No. 11 Wichita State vs No. 11 Drake First Four

No. 11 Wichita State vs No. 11 Drake First Four | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Written by on March 15, 2021

No. 11 seed Wichita State and No. 11 Drake were the final two at-large teams into the 2021 NCAA Tournament field and they will face off in the First Four on Thursday with the Shockers as slight favorites on the NCAAB odds. The winner will face No. 6 USC in the first round of the Big Dance.

How to Bet Wichita State vs. Drake NCAA Basketball Odds & TV InfoLast Meeting

Wichita State has faced former MVC rival Drake more than any other team in their history. WSU leads the series 104-47 and has won the last 11 meetings. The Shockers have not faced another MVC school since leaving for the American Athletic Conference four years ago.

Why Bet on Wichita State? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Isaac Brown took over as interim coach in November after Gregg Marshall resigned. Then he took Wichita State (16-5) to a regular-season AAC title behind league co-player of the year Tyson Etienne.

The Shockers were upset in the conference tournament semifinals by Cincinnati, 60-59. The Shockers had a chance to win the game with a last-second shot from Alterique Gilbert, but his shot when off the front and back of the rim only to fall to the floor.

The defining stretch for the Bearcats was an 11-2 run late in the second half. Cincinnati’s run lasted from the 7:17 mark until the 1:00 mark in the second half. Gilbert was the leading scorer for the Shockers with 14 points. He went 6-for-16 from the floor, grabbed four rebounds and assisted on five baskets.

Etienne and Morris Udeze also scored in double figures for Wichita State. Etienne scored 13 points, making three triples. Udeze scored 11 points and collected seven rebounds.

The Shockers are 10-2 in two-possession games. All but three contests against D-I foes have been decided by 10-points-or-less in either direction. The Shockers played shorthanded in their first three games – all against 2021 NCAA tournament squads — due to COVID-19 protocol, but they’ve rebounded from a 1-2 start with wins in 14 of their last 17.

The Shockers have now qualified for eight of the last nine NCAA tournaments. They made seven-straight appearances from 2012-18 and advanced to the 2019 NIT semifinals. WSU was a consensus at-large pick for the 2020 NCAA tournament among the nation’s many bracketologists prior to its cancelation. This is WSU’s 16th NCAA appearance all-time. The Shockers are 18-16 all-time with Final Four appearances in 1965 and 2013. No current Shockers have taken part in an NCAA tournament game.

Wichita State is in the First Four for the second time. The 2016 team beat Vanderbilt 70-50.

Why Bet on Drake? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

If you bet on Drake plenty this season, you cashed in as the Bulldogs were 20-6-1 against the spread vs. D-I teams.  The NCAA berth is Drake’s first since 2008 and first ever as an at-large selection.

Drake knows that junior guard Roman Penn, a first team all-conference guard who averaged 11.2 points and 5.5 assists, will be out for the Big Dance after suffering a season-ending foot injury on Feb. 21. The Bulldogs might also be without 6-6 senior forward ShanQuan Hemphill, who average 14.1 points and 6.3 rebounds and was chosen the MVC Newcomer of the Year. Hemphill underwent surgery for a fracture in his left foot Feb. 11 and was projected to miss four weeks.

Drake (25-4) lost in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament title game to an excellent Loyola of Chicago team, 75-65.  Both Tremell Murphy and D.J. Wilkins scored 20 points for the Bulldogs and Loyola’s efficient effort on 59.1 percent shooting was too much for the shorthanded Bulldogs to overcome. The loss was just Drake’s second against teams in Quad 1&2 of the NCAA NET rankings in eight games (6-2). Joseph Yesufu added 12 points for the Bulldogs as he and Murphy were both named to the All-Tournament team.

Drake snapped Loyola’s string of 17 straight games in holding an opponent to 58 or fewer points. Drake also became just the second Loyola opponent in the last 10 MVC Tournament games, dating back to 2017, to score more than 55 points.

The 25 wins are the third most wins in school single-season history trailing the 26-5 record by 1969 NCAA Final Four team and the 28-5 mark by 2008 team which swept both the MVC regular season and post-season tournament titles. Drake’s 25 wins are also second only to Belmont (26) nationally this season.

Drake ranks No. 303 in the country in three-point rate, but still has the 19th-best offense on KenPom’s adjusted efficiency rankings because it makes 54.4% of its two-point shots — the 29th-best mark in the country

Game Trends
  • Bulldogs are 7-0 ATS in their last 7 Thursday games.
  • Bulldogs are 5-1-1 ATS in their last 7 games following a ATS loss.
  • Bulldogs are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 neutral site games as an underdog.
  • Shockers are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games overall.
  • Shockers are 9-24 ATS in their last 33 neutral site games as a favorite.
  • Shockers are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games as a favorite.
  • Shockers are 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 Thursday games.

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