It’s that time of year for USI men’s basketball. Six games remain in the regular season, with the Eagles in second place in the GLVC East Division one game behind Saturday’s opponent, surprising Wisconsin-Parkside (which was picked by the league’s coaches before the season began to finish sixth in the East). With so few games left, coach Rodney Watson has started to talk like it’s the NCAA Tournament: one loss and you’re out.
“It’s a one-game season,” he said on Friday when I asked him about how bad it was to lose at home in the conference this late in the season. “This has nothing to do with home games. It’s the next one you worry about.”
He went even further, saying it’s time to play “one possession at a time,” and that every team is a difficult opponent. “We’re playing really good teams. There’s no fool’s gold in this season. You’ve got to earn everything. You can’t melt; you can’t flip out; you can’t get too emotionally high because you’ve got another possession coming at you.”
A reminder: Watson said much the same thing at this time last season. USI went on to win the GLVC Tournament championship (then lost in the first round of the NCAA Midwest Regional a week later, but, hey, it happens).