Loyola Chicago (8-12, 3-5 MVC) faces its tallest task of the season Tuesday when it faces No. 4 Wichita State (21-0, 8-0) on the road.
Tuesday’s meeting will be the first between the Ramblers and the Shockers since Dec. 28, 1989. The Shockers won that game, 75-59.
The Ramblers enter after a thrilling win against Northern Iowa on Saturday. In their previous game, they nearly upset Indiana State, whose only Missouri Valley loss is to Wichita State.
Wichita State is one of three undefeated teams remaining in college basketball. The Shockers have notable wins against St. Louis, Alabama and Tennessee. They have won all but one of their MVC games by at least 12 points.
Wichita State features a trio of MVC Player of the Year candidates in senior Cleanthony Early and sophomores Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet.
Early leads the Shockers with 16 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. Both numbers rank No. 5 in the MVC. A 6’8″ forward, Early is also a threat from deep at 35.2%.
Baker and VanVleet are two of the conference’s elite guards.
Baker averages 13.1 points and 3.1 assists while shooting 38.1% on three-pointers while VanVleet records 12.5 points and a team-high 5.1 dimes per game. He has a 4.32 assist-turnover ratio and shoots triples at a 42.3% clip.
Junior guard Tekele Cotton is one of the MVC’s best backcourt defenders, and he has hops like this.
The Shockers opened as a 21-point favorite, and the Ramblers will essentially need to have a perfect game to compete another upset.
The Ramblers played their best 40 minutes Saturday against Northern Iowa, led by impressive performances from junior Christian Thomas and freshman Milton Doyle.
Doyle played the most complete game of his career, tallying 28 points, six rebounds and six assists.
Thomas posted 20 points and six rebounds. The performance was his fourth straight with at least 10 points.
Tip off at Charles Koch Arena is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT. The game will be televised on ESPN3.