Wichita State MBB: Rice Preview

• Wichita State hosts Rice in the regular season home finale Saturday night at 6 p.m. on ESPN+.
• The Shockers will recognize senior Dalen Ridgnal as part of Senior Night.
• As it stands now, Wichita State would be the No. 13 seed in the AAC Championship, but could still move out of the bottom four with wins against Rice and Tulane. The bottom four teams play in the first round on March 13.
• Wichita State is 13-18 all time when playing on Mar. 2.
• The all-time series between Wichita State and Rice is tied 1-1. Wichita State’s lone win in the series came in 2018 in Charles Koch Arena.
• Rice is 11-17 overall and 5-10 in conference play. The Owls have exceeded expectations after being picked 11th in the preseason poll with conference road wins at UAB and Memphis.
• Wichita State is coming off its first conference road win of the season at UAB on Wednesday night. The Shockers held on for a 74-66 win after leading by as many as 19 in the second half.
• Colby Rogers scored a career-high 29 points on 10-of-14 shooting and 5-of-6 from behind the three-point line. Rogers had his best shooting night on the heels of his worst. Against Temple he finished with 7 points on 2-of-14 attempts.
• Rogers (15.8 ppg; leading scorer) has made a three-pointer in all but one game this season and multiple in 22 of the 29. He leads the AAC in total 3PT FG made (76), 3PT Percentage (39.2%) and 3PT FGM per game (2.62).
• His streak of 25 straight games with a made three-pointer tied for the 4th longest in school history. The streak was snapped on Feb. 18 at Charlotte.
• Rogers made 28 consecutive free throws before it was snapped on Feb. 25 vs. Temple. The streak tied for the 7th longest in school history. He was a career-best 9-for-9 vs. Tulsa on Feb. 21.
• Wichita State ranks 30th nationally in rebounds per game and 21st in defensive rebounds per game. In conference play, Wichita State’s rebounding numbers have taken a hit, averaging only 36.5 rebounds per game.
• Quincy Ballard ranks 26th nationally in blocks (59). He had tied a career-high with 7 vs. East Carolina on Jan. 24. Ballard has 17 games with multiple blocks.
• Over the last 18 games Ballard is shooting 61-for-80 (76.3%) from the field.

• This is just the third meeting all-time between Wichita State and Rice.
• The series dates all the way back to the first meeting in 1949 – a Rice victory, 72-66.
• The most recent meeting took place in Charles Koch Arena in 2018.
• Behind a game-high 21 points from Erik Stevenson, Wichita State raced out to a big lead and never looked back in a 90-61 win on Nov. 25, 2018.
• Wichita State scored 49 points in the first half, taking a 25-point lead into the locker room.
• Rice missed 22-of-26 three-point attempts and finished with 17 turnovers. Wichita State dished out 21 assists to just nine turnovers.
• The two teams combined to shoot 50 free throws.
• Markis McDuffie and Jaime Echenique added 14 points apiece and Dexter Dennis chipped in 11.

• Led by seventh year head coach Scott Pera, Rice enters the matchup at 11-17 and 5-10 in league play – its inaugural year in the American Athletic Conference.
• In six years, Pera has tied or increased Rice’s wins every year. Last season, he led the Owls to back-to-back postseason appearances for just the third time in school history and the first since 2004-05.
• In 2021-22, he led the Owls to their first postseason appearance since 2017, advancing to the College Basketball Invitational.
• Prior to becoming its head coach, Pera served three years as the Owls’ Associate Head Coach where he had a large role in recruiting and game preparation.
• Prior to joining the Owls, Pera spent two seasons at Penn, where he saw the squad lead the Ivy League in assists in 2013-14 after ranking second in the league in assists and tops in field goal percentage defense the season before. He was named the top assistant in the Ivy League and No. 19 nationally among low-to-mid-major programs by Basketball Times in 2013 and 2014.
• Pera previously spent six years on staff at Arizona State under head coach Herb Sendek. He began as Director of Operations in the 2006-07 campaign but was quickly promoted to a full-time assistant coaching position in 2007 and added the title of recruiting coordinator just one year later in 2008.
• The Owls were picked to finish 11th in the American Athletic Conference Preseason Coaches Poll, and currently sit in eighth. Fifth-yearsenior forward Max Fiedler was named a Preseason Second Team All-American Athletic Conference honoree in a vote by the coaches.
• Rice is led by fifth-year senior guard Travis Evee, who is scoring 16.1 points per game, good for seventh in the American. He’s adding 3.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.1 steals while connecting on 80.9 percent from the free throw line.
• Evee is the only active player with career totals of 2,100 points, 350 assists, 350 rebounds, 350 three-pointers and 180 steals.
• Sophomore guard Mekhi Mason is second on the team with 13.9 points, and 2.9 assists while placing third with 4.0 rebounds. In conference play, he is eighth in the AAC with 15.1 points per game, fourth in three-point field goal percentage (.411), and eighth in three-pointers made per game (2.2).
• Fiedler is averaging 9.3 points while leading the league with 3.9 offensive rebounds, which is also seventh in the nation. He’s second in the league in rebounds (9.4), third in assists (5.2) and field goal percentage (.661), and is sixth with seven double-doubles.
• Fiedler became the first player in NCAA Division I history with at least 1,000 career points, 1,000 rebounds, 500 assists, 100 blocks and 100 steals.
• The Owls are scoring 72.8 points per game while allowing 75.2.
• Rice is connecting on 44.1 percent from the field and 33.7 percent from three. Its opponents are connecting on 44.8 percent from the field and 36.6 percent from beyond the arc.

• Rice Director of Operations Mike Carr and Wichita State Director of Player Development Iain Laymon spent two years together as student managers at Indiana University under head coach Tom Crean. Laymon was at Indiana from 2013-17, while Carr was there from 2016-19.
• Since they departed Bloomington, Laymon has been with Coach Mills since 2017 when he started as a graduate assistant. Carr is in his first season on the staff at Rice after spending the previous two at Rider.

• Quincy Ballard is on pace to shatter the single season school record for field goal percentage.
• Through 29 games Ballard is shooting 71.4% (90-for-126) from the field. The current school record is 61.6% by Steve Grayer set in 1987-88.
• That number would rank 1st nationally but to qualify players must average 5 FGM per game. Currently Ballard is at 3.2 FGM per game.
• On the defensive end, Ballard is trending towards a top five season blocking shots. He’s currently sixth on the single season blocks per game list.
• Ballard is fourth on the single season total blocks list.

• Colby Rogers and Xavier Bell have formed a 1-2 scoring attack for Wichita State through 29 games. Rogers leads Wichita State in scoring at 15.8 per game and Bell is right behind at 12.0.
• The duo of Rogers and Bell make up 38.5 percent of Wichita State’s scoring as they’ve accounted for 806 points.
• Rogers has scored in double figures in 23 of the first 29 games, and Bell in 19 of the 29. They each have multiple 20-point outings to their name (Rogers – 7, Bell – 4).

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• Colby Rogers has made a 3-pointer in all but one game this season. His streak was snapped at 25 vs. Charlotte.
• He has multiple three-pointers in 22 of the 29 games.
• Rogers is attempting 6.69 three-pointers per game, which currently stands as the third most in school history behind Tyson Etienne (8.30 in 2021-22; 7.55 in 2020-21).
• His 2.62 three-pointers made per game are currently the fourth most in school history.

• Wichita State has an elite rim protector in Quincy Ballard. His season was cut short in 2022-23 due to injuries, so he’s only played 39 total games in his Shocker career. In those 39 games he has 73 blocked shots. Fifty-nine of those have come in the first 29 games.
• Through 29 games his 59 blocks rank 26th nationally and his 2.03 blocks per game rank 30th.
• He has multiple blocks in all but 11 games this season, including two games with seven.

• Through the first 29 games of the season Wichita State has been among the nation’s top rebounding teams. Wichita State ranks 30th nationally in rebounds per game, 21st in defensive rebounds per game and 77th in rebound margin.
• Wichita State has four players averaging 5.0 or more rebounds per game (Kenny Pohto – 6.4; Dalen Ridgnal – 6.0; Quincy Ballard – 5.7; Harlond Beverly – 5.2).
• Wichita State has only been outrebounded 10 times this season with eight of those coming in the last 18 games.

A SHOCKER WIN WOULD…                                                                     
… Make them 13-17 this season.
… Make them 5-12 in AAC play.
… Finish the season 10-5 at home.
… Make them 14-18 all time on March 2.
… Give Paul Mills 119 career coaching victories.
… Run their record to 1,670-1,262 all time.
… Make them 2-1 vs. Rice all time.

A SHOCKER LOSS WOULD…                                                                     
… Make them 12-18 this season.
… Drop them to 4-13 in AAC play.
… Finish the season 9-6 at home.
… Make Paul Mills 12-18 as Wichita State head coach.
… Drop them to 13-19 all time on March 2.
… Drop their record to 1,669-1,263 all time.
… Make them 1-2 all-time vs. Rice.

GAME 31: at TULANE                                      
• Tulane is 13-14 under fifth year head coach Ron Hunter.
• The Green Wave are currently in 11th place in the AAC standings with a 4-11 mark.
• Wichita State is 7-4 all-time vs. Tulane and 3-1 vs. the Green Wave in New Orleans.
• Tulane was picked to finish 3rd in the AAC Preseason Poll but have not lived up to the expectations at just 13-14 this season.