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Basketball bouncing back after slow start

Maskulinski's List

By Justin Maskulinski
On January 31, 2014

The Miami University men's basketball team finished last season with a 9-22 record. The RedHawks were in their first year under head coach John Cooper, and they dropped 13 of 16 Mid-American Conference (MAC) games.

If you had asked anyone how they thought the RedHawks would fare this season on Nov. 23, they might have expected 0-31.

On Nov. 23, the Red and White lost to a Division-III opponent, Wilmington College. Granted, Wilmington did shoot nearly 52 percent from behind the arc, but there still is little room for excuses after a loss like that. The loss put the 'Hawks at an 0-4 start to their season

Now, before I sound like I'm trash talking my college's basketball team, let's take a look at Nov. 24 to present day; the 'Hawks have gone 8-6 (4-3 MAC) since the Wilmington loss.

The RedHawks still have over 10 MAC games remaining, and they already surpassed their conference win total from last year.

In the three MAC games the 'Hawks have dropped, the opposing teams have a combined conference record of 16-4.

This year, the RedHawks have four players averaging nine or more points per contest and redshirt senior forward Will Felder is leading the Red and White with just over 15 points per game.

As a team, the RedHawks are shooting just under 45 percent from the field on the season. As of Jan. 27, that put the Red and White in the top half of the nation in that category, according to NCAA.com.

As of Jan. 26, the RedHawks are also 24th in the nation in steals per game with 8.4 per game, which means they are stealing the ball more times per game than 93 percent of the teams in Division-I basketball.

The RedHawks hosted the University of Toledo (18-2, 6-1 MAC) Wednesday night and they ultimately fell short, 83-70.

The loss ended a three game MAC winning streak for the 'Hawks (keep in mind they only won three MAC games all of last year).

A 13-point difference may look ugly to the naked eye, but the RedHawks shot an abysmal 1-17 from behind the three point line. If the 'Hawks had shot over 30 percent, they would have won the game.

But as my father likes to say, if if's and but's were candy and nuts, we'd all have a Merry Christmas.

That saying doesn't really make a lot of sense, but the moral of the story is Miami failed to execute in a game against a superior opponent, and excuses cannot be made. It happens, but this determined team is unlikely to let it happen again.

After Miami started their 2013-14 campaign 0-4, nobody knew how low this team could sink.

The boys in red and white have turned their season around and are one win away from tying last year's win total with over 10 games remaining.

Through battling back and overcoming adversity, the 'Hawks have surpassed many low expectations and have an opportunity to surprise many teams in the MAC.


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