And I mean that sympathetically. The Knights have been and remain a noble and most challenging opponent for USI, a great rivalry that essentially has replaced the rivalry the Eagles had with Kentucky Wesleyan once the Panthers left the GLVC for the G-MAC. But Bellarmine is struggling now. For all of USI’s recent struggles, the Knights are far worse off. They’ve lost four of their last five games, including three in a row (one of them last Monday at home to USI by two points in overtime). Bellarmine’s web site only has stats going back to the 2008-09 season, but at no time from then to now have the Knights ever lost three consecutive games or four of five. It will be most interesting to see how Bellarmine responds to being 5-4 in the conference — and 1-4 in the East Division.
And yet, the Knights have lost those four games by an average of just 3.5 points; the worst loss was the 76-68 defeat at Lewis on Saturday (speaking of close games, Bellarmine was 2-5 last season in games decided by five or fewer points and still reached the title game of the NCAA D-II Midwest Regional at Drury — and lost by just six points to the Panthers, who went on to win the national championship). Furthermore, Bellarmine is only one game behind USI, which is 6-3 in league games. Keep that in mind. The two teams meet again, in the final regular-season contest for both, at the Physical Activities Center on Thursday night, Feb. 27.