 Oklahoma is an intriguing Sunday matchup. The Badgers could certainly use a true road win here as they’re off to a 4-2 start. The Sooners get more of a real test after only playing Memphis as a notable opponent their first three games.
  • Also going on in the AdvoCare Invitational is No. 20 Wichita State facing Iowa and No. 17 Notre Dame battling Alabama. The Shockers are going without senior starters Fred Van Vleet and Anton Grady as they try to escape Orlando with a win. Notre Dame is hoping to close out the event strong after its surprising upset to Monmouth.
  • Action also continues in Anaheim at the Wooden Legacy as No. 11 Arizona will take on Boise State, while Boston College plays Santa Clara and UC Irvine faces Evansville. Arizona will look to get back on the right track after the close loss to Providence in the semifinals.
  • No. 6 Duke gets an afternoon tilt with Utah State at home before they face Indiana during the week. It’ll be interesting to see if Blue Devil freshman wing Brandon Ingram keeps his strong play going from earlier in the week.
  • UCLA returns home and could badly use a win against Cal State Northridge. The Bruins went a disappointing 1-2 in the Maui Invitational and need to get back on the right track before the face No. 1 Kentucky next week.


  • Brown vs. No. 25 SMU, 2:00 p.m. (ESPN3)


  • Jackson State at Marquette, 12:30 p.m.
  • Rider at Rhode Island, 1:00 p.m.
  • Savannah State at South Florida, 1:00 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • South Carolina State at Kansas State, 2:00 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Northern Colorado at Colorado, 2:00 p.m. (PAC12)
  • UC Santa Barbara at Arizona State, 4:00 p.m. (PAC12)

POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
Leave a comment

Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics