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Three things to know before IU men’s basketball plays in the NIT quarterfinals



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Sophomore forward Justin Smith commits an offensive foul trying to score against the University of Arkansas on March 23 at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. IU will play against Wichita State University in the third round of the NIT on March 26. Anna Tiplick Buy Photos

Much has changed since the last time IU played Wichita State University.

The last meeting came in March 2015 in the round of 64 of the NCAA Tournament, as the No. 7 seed Shockers beat the No. 10 seed Hoosiers by five points.

Of the principal characters involved in that game, only Wichita State Head Coach Gregg Marshall remains. The two teams will meet for the third time ever at 7 p.m. Tuesday inside Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall for the NIT quarterfinals.

With a trip to Madison Square Garden and a spot in the NIT semifinals on the line, here are three things to know about the matchup between IU and Wichita State.

1. Wichita State has already won two road games in the NIT.  

As a No. 6 seed in the NIT, Wichita State has already had to play two road games.

Wichita State won in the first round against No. 3 seed Furman University, 76-70, and in the second round against No. 2 seed Clemson University, 63-55.

In regular season play, the Shockers were 6-7 on the road. They lost their first six road games of the season, each by an average of nearly 17 points, before figuring it out down the stretch.

“We would go on the road, early on, and for 10 of my scholarship players it was the first time they had played a college basketball game on the road,” Marshall said. “We just played scared, we played tentative.”

Including NIT games, Wichita State has won its last five road games, thanks largely to senior forward Markis McDuffie, who averages a team high 18 points and also five rebounds per game.

2. Devonte Green will look to continue his scoring for the Hoosiers.

No IU player has made better use of the extra games provided to the team by the NIT than junior guard Devonte Green. Aside from the newfound social media fame Green received over the weekend thanks to his tattoos, the New York native also is on a mission to bring the Hoosiers back to his home state.

Green has scored 11 or more points for the Hoosiers in each of the last six games, helping account for sporadic scoring showings from senior forward Juwan Morgan and freshman guard Romeo Langford absence due to injury.

In particular, Green nearly single-handedly pulled IU into the NCAA Tournament with 26 points and eight made three-pointers in the Big Ten Tournament loss to Ohio State.

He’s been the primary scoring guard in NIT play with Langford out with a back injury.

An IU spokesman said Langford is continuing to rehab his back and no determination has been made on his availability for the Wichita State game.

3. This will be the final basketball game of the season at Assembly Hall.

Regardless of the outcome, Tuesday will be the final basketball game this season in Bloomington for either the men’s or the women’s team.

For the men’s team, a victory against the Shockers would mean advancing to the semifinals of the NIT, which takes place in Madison Square Garden in New York City. The same is true of the NIT final, meaning Tuesday will be the final game at Assembly Hall for the five players graduating from IU, including Morgan.

“I think all the emotions with it being my last game went out at Rutgers,” Morgan said. “Just another game. Got to be ready to play and come out to win.”

IU will play Wichita State at 7 p.m. Tuesday, and once again parking for the game at Assembly Hall will be free and seating will be general admission. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.

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