Shockers Meet Cincinnati on Semifinal Saturday in Fort Value

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rv / rv [1] WICHITA STATE (16-4, 11-2 Americans) vs. [5] CINCINNATI (11-10, 8-6)
AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS
SATURDAY, MARCH. 13, 2021 | 2:00 p.m. CT
FORT VALUE, TEXAS | DICKIES ARENA (Covid capacity 25%)
TV: ESPN2 | RADIO: KEYN 103.7 FM
SERIES: Cincinnati Leads 24-13 | LAST: January 10, 2021 in Wichita (WSU, 82-76)

TURN ON:

Friday’s matchup will be broadcast nationwide on ESPN2. Streaming is via the ESPN app, which fans who receive their video subscription from an affiliate provider can access via computers, smartphones, tablets and devices. Kevin Brown and Dan Dakich got the call. Mike Kennedy and Bob Hull describe the action on KEYN 103.7 FM. Kennedy is in his 41st year as the Voice of the Shockers.

OPENING TIPS:

  • The top-manned Wichita State Shockers face Cincinnati in a semifinal game of the Air Force Reserve’s American Athletic Conference Championship at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas.
  • The CT tip on Saturday at 2 p.m. will be broadcast on ESPN2. The winner will advance to the title game on Sunday (2:15 p.m. CT, ESPN).
  • The WSU recovered from a 12-point deficit in the final at 12:26 p.m. and defeated South Florida (68: 67) in the quarter-finals on Friday. Tyson Etienne scored 20 points, including game-winning free throws with eight seconds left, and Morris Udeze (Career height 11 rebounds) delivered a game-saving defensive game by four seconds when he drew an indictment against USF’s David Collins.
  • Cincinnati held the No. 4 Seed SMU, 74-71, behind 19 points from Jeremiah Davenport.
  • The WSU has reached the semifinals of eleven conference tournaments in a row since 2010, including three in a row in The American. The Shockers are looking for their first title game appearances after losing close matches to Houston (2018) and CIncinnati (2019).
  • The WSU defeated the Bearcats earlier this year in Wichita (82-76), but their return trip to Cincinnati on Jan. 27 was canceled due to the Bearcats’ COVID-19 shutdown.
  • In just three months Isaac Brown went from “Coach for a Year” to “Coach of the Year” in The American. Brown was named interim coach on November 17th. The WSU removed his interim day on February 26th.
  • Sophomore guard Tyson Etienne – the co-player of the year of the AAC – averages 17.3 points and 3.1 three per game with an accuracy of 39.5%.
  • Point guard Alterique Gilbert was a third team all-conference pick. He averages 10.2 points and leads the team in assists (4.1) and steals (1.6).
  • Ricky Council IV (AAC All-Freshman Team) was an important weapon off the bench, averaging 18.3 points per 40 minutes.
  • Junior Guard Dexter Dennis (March 8th AAC Player of the Week) is one of the nation’s elite defenders, averaging 12.5 points and 2.1 threes with an accuracy of 40.5% over the WSU’s eight winning streaks.
  • The WSU last suffered a defeat more than seven weeks ago (January 21 in Memphis).
  • The WSU competed in seven consecutive NCAA tournaments from 2012-18 and reached the 2019 NIT semifinals. The Shockers were a consensus pick of the NCAA in 2020 before the season was canceled.
  • The WSU had 10 AAC shifts due to the COVID-19 protocol – all initiated by opposing teams.
  • Three teams separate the WSU from the top 25 of the trainer survey. The Shockers correspond to No. 32 in the AP.
  • WSU has reached the semifinals in each of its last 10 conference tournaments (2010-17 MVC, 2018-19 AAC).
  • WSU is 9-1 in games decided by five points or less.

THE RANGE WITH CINCINNATI:

  • This is series game number 38. Cincinnati leads 24-13.
  • The WSU won the last meeting (January 10th) in Wichita and lost a series with six losses.
  • The Shockers’ return trip to Cincinnati on January 27th was canceled due to the Bearcats shutdown due to COVID-19.
  • UC won both meetings in 2018-19 with a total of four points and won all three matchups in 2017-18, which were crowned by a 66-63 thriller in the semifinals of the 2019 AAC tournament in Memphis.
  • Both sides went from wire to wire in the 2017/18 national rankings and shared two high-stakes matchups. The Shockers ended Cincinnati’s national best home winning streak with 39 games, but the Bearcats returned the favor in the regular season finale and defeated the eleventh Shocker in Wichita to claim the AAC title.

LAST MEETING WITH CINCINNATI:
Jan. 10, 2021 (Wichita) | WSU, 82-76

  • Ricky Council IV reached a career high of 23 (most by a WSU freshman in 12 years) and the WSU posted a loss to Cincinnati in six games.
  • Morris Udeze scored 18 points to go with 16 of Tyson Etienne.
  • The WSU scored 33 points in the last nine minutes (in the 10-of-14 shooting) to expand a lead from three points to up to 16. This trio scored 29 of them.
  • Former Topeka Hayden star Zach Harvey scored 19 points and led Cincinnati, which won each of his first three visits to the Charles Koch Arena in the American era.
  • Instead of settling for jumpers like in previous matchups against the Bearcats, the Shockers spent most of the second half in attack mode. Council and fellow watchmen Etienne and Craig Porter Jr. Take turns looking for baskets and / or Bearcat fouls on the street. The trio moved in together to draw 15.
  • The WSU tried only 12 three-points – the fewest by a shocker team since January 17, 2015, when they made 4 out of 11 attempts in a 20-point win in Evansville.
  • The Shockers hit the line at Cincinnatis 23 34 times, beating the Visitors 23-16. They also converted 15 Bearcat sales into 28 points.
  • Led by 23 points of the council and six each by Porter and Clarence JacksonThe Shockers Bank delivered 41 points.

OTHER MEMORIAL MOMENTS OF THE MEMORABLE SERIES:

  • WSU and Cincinnati played 26 times from 1958 to 1970, while Cincinnati was a member of the Missouri Valley Conference. The Bearcats won six consecutive conference titles from 1958 to 1963 and played in five consecutive Final Fours. In 1961 and 1962 they won national titles. The Shockers ousted Cincinnati in 1964 and 1965 with consecutive MVC titles. The latter group reached the Final Four for the first time in school history.
  • Bearcat legend Oscar Robertson set the Roundhouse’s single game scoring mark 62 years ago (50 points). The record set when Cincinnati’s first visit to Wichita was on March 1, 1958, still stands. It came in the third year of the arena’s existence.
  • The WSU’s first series win came in 1961 (52-51). Lanny Van Eman hit the game-winning knight by three seconds to stop the defending national champions Bearcats’ 27-game winning streak.
  • The Shockers lost six times in a row to Cincinnati before finally breaking through in 1963/64 with a 59:58 win in overtime. The sixth-placed Shockers thought they had won the game 56-54 after a corner jumper from Dave Stallworth, but the timekeeper ruled otherwise and officials forced the Shockers to return to the UC Armory Fieldhouse seat. After the Shockers (again) (59-58) gathered to win, around 2,000 fans were on hand to greet them at Wichita Airport with a trophy labeled “One Game-Won Twice” .
  • In 1963, Stallworth produced what was considered by a Shocker to be the greatest game of all time in a 65-64 win over Cincinnati No. 1. He scored 46 points, including the last seven of the game, to get himself off a six -Point deficit to recover. That win ended a 37-game streak for Bearcat.
  • In 1969, the Shockers were in tenth place of the UC 54-42 at 11:30 but won 67-66, with reserve guard Greg Rataj scoring eight points in the final minutes.
  • Before 2018, the teams last played on December 5, 1981 in the Levitt Arena (now Koch Arena). The future NBA trio of Xavier McDaniel, Antoine Carr, and Cliff Levingston together scored 35 points and 24 rebounds, and the Shockers scored an 87-67 win. Michael Williams (24 points, 13 reb) and Dwight Jones (13 points, 16 reb) played for the Bearcats.

WOULD WIN A SHOCKER….

… improve their record to 17-4.
… bring you into the championship game for the first time in four seasons as a league member (2.15 p.m. CT, ESPN).
… was her ninth and 16th in 18 attempts.
… do 5-2 in AAC tournament games.
… inducted her into the title game of a conference tournament for the first time since her Arch Madness title in 2017.
… they make 1-2 in AAC semi-finals and avenge a loss to Cincinnati in the 2019 semi-finals.
… make # 1 seed 5-2 of all time in AAC semifinals competitions.
… you win in a row against UC and limit the Bearcats all-time series to 24-14 (6-3 AAC era).

A LOSS OF SHOCK WOULD …

… eliminate them from the tournament.
… give them three AAC semi-final exits (the last two through Cincinnati).
… take an eight-game winning streak and be their first loss since January 21 in Memphis.
… be UC’s seventh in nine attempts since joining the AAC.
… The WSU’s first quad-3 or quad-4 defeat since November 2018 (LA Tech).