Providence, Rhode Island (KGUN9-TV) Arizona Basketball is set to face a Shockers team with deep NCAA Tournament experience.
Wichita State senior guards Fred Van Vleet and Ron Baker were freshmen on the Final Four team that went to the Final Four back in 2013. Two years ago, the Shockers entered the NCAA Tournament unbeaten, and then they made it to the Sweet 16 last year.
The Wildcats, the number six seed in the South Region, are no strangers to the NCAA Tournament. Seniors Gabe York and Kaleb Tarczewski were a part of two Elite 8 teams and another that made it to the Sweet 16.
This year, however, the Wildcats travelled across the country for a first round in Providence, Rhode Island. The furthest east the Wildcats have played this season is Boulder, Colorado.
“There is a time change,” said senior Mark Tollefsen. “And, there is a change on the flight so it's going to be a factor. But, for us the focus and concentration is just on winning those games.”
“No, that doesn't affect us,” added freshman Allonzo Trier. “Basketball is a game that we can play close to home or far away. We understand that regardless if you are playing at home or all the way out east we have to stay true to ourselves and do what we do best.”
“It's the NCAA Tournament,” stated sophomore Parker Jackson-Cartwright. “You have to be prepared for us. As Coach said, he's glad we're out west. It's just us. Wherever it comes from, it comes within us.”
Meanwhile, Wichita State didn’t arrive at Providence until 5:00 am Tuesday morning. The Shockers defeated Vanderbilt 70-50, in a First Four play-in game.
Thursday’s game tips off at 6:20 and can be seen on TNT.