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.