WICHITA, Kan. (WSU) -- Wichita State released its 2016-17 Missouri Valley Conference men's basketball schedule, Tuesday.
WSU will open and close on the road, beginning Dec. 28 at Indiana State and finishing up Feb. 25 at Missouri State. The Shockers' Valley home opener comes New Year's Day against Bradley, and Senior Night is booked for Tuesday, Feb. 21 vs. Evansville.
The MVC and its national and regional broadcast partners, including ESPN, CBS Sports Network, Fox Sports Midwest and Comcast SportsNet Chicago, will announce television schedules in early October, with game times to follow.
Last year WSU became just the third Valley school since World War II to finish alone atop the standings in three consecutive seasons, joining Cincinnati (1958-59-60-61) and Southern Illinois (2003-04-05). WSU's 51 conference wins over that span is the most ever by a Valley school in a three-year period.
The Shockers will be tested early with a series of challenging January road games, beginning Dec. 28 at Indiana State. Over a 10-day stretch, the Shockers pay visit each of their three closest challengers from the 2016 standings: Northern Iowa (Jan. 8), Illinois State (Jan. 14) and Evansville (Jan. 17).
January home dates include Bradley (Sunday, Jan. 1), Drake (Wednesday, Jan. 4), Loyola (Wednesday, Jan. 11), Indiana State (Saturday, Jan. 21) and Southern Illinois (Tuesday, Jan. 24).
WSU closes out January at Bradley (Sunday, Jan. 29), and travels to Drake three days later (Wednesday, Feb. 1).
From there, four of the next six take place in Wichita, with Illinois State (Saturday, Feb. 4) and Missouri State (Thursday, Feb. 9) set to invade.
The Shockers head to the Land of Lincoln for back-to-back road games at Loyola (Sunday, Feb. 12) and Southern Illinois (Wednesday, Feb. 15).
Northern Iowa – which ended the Shockers' school-record 43-game winning streak last February – returns on Saturday, Feb. 18.
Zach Bush and John Robert Simon get a formal senior sendoff on Thursday, Feb. 21 in the home finale against Evansville. The Shockers have won eight of their last nine Senior Days.
WSU and Missouri State are paired in the MVC finale for the third time in seven years (Saturday, Feb. 25). In 2011, the Shockers and Bears staged a winner-take-all battle for the conference title at JQH Arena. WSU defeated MSU in 2014 to cap off its 31-0 regular season.
The Missouri Valley Conference Tournament returns to Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo., March 2-5.
The Shockers return two starters and nine lettermen from a squad that finished 26-9 (16-2) and won its third-consecutive MVC regular season title in 2015-16. WSU advanced to its fifth straight NCAA Tournament, where it defeated Vanderbilt in the First Four and Arizona in the First Round before falling to No. 3 seed Miami in the Round of 32.