Know the opponent: Wichita State to face top-seed Indiana, who narrowly missed the NCAA Tournament


Joseph Barringhaus

Wichita State freshman Jamarius Burton cheers with senior Markis McDuffie after drawing a foul towards the end of the first half. WSU played UCF on Jan. 16, 2019 at Charles Koch Arena.

Will he or won’t Indiana star Romeo Langford play in the NIT quarterfinal?

His status remains unclear, as the Shockers approach top-seed Indiana on Tuesday. Langford has missed the Hoosiers’ first two NIT games with a sore back, and, according to a team spokesman, his status is still up in the air.

Langford suffered a minor back strain during the Big Ten tournament. According to reports, he’s still getting treatment. Mike Miller of the Herald Times reports that Indiana coach Archie Miller will not play Langford “until he says ‘I feel great.’”  

“If he’s not there, we’ll play the game without him,” Miller told reporters.

Dawson Powers for GoShockers
Samajae Haynes-Jones hit a late 3-pointer to advance Wichita State to the NIT quarterfinals. The Shockers beat Clemson 63-55.

Wichita State advanced to the National Invitation Tournament quarterfinals after defeating Clemson 63-55 Sunday and is now set to take on the Hoosiers from Indiana in Bloomington’s historic Assembly Hall on Tuesday. With a win, the Shockers can become the first team in NIT history to sweep tournament one, two and three-seeds en route to the semifinals.

The top-seeded Hoosiers advanced to the quarterfinals defeating Arkansas in narrow, 63-60, victory.  

Indiana was considered on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament, but missed the field after losing to Ohio State in the second round of the Big Ten tournament. The Hoosiers were ranked as high as No. 21 in the Associated Press Poll this year, but then lost 12 of 13 games before ending the season with a four-game win streak. This is the third straight season the Hoosiers has missed the field.

Indiana averages 71 points per game to its opponents’ 67 points per game. The Hoosiers score most points mid-range, and a lot of the team’s scoring comes in transition as it averages six steals per game and capitalizes on fast-break opportunities.

With Langford’s status in jeopardy, depth could become an issue for the Hoosiers, who, at most, run eight deep. Four of the team’s players played 35 or more minutes against Arkansas. For comparison, Wichita State played 10 in its game against Clemson.

Juwan Morgan, a forward, does a majority of the Hoosiers’ scoring, especially in Langford’s absence. He had 28 points against Saint Francis and 15 against Arkansas. Devonte Green scored 18 and had 11 rebounds in the team’s last game on Saturday.

Morgan lines up mostly as the team’s post, though he’s undersized at 6-foot-8. De’Ron Davis at 6-foot-10 can add size to the Hoosiers’ rotation, if needed.

Joseph Barringhaus
Wichita State forward Jaime Echenique looks for a pass during the second half of the game against Cincinnati on March 16, 2019 at the FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. (Photo by Joseph Barringhaus/The Sunflower).

Wichita State’s combination of big men, Jaime Echenique and Asbjørn Midtgaard, have terrorized opponents in the NIT, combining for 49 points in two games. Echenique tied a career-high with 18 points against Clemson on 7-8 shooting. He played just 21 minutes.

The Shockers and Hoosiers will play at 6 p.m. (CT) from Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Indiana.