In the end, the USI men’s basketball team missed a bunch of layups while losing to 11th-seeded Maryville in the GLVC Tournament on Sunday. But that was nothing new. The Eagles have been doing that a lot lately. George Edwards, just as an example, has lately been driving to the basket only to push the ball over the rim or watch the ball bounce off the backboard or, worst of all, see it drop through and then pop out of the cylinder. Same thing with Shane Seniour and TeNale Roland and Bobo Drummond and Austin Davis and Gavin Schumann on one of his wild drives through the paint. But it happened so much I have to believe it was more than mere bad luck. Shooting too hard? Shooting too softly? Layups are both the simplest and most difficult of shots. We saw that in game after game this season with USI.
But that wasn’t the only thing that went wrong during Sunday’s 72-71 overtime loss. The Eagles also couldn’t hit from 3-point range consistently. They went 8-for-24 beyond the arc. Roland hit three of them and Schumann and Davis sank two each. But Drummond, who had been mostly money from 3 the past several games, went just 1-for-8. If he’d just sunk one more trey …
Anyway, USI’s NCAA Tournament hopes may not be completely dashed. Yes, it’ll be very tough to get a berth after losing at home to a team that’s under .500. But if there are no surprises in both the GLVC and GLIAC tournaments — that is, no bad teams win their respective conference championships — the Eagles may just squeak into the Midwest Regional, which probably will take place at Bellarmine in Louisville, Kentucky. USI was the No. 6 team in last week’s Midwest Region rankings. Eight teams receive berths in the Midwest Regional.
Eagles fans, there is still hope.