One of the tasks for programs during the summer is finalizing their non-conference schedule, and both Seton Hall and Wichita State took a step forward in that regard Friday.
The two programs, which haven’t met since the 2006 NCAA tournament, will play December 9 at Koch Arena on the Wichita State campus. Seton Hall will host the return meeting during the 2015-16 season at the Prudential Center in Newark. Wichita State finished the 2013-14 season with a record of 35-1, falling to eventual national runner-up Kentucky in the Round of 32.
Gregg Marshall’s Shockers will have some personnel losses to address in the front court, most notably Cleanthony Early, but guards Ron Baker and Fred Van Vleet both return to lead the way for a team looking to win its second consecutive Missouri Valley Conference title (both regular season and tournament).
As for the Pirates, there was no postseason in 2013-14 but the arrival of one of the nation’s best recruiting classes has sparked renewed optimism in South Orange. Lincoln (N.Y.) HS guard Isaiah Whitehead is the headliner of that group, and they’ll look to mesh with returnees such as guards Sterling Gibbs and Jaren Sina (forward Patrik Auda will explore pro opportunities overseas after having completed his degree, but the door remains open for a return to SHU).
That last meeting between Seton Hall and Wichita State also represents the last time the Pirates reached the NCAA tournament, a streak Seton Hall fans hope comes to an end in 2014-15. Wichita State won that game 86-66, eventually reaching the Sweet 16 where they fell to George Mason.