Second-ranked Wichita State tries to become the first 26-0 team since Memphis in 2007-08 when it hosts Southern Illinois on Tuesday, and hopes to avoid some of the drama that accompanied Saturday's 82-73 victory at Northern Iowa. The Shockers received a pair of scares when their top two players - senior forward Cleanthony Early (team bests of 16.3 points and 6.2 rebounds per game) and sophomore point guard Fred VanVleet (12 points, team-best 5.2 assists) - left the game. Early injured his shoulder in the opening minute and appeared to be in great discomfort while VanVleet twisted his knee in the second half, but both quickly returned.While the pressure builds on Wichita State as it seeks to become the first team to go undefeated since Indiana went 32-0 in 1976, VanVleet is taking it in stride. "Twenty-five games in, it comes with the territory. We've been through it every game. Everybody wants to knock you off," VanVleet told reporters. Southern Illinois, which lost to the Shockers 82-67 on Jan. 2, has won four straight games by an average of 14.5 points after a 72-54 victory over Missouri State on Saturday.TV: 8 p.m. ET, WSIU (Southern Illinois), KS 22 (Wichita)ABOUT SOUTHERN ILLINOIS (10-15, 6-6 Missouri Valley Conference): Sophomore guard Anthony Beane (13 points per game) has been the driving force behind the win streak, averaging 23.8 points and prompting coach Barry Hinson to tell reporters: "Number 25 is playing pretty good right now." The Salukis are led in scoring by senior guard Desmar Jackson, who averages 19.7 points and shoots 48.9 percent from the field. Southern Illinois typically plays a 2-3 zone but allowed its second-fewest points of the season against Missouri State by utilizing a man-to-man defense, a move that if repeated could hinder Wichita State's sharpshooters.ABOUT WICHITA STATE (25-0, 12-0): While Early and VanVleet receive most of the attention, junior guard Tekele Cotton (9.9 points per game) - known more for his slashing style - has re-emerged as an outside shooting threat. "He was great; he was confident," coach Gregg Marshall told The Wichita Eagle about Cotton, who scored 18 points against Northern Iowa and is averaging 14.7 points in his last three contests while going 8-for-14 from 3-point range. "People aren't playing him, they're backing off. We want him to shoot the ball." Sophomore guard Ron Baker (12.6 points) is 2-for-15 from beyond the arc in his last three games.TIP-INS1. The Shockers are ninth in the country in rebounding margin at plus-8.4 and average 39.6 boards compared to the Salukis' 32.8.2. Beane on Monday became the first back-to-back winner of the MVC Player of the Week award this season.3. Wichita State and No. 1 Syracuse (23-0) are the only undefeated teams in the country.PREDICTION: Wichita State 72, Southern Illinois 62