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Wednesday’s Pregame Shootaround: Conference powerhouses on the road

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 4 Wichita State at Indiana State, 8:05 p.m.

This is it. This is the toughest game that Wichita State is going to play before Arch Madness begins in a month. If they are going to end up losing at some point during the regular season, this is the game that it could happen in. Indiana State is a good basketball team that is tough in their own gym. They’re also healthy now, which wasn’t the case when Wichita State beat them down earlier this season.

THE OTHER GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 5 San Diego State at Boise State, 9:15 p.m.

It’s weird. Entering the season, if I would have told you that one of these two teams would be undefeated in league play and top five in the nation and the other would barely be holding on to hopes of an at-large bid, you would have figured it to be the other way around. The Broncos were supposed to be the MWC contenders and the Aztecs were supposed to be rebuilding. So much for that. Boise State is chock-full of shooters. Will they be able to effectively spread the floor on SDSU?

WHO’S GETTING UPSET?: No. 13 Saint Louis at St. Joseph’s, 7:00 p.m.

Saint Louis has been the best team in the Atlantic 10 this season. They’re undefeated in the league because their defense put opponents in a vice-grip. But St. Joe’s has been pretty good in their own right, winning 11 of their last 13 games with the only two losses coming on the road. This about as good as it will get in the A-10 this season.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR:

1) No. 25 Pitt will head on the road to take on a Miami team that has scrappier than we all thought they could be this season. The Panthers have lost two in a row and are still without a notable win this season.

2) No. 21 Oklahoma will be on the road as well, paying a visit to Morgantown where they’ll have their hands full dealing with Juwan Staten.

3) Rock-Paper-Scissors will get you into Navy’s home game against Boston U. tonight.

4) Vanderbilt will be hosting Tennessee tonight in a game that the Vols cannot afford to lose if they want to make the NCAA tournament.

5) Minnesota is 4-5 in the Big Ten. They have some wins that are good enough to make them a tournament team, but they’re coming off of a loss to Northwestern.

NOTABLES:

  • Nebraska at No. 10 Michigan, 6:30 p.m.
  • No. 14 Louisville at Houston, 7:00 p.m.
  • Boston College at No. 20 Virginia, 7:00 p.m.
  • Portland at No. 23 Gonzaga, 11:00 p.m.
  • UNLV at Colorado State, 9:00 p.m.
  • Stanford at Cal, 9:00 p.m.
  • Washington State at Colorado, 9:30 p.m.
  • Wyoming at New Mexico, 11:05 p.m.

Report: Wichita State approaches Mountain West

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A year ago, Wichita State president John Bardo called for the school to study the feasibility of bringing football back to the athletic program.

Apparently the Shockers administration has even grander designs.

Wichita State has approached the Mountain West Conference about membership, according to a report from CBSSports.com.

The Missouri Valley Conference, which has been the Shockers’ home since 1946, is aware of Wichita State’s interest in switching conference affiliation, the report states. The Mountain West would makes sense for the Shockers as the conference currently has an odd-number hoops membership of 11 and would provide them with higher-profile opponents than the Valley. Just twice in conference history has the MWC been a one-bid NCAA tournament team, with last year being the first since 2001 for it to occur. The Shockers are also reportedly eyeing other leagues, like the AAC and Conference USA.

MWC commissioner Craig Thompson told CBS Sports that if Wichita State were to leave the Valley, “it ain’t going to be to us.”

Wichita State, which dropped football in 1986, has seen its basketball profile skyrocket in recent years under Gregg Marshall, who led the Shockers to a Final Four and a 35-0 start to the season in back-to-back years before reaching the Sweet 16 in 2015 and the Round of 32 last year. Marshall now makes more than $3 million per season.

Losing Wichita State would be a considerable blow to the Valley, which already lost perennial power Creighton to the Big East in the last round of realignment. Loyola Chicago, formerly of the Horizon League, filled the Bluejays’ spot.

Michigan’s Chatman transferring

Michigan  guard/forward Kameron Chatman (3) passes against Northwestern during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Tuesday, March 3, 2015, in Evanston, Ill. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)
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Kameron Chatman is leaving the Michigan program after two seasons, the school announced Tuesday.

The 6-foot-8 forward will transfer following a sophomore season in which his minutes were halved from his freshman campaign.

“I am incredibly grateful for my two years at Michigan,” Chatman said in a statement released by Michigan. “I would like to thank coach (John) Beilein and his entire staff for taking a chance on a small town kid out of Portland. I know my experience has inspired others as I will take all of my lessons learned to continue my pursuit of becoming the best man and player I can.”

Chatman is now the fourth Wolverine to transfer this spring, as Spike Albrecht (Purdue), Aubrey Dawkins (Central Florida) and Ricky Doyle have already departed. The Wolverines, who still have not announced replacements for assistant coaches LaVall Jordan (Milwaukee) and Bacari Alexander (Detroit), have been active in graduate transfer market as they look to rebuild much of their depth on the perimeter.

Chatman, who was a top-50 recruit out of high school, averaged 3.2 points and 2.0 rebounds per game for Michigan. He made 15 starts as a freshman, but only two as a sophomore.

Gilmore leaving VCU

Will Wade (AP Photo)
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Sophomore forward Michael Gilmore is transferring from VCU, the school announced Tuesday.

Gilmore started 18 games and appeared in 55 total for the Rams, but never carved out more than a marginal role, averaging 11.5 minutes per game as a sophomore after 6.3 his freshman season. He averaged 3.2 points and 2.8 rebounds per game this past year as he saw his role dwindle down the stretch for the Rams.

His departure will take away some interior depth for VCU, but coach Will Wade will still be returning the bulk of the team that tested eventual Final Four participant Oklahoma in the Round of 32 a month ago.

For Gilmore, he’ll likely have plenty of suitors despite the pedestrian numbers he posted over the last two years as 6-foot-10 forwards who have shown the ability to space the floor don’t hit the transfer market with great regularity.He was a consensus four-star recruit in the Class of 2014.

Orris transferring to South Dakota State

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Northern Illinois point guard Michael Orris will finish his career at South Dakota State as a graduate transfer, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com.

Orris, who began his career at Kansas State before transferring after his freshman season, played 21.7 minutes per game last season for the Huskies, averaging 2.7 points and 3.0 assists.

His addition will bring experience to the Jackrabbits, who will be looking to get back to the NCAA tournament under first year coach T.J. Otzelberger, who took over for Scott Nagy when the longtime South Dakota State coach left for Wright State after taking South Dakota State to three NCAA tournaments in five years. As an Iowa State assistant, Otzelberger recruited another Northern Illinois graduate transfer, Darrell Bowie, to the Cyclones earlier this year.

While the commitment of Orris won’t be a game-changer for the Jackrabbits, he is a former high-major player and evidence that Otzelberger, who spent three years watching Fred Hoiberg turn Iowa State into Transfer U, and South Dakota State will be mining the transfer market as a means to sustain what Nagy built in Brookings.

Cazmon Hayes’ departure leaves Delaware with five scholarship players

Delaware's Cazmon Hayes (22) tries to get a shot past Villanova's Daniel Ochefu (23) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014, in Philadelphia. Villanova won 78-47. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
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You might think that new UNLV head coach Marvin Menzies has the toughest rebuilding job of anyone in college basketball this season, and you wouldn’t necessarily be wrong.

He took over a program that had all of two players left on scholarship at the time, that was broke, that has so much in-fighting between the athletic director and the board that approved his contract that Menzies was left in limbo waiting to hear if they were actually going to pay him what they said they would pay him.

They eventually did, Menzies eventually got some more players and he’s on his way to trying to make the Runnin’ Rebels relevant again.

That’s a bad spot to be in, but whoever ends up getting the Delaware job — the only job in the country that’s yet to be filled — may in a tougher spot.

Because we’re already into May, and not only are the Blue Hens still without a head coach, they haven’t even hired an AD to hire the head coach yet. That’s a problem because, as of this very moment, Delaware has just five scholarship players left on the roster and no guarantee that the departures are overwith.

Four players have transferred out of the program, including the team’s leading scorer Kory Holden and, as of today, their third-leading scorer Cazmon Hayes. Their leading returning scorer right now is Anthony Mosely, who averaged just 9.7 points last season.

And this is for a team that went 2-16 in a down-CAA and won just seven games all year long.

Whoever eventually ends up with the Delaware job is going to have their work cut out for them.