The SUNY Plattsburgh men’s basketball team starts its SUNYAC schedule today when it plays SUNY Oneonta away today at 7:30 p.m.
The Cardinals then play SUNY New Paltz tomorrow in another road conference game. Head coach Mike Blaine said the team is excited to finish its first stretch on nonconference games.
“Anytime you get into conference games, it’s a great opportunity to compete against programs you evaluate yourself against,” Blaine said. “We’ve had some ups and downs a little bit in the nonconference, but I know guys are excited to try to get things off to a good start in the SUNYAC race this weekend.”
Plattsburgh State finished its first five nonconference games this season with a 2-3 record. Playing consistently is key focus Blaine wants to put on his young team ahead of tonight’s game against Oneonta.
“They’ve done a good job identifying areas where we’ve fallen short and recognizing times when we had success,” Blaine said. “The understanding with so many freshmen playing is you can’t afford to take a possession off. Every possession matters.”
Early on this season, Blaine said players adjusting to new roles has been a challenge.
“For so many of these guys, it’s their first time playing college basketball. And then you factor in everybody else, even our returners, are being asked to play a new role that they haven’t been asked to in the past. So getting that cohesion as a unit, understanding who’s going to be where and how it all comes together takes some time. I think we’re finding that a little bit along the way, but that continues to be a work in progress.”
The team is playing its first game in nine days. Blaine is hopeful the Thanksgiving break was a benefit for the team, especially after the first stretch of the season that had the Cards playing five games in 10 days.
“We had a lot of guys who logged a lot of minutes, so it was good for them to get some rest to recover a little bit,” Blaine said. “Obviously, it’s exciting to have a week to get ready for SUNYAC play, but you also have to look at the fact that it’s the last week of classes and guys are getting ready for finals, so it’s kind of an interesting time for us.”
SUNY Plattsburgh’s first conference opponent, SUNY Oneonta, is 1-3 early on this season, while New Paltz is 2-2.