Apparently when the organizers of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic they thought of Wichita State as the drawing attraction instead of BYU, DePaul, or even Texas. They even reportedly sent out an email reading "Wichita State Headlines the Field." As a Final Four team and the only AP ranked team in the bracket, this is an honor that WSU entirely deserves.
There wasn't much suspense for the Shockers in their 90-72 win over the Blue Demons, but that doesn't mean they didn't have to work for it. The past few games the Shockers had started a little slowly and won by getting hot in the second half. The script changed up a little bit as Wichita State came out swinging as they knocked down 63.3 percent of their field goals and went 3 of 6 from beyond the arc, putting them up 52-34 in the first half.
DePaul surged back in the second half, cutting the deficit to 10. While the Shockers did cool down, they ultimately continued to shoot well enough in the to regain their dominant lead in spite of only hitting 14 or their 24 second half free throws.
What little success DePaul had was mostly because of powerful freshman center Tommy Hamilton IV who impressed with his 5 for 10 field goal shooting and by knocking down 3 of his 4 three pointers. Inversely, Brandon Young may have been the Blue Demons' biggest scorer, but that's distorted by his high volume of shooting. I understand that when a team is down that the long ball may be more tempting, but Young took a few ill advised shots to go 0 for 5 from beyond the arc, moving him to 3 for 16 this season.
As for the Shockers, Cleanthony Early and Tekele Cotton continued their solid shooting this season, but Ron Baker was easily the "headliner" this time around as he tied a career high 21 points. Moving forward, the most impressive aspect of WSU's game so far is how nearly any player can be a scoring threat if opposing defenses don't stay alert the entire game.
Up next for Wichita State in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic is BYU, who just won a close one over Texas in a great game. BYU (ranked #7 in our mid-major poll) will prove to be a much more stout competitor.