Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 10/2/11

Welcome to The Sports Bank’s second annual college basketball season preview series.  Last year we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  This year, we are being slightly more aggressive and expanding to 111 teams in 111 days.  We will rank the 74 power conference teams and top 37 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

Wichita State cut down the nets last season… the NIT nets.  The Shockers return a solid core from that team and should be one of the favorites in the Missouri Valley Conference.

Last Season: 2nd, 14-4 in MVC, 24-8 overall
Predicted MVC Finish: 1st

Projected Depth Chart
C: Garrett Stutz (Sr)/Ehimen Orukpe (Jr)
F: Ben Smith (Sr)/Carl Hall (Jr)/Jake White (Fr)
G/F: Toure’ Murry (Sr)/Evan Wessel (Fr)/Ede Egharvba (Fr)
SG: David Kyles (Sr)/Tekele Cotton (Fr)/Ron Baker (Fr)
PG: Joe Ragland (Sr)/Demetric Williams (Jr)

Gone: PF-J.T. Durley, PF-Aaron Ellis, G/F-Graham Hatch, PF-Gabe Blair, G/F-Tyler Richardson (transfer-North Alabama), PF-Jerome Hamilton (transfer-Conners State)

2011-2012 Outlook:
It helps that Gregg Marshall stayed with the Shockers despite his name being thrown out there for several major program openings this off-season.  Marshall has built the program up in his four years but has still not led the team to the NCAA Tournament.

Last year, Marshall utilized a ten man rotation that provided great depth and balance for the Shockers.  Six of those players return including five of the their top six scorers.

There should be plenty of experience in the starting line-up with five seniors likely to get the nod.  Joe Ragland, Toure’ Murry, and David Kyles will make up the backcourt.  Ragland is expected to be the maestro of the offense while Murry is at his best when using his size and physicality to the get to the basket.  Kyles is the team’s top returning three-point shooter and is not at all afraid to pull trigger from deep.

Demtric Williams is the only experienced guard coming off the bench.  He was a key reserve last season and should take on an even bigger role this year.  A quartet of freshmen will compete for minutes on the wing and should get a chance to see the court if Marshall again chooses to use a deep bench.  The Shockers will also get a boost for the 2012-2013 season with the addition of Oregon transfer Malcolm Armstead who must sit out this year.

The frontcourt returns some size with seven footer Garrett Stutz in line to take over in the middle.  He can post up on the block and is also capable of stepping out on the perimeter and knocking down shots.  Fellow seven-footer Ehimen Orupke played sparingly a year ago but provides Marshall with another big man who can take up space in the paint.

6-5 Ben Smith likely steps into the other starting forward spot.  He is another versatile frontcourt player who can stretch defenses with his outside shooting but doesn’t offer a whole lot of size.  Junior college transfer Carl Hall was a solid get and brings some needed length and athleticism to the frontcourt.  He should contribute right away, possibly as a starter if Marshall chooses to go with more size in the starting line-up. Jake White is considered the most talented of the Shockers’ 2011 recruiting class and will also push for playing time.

In the end, Wichita State’s post-season destiny may ultimately come down to whether or not they can finally win the MVC Tournament and earn the conference’s automatic bid.  For that to happen, the seniors must make a serious impact since six of the eight bench players are in their first year with the program.  If that doesn’t happen, the Shockers could be sweating out another Selection Sunday that may end up with their bubbles being burst and a third straight trip to the NIT.

Player to Watch: Toure’ Murry
With a scoring by committee approach, the Shockers don’t necessarily have a go-to scorer.  But at crunch time, they will likely turn to Murry who should replace J.T. Durley as the team’s leading point producer.  Murry is also a very good rebounder for a wing player and must continue to be a factor on the glass.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/17 vs. Colorado (Puerto Rico Tip-Off)
11/18 vs. Alabama/Maryland (Puerto Rico Tip-Off)
11/20 vs. Temple/Western Michigan/Purdue/Iona (Puerto Rico Tip-Off)
11/25 vs. UAB
12/4 vs. UNLV
12/7 at Tulsa
12/10 vs. Utah State
2/17-19 at TBA (BracketBusters)

OTHER 111 IN 111′S:
#39 Cal Golden Bears
#40 Belmont Bruins
#41 Mississippi State Bulldogs
#42 Saint Mary’s Gaels
#43 Purdue Boilermakers
#44 BYU Cougars
#45 Kansas State Wildcats
#46 West Virginia Mountaineers
#47 Virginia Cavaliers
#48 George Mason Patriots
#49 Old Dominion Monarchs
#50 VCU Rams
#51 Kent State Golden Flashes
#52 Arkansas Razorbacks
#53 St. John’s Red Storm
#54 Northwestern Wildcats
#55 Georgetown Hoyas
#56 Miami Hurricanes
#57 Nevada Wolfpack
#58 Detroit Titans
#59 UCF Knights
#60 Long Beach State 49ers
#61 Virginia Tech Hokies
#62 Clemson Tigers
#63 New Mexico State Aggies
#64 Tennessee Volunteers
#65 Iona Gaels
#66 Murray State Racers
#67 N.C. State Wolfpack
#68 Fairfield Stags
#69 George Washingon Colonials
#70 Indiana State Sycamores
#71 Oklahoma State Cowboys
#72 Indiana Hoosiers
#73 UAB Blazers
#74 Iowa State Cyclones
#75 Creighton Bluejays
#76 USC Trojans
#77 Weber State Wildcats
#78 Maryland Terrapins
#79 Tulsa Golden Hurricane
#80 Minnesota Golden Gophers
#81 Western Michigan Broncos
#82 Dayton Flyers
#83 Stanford Cardinal
#84 Yale Bulldogs
#85 Georgia Bulldogs
#86 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
#87 Richmond Spiders
#88 Ball State Cardinals
#89 Utah State Aggies
#90 Arizona State Sun Devils
#91 Marshall Thundering Herd
#92 Oregon State Beavers
#93 Washington State Cougars
#94 Iowa Hawkeyes
#95 Ole Miss Rebels
#96 Nebraska Cornhuskers
#97 Oklahoma Sooners
#98 South Florida Bulls
#99 LSU Tigers
#100 Colorado Buffaloes
#101 DePaul Blue Demons
#102 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#103 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#104 Seton Hall Pirates
#105 Providence Friars
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 South Carolina Gamecocks
#108 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#109 Penn State Nittany Lions
#110 Boston College Eagles
#111 Utah Utes

David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft on the web.

You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.

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