Do the Eagles have what it takes? Men’s basketball needs winning streak if championship is in its future

Jerry McCartney

The USI men’s basketball team has performed well up to this point.

With an overall record of 11-4 and a 4-3 record in the GLVC, I wonder how the rest of the season will play out.

The Eagles started the season looking to be contenders in the NCAA Division II Tournament, but have since dropped out of the top 25 national rankings. Now, the men’s team is faced with a narrower objective, competing in the GLVC.

With losses to three GLVC schools, the Eagles will need to make a comeback in the upcoming games against inner conference competitors. The men’s team still has a chance to compete in the GLVC tournament if it can figure out a way to defeat the top four teams in the conference that are scheduled to play throughout the remainder of the season.

The University of Indianapolis and the University of Wisconsin-Parkside seem to be the main targets for USI to focus on if it wants to contend for a successful season in the GLVC. If the Eagles can compete with those teams, then they can compete in the GLVC.

Along with these two dominant teams in the Eastern Division are Bellermine University and Lewis University. USI has had trouble defeating Bellermine and Indy in the last two meetings, but still have opportunities in February to defeat both opponents.

To make a run in the GLVC, USI will need to defeat Wisconsin-Parkside this Thursday if the team is looking to make a comeback. The Eagles are currently tied in the standings with Lewis and are scheduled to face off with the Flyers this Saturday in the Physical Activities Center.

Staying sharp and defeating key opponents will help the Eagles rise to the top and make a name for USI men’s basketball this season. Though it will not be an easy task, the Eagles will also need to focus on the opponents that are below them in the standings, such as the University of Illinois-Springfield, McKendree and St. Joseph’s, which do not appear to be contenders in the Eastern Division, but can still negatively affect the Eagles’s chances for success with any upsets.

The USI team undoubtedly has the tools and talent to complete such a task, but it will not be an easy objective. The team’s capability does not come in to question, but the focus of the players will be tested. With the student athletes starting a fresh semester of new classes and off-court distractions outside of the classroom, balancing school and basketball will have to be flawless.

The USI men’s basketball team will definitely have its work cut out for it over the remainder of the season, but it is not down for the count just yet. It seems that USI will need to win out the remainder of the season to achieve its goals, but the opportunity still presents itself to allow the men’s basketball team the chance at a GLVC Championship.

I think what the Eagles on the court need most from the campus community is a strong crowd at upcoming home games and the support of Eagle Nation to give them the push they need to achieve greatness. As the next couple of months approach, we will soon find out if the USI men’s basketball team has what it takes to conquer the challenges that are in the way of another championship.