There’s a big difference in the quality of competition Syracuse and Wichita State have faced so far, but the one thing in common is that both schools have the only teams that are still undefeated in the 2013-2014 College Basketball season.
They were also part of the Final Four last year, losing to Louisville and Michigan, but that is where it ends. While Syracuse are doing it in the ACC (for the first time), so far 5-0 in the conference, picking up wins against Miami, North Carolina, Boston College and now #22 Pittsburgh, Wichita State have yet to play a ranked team this season and they’ve had only one conference game (72-69 overtime win over Missouri State) that didn’t end with a double digit margin.
Syracuse improved to 19-0 with a tough 59-54 win over Pittsburgh, probably their toughest game since the beginning of conference play. They held a team that averaged 119.1 points per 100 possessions going into the game to only 54 points on 53 possessions, forcing them to 38.3% from the field.
Syracuse once again had Tyler Ennis at his best against a top team, leading the Orange with 16 points on 5-of-8 from the field. He’s averaging 4.6 points more against ranked teams this season than against unranked opponents, with his field goal percentage rising to 45.5% from 42.5% and his assist/turnover ratio is probably the most impressive with 14.0 compared with a 3.3 against unranked opponents.
Things were a little bit easier for Wichita State, facing Indiana State in the Charles Koch Arena. The Shockers won 68-48 and are now the only team in the Missouri Valley conference without a loss, handing the Sycamores their first of the season in conference play.
They held their opponents to only 31.4% from the field, making life difficult for Justin Grant (1-of-7 from the field) and Khristian Smith (3-of-12), holding both of them to well below their averages. Ron Baker led the scoring for Wichita State with 16 points, followed by 15 points from Fred VanVleet. The team’s leading scorer, Cleanthony Early, had only 6 points, which didn’t really slow down Wichita State from picking up an easy win.