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SHOCKER! Wichita State Coming to Sioux Falls For Pentagon’s 2014 Basketball Showcase Game

The first NCAA Division I team to enter the tournament undefeated in more than two decades is coming to Sioux Falls in November.

The current number two team in the nation, Wichita State (34-0), the top seed in Midwest Regional in the NCAA Tournament, will play Memphis as part of the Sanford Pentagon Basketball Showcase.  The Tigers finished the regular season in the Top 20 before dropping out of the polls after losing in the quarterfinals of the American Athletic Conference Tournament.

The game will be a part of the ESPN Tip-Off Marathon and could potentially start late in the afternoon, Tuesday, November 18th.

I asked Pentagon general manager Eric Larsen about getting games of this caliber:

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To get the real insight as to why Division I basketball teams are willing to come to South Dakota and give up a potential home date on their schedule, we turn to Twitter and a quote from Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall, courtesy of Gary Parrish of CBS Sports:

“They’re paying us both a lot of money to be there,” Gregg Marshall told me.

— Gary Parrish (@GaryParrishCBS) March 19, 2014

Larsen wasn’t disclosing specific numbers, but he did tell me what the formula was for putting together a proposal for teams to consider:

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The Shockers open NCAA Tournament play Friday night against either Cal Poly or Texas Southern, the Tigers (23-9) are the number eight seed in the East Regional and play George Washington Friday night.

This is the second straight season the Pentagon will play host to a Division I Basketball Showcase game.  Wisconsin, the current number two seed in the West regional, beat St. John’s 86-75 last November 8th in Sioux Falls. The Red Storm lost to Robert Morris in the opening round of the NIT Tuesday night.

Larsen says the success of last year’s events are making it easier to book future events as word of mouth about the Pentagon gets out:

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Unlike last November’s showcase game, which was officially a Wisconsin home game, this year’s game will be considered a neutral site game.

Tickets for the game will go on sale this summer.

Larsen says talks are already underway for the 2015 showcase game.

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