Thursday , Mar , 16 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Shockers take on Pirates in Greensboro

(Sports Network) – For the first time since 1988 the Wichita State
Shockers will partake in the NCAA Tournament this afternoon when they meet
the 10th-seeded Seton Hall Pirates in the first round at Greensboro
Coliseum. The Shockers captured the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season
title, and although the squad suffered a tough loss to Bradley n the MVC
Tournament, the team still finished the year with a 24-8 overall mark
which was good enough for a seventh-seed in this event. This is the eighth
appearance for the Shockers in the NCAA Tournament and the team’s first in
close to 20 years. The last time Wichita State posted a victory in the
tournament was back in 1981. Since then, the team has advanced to the NCAA
tourney three times, losing in the first round in each of those appearances.

As for the Pirates, they have had a little more success than their
counterpart in the NCAA Tournament, posting a 15-8 ledger in their
previous eight appearances. Seton Hall only finished the season with an
18-11 overall record this year, which included a mediocre 9-7 showing in the
tough Big East. The team closed out the regular season seventh in the
conference and suffered a first round loss to Rutgers in the Big East
Tournament. This is the third time in school history that the Pirates enter
the tournament as a 10th-seed. The last time Seton Hall was a 10th-seed, the
team advanced to the Sweet 16 before falling to third-ranked Oklahoma State,

This will be the first-ever meeting between the two teams on the

The Pirates come into this tournament with losses in five of their last eight
games and the main reason for the sudden collapse is the team’s inconsistent
play at the offensive end of the floor. Seton Hall comes into this matchup
averaging just 67.8 ppg, while shooting a lackluster 41.2 percent from the
field. While the team did not score many points, it did excel in other aspects
at the offensive end. Seton Hall averaged just under three rebounds more per
contest compared to the opposition and committed just 13.4 turnovers per game.
Donald Copeland was sensational all year for the Pirates, scoring 16.1 ppg to
go along with a team-high 130 assists. Copeland also led the team in steals
with 40, and emerged as the Pirates’ outside threat, making 68 three-point
basket. As for Kelly Whitney, he was second on the team with 15.1 ppg, but led
the Pirates with a solid 8.0 rpg and 22 blocks. Copeland and Whitney give the
Pirates a solid threat outside, as well as inside. The team might have
struggled all season offensively, but fortunately for Seton Hall fans, the
team was able to win games with its stingy style of defensive play. Seton Hall
surrendered just 64.4 ppg on the season, behind a 42.0 percent shooting effort
by the opposition. Teams also struggled from long range against the Pirates,
netting just 33.0 percent from behind the arc.

As for the Shockers, they have also had the ability to shut down opposing
offenses, as the team allowed a meager 61.3 ppg on the season, while
holding the opposition to a mere 40.3 percent shooting effort from the floor.
The team also did a tremendous job on the boards, outrebounding the opposition
by 5.7 rpg. The presence on the glass also helped the Shockers offensively,
as Wichita State averaged 68.8 ppg, while shooting 44.3 percent from the
field. It is tough to figure out what player to stop on the Shockers’ roster,
as eight players averaged over 15 minutes per contest. Paul Miller was the
team’s best performer throughout the season, as the big man averaged 13.0
ppg to go along with a team-high 6.5 rpg. Miller shot 51.8 percent from the
field on the season, and an impressive 73.5 percent from the foul line. Sean
Ogirri and Kyle Wilson have also had solid seasons for the Shockers, as Ogirri
tallied 11.9 ppg to go along with 88 assists. Ogirri emerged as the best
outside shooting threat for the Shockers, as the guard netted 83-of-186
attempts from behind the arc (44.6). As for Wilson, he averaged 11.2 ppg to go
along with 5.7 rpg. P.J. Couisnard rounded out the double-figure scorers with
10.2 ppg, and was second on the team with 6.3 rpg.