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Wichita State, Memphis To Add Spice to the Pentagon’s Schedule Next Fall

The Wichita State Shockers, and Memphis Tigers, both 2104 NCAA tournament teams, will be playing at the Sanford Pentagon next fall. 

There isn’t anything shocking about these two programs on college basketball’s landscape. Both Wichita State, and Memphis have enjoyed plenty of success over the last few years on the court.

Memphis is six years removed from the national championship game in 2008, where they lost to Kansas 75 to 68 in overtime. The Tigers were coached by John Calipari, and led by point guard Derrick Rose.

Now, the Tigers are coached by Josh Pastner, and are a member of the American Athletic Conference. In their first year of the conference, Memphis finished third (23-9 overall, 12-6 AAC), and advanced to the quarterfinals of conference tournament. In the NCAA tournament, the Tigers are an eighth seed, and play No. 9 George Washington. Against NCAA tournament teams, Memphis has lost to Florida, Cincinnati twice, beaten Louisville twice, lost to Connecticut three times, and beat Gonzaga.

The Tigers are led by Joe Jackson, who is averaging 14.3 points per game, while Michael Dixon Jr, shoots 38% from long range, and Shaq Goodwin scores 11.8 points in the paint. Possibly their biggest weakness is their free throw shooting, and turnovers. Memphis shoots 65% from the line, and commits 13.5 turnovers a game.

As for Wichita State, their 34-0 regular season record is best in the country, and are the first team to enter the NCAA tournament undefeated since UNLV in 1991. The Shockers have beaten three tournament teams, St. Louis, Tennessee, and BYU.

Gregg Marshall’s squad has four players in double figures; Cleanthony Early (15.8 ppg), Ron Baker (13.1 ppg), Fred VanVleet (12.1 ppg), and Tekele Cotton (10.8 ppg).

After last year’s surprise Final Four run that ended in a loss to Louisville, the Shockers drew a tough region in the Midwest this year, featuring No. 2 Michigan, No. 3 Duke, and No. 4 Louisville.

Both of these teams are very relevant, as their recent success speaks for itself, and is a great game for the Pentagon. Both teams are really excited to play at the new basketball facility, says Eric Larsen, general manager of the Sanford Sports Complex:

First of all, they like the match-up. Two really good teams on a neutral site, which is something they like to. So, they know of us, they know of the Pentagon, Sanford Health, what a good organization we are, and that we will put a good game on. We have great facility, so, everything we hear from them, they are excited to come in November.

The Shockers and Tigers will meet November 18 at the Pentagon, and the game will be nationally televised on ESPN. Larsen mentions what that type of exposure means for the Pentagon.

Just think about, two and a half hours on ESPN, everybody in the country could possibly see this facility and what it is. Then, get on the Internet, Google, and look into Sioux Falls more, and what we are doing out here. I think it is really huge.

Sanford is really excited for another game next fall, too.

We are all sports nuts here, and just to be able to bring that type of game in here, and to people that saw the St. John’s/Wisconsin game, they saw their were some great athletes out here, and it’s a different type of basketball and aren’t used to seeing all the time. It’s really great, and a lot of fun to watch a big, giant game like that.


Photo Via Sam Tastad/ESPN 99.1

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