Bryan Holmgren, Director of Communications
Another piece of Wichita State’s 2018 non-conference schedule is set with Wednesday’s Charleston Classic Bracket release.
The Shockers will play three games in four days, beginning with their Thursday, Nov. 15 quarterfinal opener against Davidson at TD Arena in Charleston, S.C. That game will tip at just after 6 p.m. CT and air on ESPN3.
WSU will face either Purdue or Appalachian State on Friday, Nov. 16. A quarterfinal win puts the Shockers in the semifinals at 5:30 p.m. CT, while a loss moves them to the consolation side of the draw at 3:30 p.m. CT. All four Friday games air on ESPNU.
Following an off day, the Shockers will take on one of four possible opponents from the other half of the bracket in Sunday’s placement round. Virginia Tech opens the tournament against Ball State, and Alabama meets Northeastern.
This will be the third meeting all-time between WSU and Davidson. The two previous matchups were tied to ESPN’s Bracket Buster series. The Shockers notched a 91-74 win in Davidson, N.C., on Feb. 18, 2012 and won the return game on Dec. 18, 2013 at Charles Koch Arena by a count of 81-70.
Davidson returns three starters from last year’s NCAA tournament team, including Atlantic-10 Rookie of the Year Kellan Grady. The Wildcats (23-10, 13-5) finished third in the regular season standings but won the A-10 tournament to reach March Madness for the fourth time in seven years. As a No. 12 seed they fell to Kentucky in the opening round, 78-73.
WSU (25-8, 14-4 American) has recorded nine straight 25-win seasons and made seven consecutive NCAA tournament appearances but returns just three scholarship players from last year’s active roster. Senior forward Markis McDuffie was a first team All-Missouri Valley Conference selection as a sophomore and will look to return to form after an injury-plagued junior campaign.
The two head coaches have combined for over 1,000 career wins. WSU’s Gregg Marshall is 480-181 going into his 21st season. Davidson’s Bob McKillop enters his 30th season at 554-340.
Three of the four teams on Shocker side of the bracket danced last March. In addition to the WSU and Davidson, Purdue reached the Sweet 16 as a No. 2 seed. The Boilermakers lost four starters but return All-Big Ten point guard Carsen Edwards and are ranked No. 25 in ESPN’s Way-Too-Early Top-25 Preseason Poll.
Appalachian State (15-18) is coming off its most successful season under fifth year coach Jim Fox and will be the first member of the Sun Belt Conference to play in the Charleston Classic.
Event organizers are calling the 2018 field “the strongest in event history,” with five of the eight teams having taken part in last year’s NCAA tournament.
A possible semifinal matchup between Alabama and Virginia Tech would be rematch of last year’s first round when the ninth-seeded Crimson Tide escaped with an 86-83 victory over the eighth-seeded Hokies. Virginia Tech returns seven of its top-eight scorers and comes in ranked No. 14 in the aforementioned ESPN poll.
Northeastern is a favorite in the Colonial Athletic Association after sharing the regular season title last year, while Ball State has won at least 19 games in each of the past three seasons.