Drake vs. Wichita State Odds & Pick: Bet Bulldogs To Win NCAA Tournament Play-In
Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Members of the Drake Bulldogs basketball team.
- The Drake Bulldogs will take on the Wichita State Shockers with a shot to advance to the Round of 64 on the line.
- Wichita State used to be in the Missouri Valley Conference with Drake, but Stuckey sees value in the current Missouri Valley team advancing from the First Four.
- Check out our full breakdown complete with updated odds and a pick below.
Drake vs. Wichita State Odds
|Wichita State Odds||+1.5|
|Moneyline||-125 / -105|
|Time||Thursday, 6:27 p.m. ET|
Stuckey: It’s an old Missouri Valley Conference matchup!
If you follow me on Twitter, you know I’m not a huge fan of this Wichita State team.
In my final pre-tourney power ratings, Wichita State was by far the lowest-rated team to secure an at-large bid at No. 88. Ironically, the biggest snub was its conference foe, Memphis (No. 33), which won its only regular-season meeting against the Shockers by 20.
That said, Drake certainly isn’t the same team we saw earlier this season due to some unfortunate injuries. Can the Shockers pull out another close victory, or will their season come to an end against this year’s most profitable team against the spread?
BJ Cunningham: Drake was the darling of bettors everywhere this season, going 20-6-1 ATS.
However, the Bulldogs have battled through some significant injuries to some of their best players.
Roman Penn, who averaged 11.5 points and 5.5 assists suffered a season-ending injury a little less than a month ago. ShanQuan Hemphill, who suffered a broken foot back on Feb. 10 has been upgraded to probable, which is massive for the Bulldogs since he’s their leading scorer at 14.1 points per game.
The Bulldogs can beat teams from all over the court offensively, as they rank inside the top 20 in offensive efficiency, per KenPom. They do most of their scoring inside, as they attempt 3-pointers on only 31.3% of their shot attempts, and for good reason — they’re shooting 54% from inside the arc and 65.5% on shot attempts at the rim, per Hoop-Math.
Drake is also fundamentally sound, as it owns the 11th-lowest turnover rate in the nation and also had the highest offensive rebounding rate in the MVC this season. So, it will be a very difficult matchup for old MVC foe Wichita State.
The Bulldogs are an average team defensively in the fact that they do not have many weaknesses, but they also don’t have many strengths.
Drake defends the perimeter at a high level, allowing only 30.8% from 3-point range. Loyola Chicago was really the only team to break the Bulldogs down defensively this season, and it did so by scoring inside.
In two of the three games against Loyola Chicago, Drake allowed the Ramblers to shoot over 59% from 2-point range, so that is where Wichita State will need to attack the Bulldogs.
Wichita State Shockers
Shane McNichol: While many were clamoring for the Shockers to be left off the bubble, Wichita State has found its way into the First Four.
In some ways, the committee’s hands were tied.
It’s hard to give Houston a 2-seed but exclude the team that won the conference regular-season title in Houston’s conference from the Big Dance.
Improbably, a Wichita State team with just 13 regular-season wins over Division I opponents had the best winning percentage in the American Athletic Conference in its first year following the dismissal of Gregg Marshall.
The Shockers have the blueprint of a team capable of outperforming expectations. They did just that, going 10-2 in games decided by six points or fewer.
New head coach Isaac Brown trots out four upperclassmen as role players surrounding star sophomore guard Tyson Etienne.
In his second year in Wichita, Etienne posted 17.0 points per game, thanks to shooting 40% from beyond the arc on nearly eight attempts per game. He doesn’t pass up too many chances to shoot.
On the defensive end, the Shockers can be porous with their biggest issue coming on the glass. Wichita State ranked 333rd in the nation in defensive rebounding rate, the worst in the tournament field except for Syracuse and its zone defense.
Eventually, a defense like that of the Shockers that can’t force turnovers or clean the glass is giving up too many extra possessions. Even with solid defensive effort elsewhere, second-chance points could be the nail in the coffin for Shockers.
Matchup & Betting Analysis
Stuckey: I think most are giving Wichita State way too much credit for its win over Houston. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a spectacular win that likely got the Shockers into the tourney (along with no real bad losses).
However, the rest of the resume is incredibly questionable. This is the same team that lost to Cincinnati in what could’ve been an elimination game even after Cincy lost its best player in the first half.
Wichita State simply benefited from extreme luck in close games all season. Prior to that Cincinnati loss in the AAC Tournament, it had an absurd 10-1 record in games decided by six points or less. That includes a perfect 2-0 record in overtime against two non-tourney teams in South Florida and Central Florida.
The Shockers don’t turn the ball over and battle on the offensive glass, but they’re an extremely inefficient shooting team, ranking outside the top 300 in 2-point percentage. They are fairly reliant on the 3-point jump shot (75th in 3P rate), but Tyson Etienne is really the only trustworthy bomber of the main rotation players.
Wichita State ranks outside the top 200 in field goal percentage at the rim, while Drake’s offense ranks inside the top 30, per Hoop-Math. Drake’s defense has also been more effective in that department.
Sure, there’s a chance both Dexter Dennis and Alterique Gilbert go off from distance, but they are extremely inconsistent in that regard. Plus, Drake has an excellent perimeter defense.
Drake certainly came back down to earth after an incredible start to the season, partly as a result of losing two key starters to injury in Penn and Hemphill.
The Bulldogs actually haven’t missed Penn as much as I originally thought since Joseph Yesufu has been an absolute rocket ship at the point. He will likely play every minute and is fully capable of putting up 30+ points.
Now, it still misses Hemphill’s ability to create his own offense and work on the glass, but he’s on track to play, which will also help tremendously on the defensive end. It’s hard to gauge his effectiveness, but I’m expecting him to contribute.
Ultimately, this was a numbers play for me since I make Drake the favorite here even after assuming Hemphill might not be 100%.
It also doesn’t hurt that I believe Drake has a substantial coaching advantage here, which matters much more to me in a tournament setting with two teams that aren’t familiar with each other.
Pick: Drake +1 or better.