Plattsburgh State men’s basketball is in the position to win and come home.
The Cardinals are currently sitting second in the SUNYAC rankings with a conference record of 9-4, and overall of 14-6. Their opponents this weekend, Cortland and Oswego, are currently in first and fifth place, and wins against these two teams will bridge a tight gap in the SUNYAC rankings. PSUC is playing both of these games away, but these wins away from home allow the Cards potentially more home games later on in the season.
Finishing the season in either first or second place in the conference allows a team a bye into the SUNYAC tournament semifinals, while finishing first creates the bonus of playing on their home court for the entirety of their tournament run. The importance of being able to play in front of their home crowd can be seen when viewing PSUC’s home record over the past few seasons. Since the 2012-2013 season, the Cards have only lost a total of five home games. This shows that keeping the tournament in Memorial Hall could prove to be an overwhelming advantage against in-conference opponents.
Senior Shamoy McIntosh believes winning away games to eventually come home is crucial to success.
“It would be the first time in awhile we hosted all the way through,” McIntosh said. “I believe coach Curle is undefeated when that happens, so it would be great.”
Winning the tournament is not the only way to gain entry to the Division III NCAA tournament. Last year PSUC gained an at-large bid after falling in the SUNYAC tournament championship for the second consecutive year.
With this being said, winning the tournament guarantees a bid and is the most sure way for a team to ensure themselves participation in the NCAA tournament.
Two times this year the Cards have dropped the second game of a two-game weekend, and with both games being so important this weekend, this is something that needs to be avoided at all costs. Curle highlighted the connection between consistency and success.
“Twice we’ve played well on Friday and then put up a real clunker the next day,” Curle said. “We can’t be good one day and not the next if we want to contend for the conference championship.
“We have to be more patient. We weren’t, and as a result, too many of our shots came from beyond the three point line.”
Team chemistry is always tough to build year after year. With players constantly coming to PSUC and others subsequently graduating, finding a groove can prove to be crippling to some teams.
Senior Jordan Moody, who was selected last week as the SUNYAC player of the week, claims team chemistry is not an issue, but rather a bright spot for this year’s squad. Moody humbly gave nearly all the credit to his teammates for his winning of the award. While he said it was nice to be recognized for his hard work, this award is definitely a way to show how strong this team’s chemistry is. This strength in chemistry has also enhanced the team’s work defensively.
“We are working really well together by talking and communicating on the court,” Moody said. “Also locking down the key matchups on the other team.”
These two games will have a huge impact on the season ahead for PSUC, and coming out consistent and strong defensively will give them the best chance of being successful.
Email Bailey Carlin at email@example.com.