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NCAA First Four Game Preview: No. 11 Wichita State vs. No. 11 Drake

The Wichita State Shockers and Drake Bulldogs meet at Mackey Arena for the First Four series in the 2021 NCAA Tournament. We’ve got everything you need on both teams ahead of the game here.

Dexter Dennis #0, Morris Udeze #24, Trey Wade #5, Craig Porter Jr. #2 and Tyson Etienne #1 of the Wichita State Shockers during a game against the Memphis Tigers on January 21, 2021 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. Memphis defeated Wichita State 72-52.      Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images

Here are the updated bet splits for Wichita State vs. Drake as of March 18th at 9:30 a.m. from DraftKings Sportsbook:

Wichita State: -2: 68% of action, 58% of bets
Drake: +2: 32% of action, 42% of bets
Over: 141: 50% of action, 46% of bets
Under: 141: 50% of action, 54% of bets

The No. 11-seed Wichita State Shockers will play the No. 11-seed Drake Bulldogs on Thursday at 6:27 p.m. ET on TBS in the First Four. The Shockers enter this matchup as two-point favorites over the second-best team out of the Missouri Valley Conference. The point total for this First Four matchup is set at 139 points.

No. 11 Wichita State: 16-5 (11-2): At-large

KenPom rating: 74 Overall, 56 Offense, 103 Defense
NET ranking: 72, (2-3 VS Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Tyson Etienne (17.0)
Key stat: The Shockers only turn it over on 15.9% of possessions, the 27th-best rate in the country.

The Wichita State Shockers finished the season with a record of 16-5 and as the first seed heading into the AAC Tournament. WSU lost in the semifinals of the American Athletic Conference Tournament to the Cincinnati Bearcats. While they did not play well against Quad 1 teams, Wichita State cleaned up against Quad 2 and 3 teams (2-1, 6-1).

With head coach Gregg Marshall being fired in disgrace earlier this season, it was a terrific job by Isaac Brown to keep the team focused enough to win an American Conference regular season title.

No. 11 Drake: 25-4 (15-3): At-large

KenPom rating: 53 Overall, 19 Offense, 120 Defense
NET ranking: 45 (1-2 VS Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Joseph Yesufu (12.1)
Key stat: The Bulldogs effective field goal percentage of 54.5% was good for 30th in college basketball this season.

The Drake Bulldogs finished the season with a record of 25-4 after starting off with an undefeated record of 18-0. If it wasn’t for the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers having an amazing season, Drake would be the best team in The Valley. The Bulldogs started off the season with an out of conference win over Kansas State, and towards the end of the season split a doubleheader series with Ramblers.

March Madness Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Point spread: Wichita State -2
Point total: 139
Moneyline: Wichita State -132, Drake +112

The Pick

Against The Spread Pick: Drake +2
Pick to Win: Drake

While all the attention has been on Loyola-Chicago in the MVC this season, do not sleep on the Bulldogs especially in this matchup. This game will come down to the guard play on both teams. Tyson Etienne is leading the Shockers with 17.0 points per game and can get to the rim. But Drake has a couple of good guards too in Joseph Yesufu and D.J. Wilkins. Yesufu is averaging 12.1 points per game and shooting 37.1 percent from three-point range. Meanwhile, Wilkins is averaging 10.6 points a game and shooting 41.8 percent from distance. If those two players show up and Drake can get balanced scoring throughout the lineup, they should advance to the Round of 64.

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