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Sports


SPORTS 1/18/16 11:38pm

Men's basketball splits first two games of term

In front of a wild home crowd — along with Houston Rockets superstar James Harden in attendance — the Rice University men’s basketball team closed the game on a 21-3 run to overcome a 13-point second half deficit and win 83-73 over Western Kentucky University on Thursday night at Tudor Fieldhouse.









SPORTS 12/7/15 11:23am

Football closes 2015 with C-USA victory

In what was likely the final half of his collegiate career, senior running back Luke Turner ran his wildcat package of the offense to perfection, catalyzing a 27-point outburst that secured a 27-7 victory over the University of North Carolina, Charlotte to improve to 5-7 (3-5) on the season. The 49ers got the ball to open the game but were forced to punt after three plays by the Owls defense, giving Rice the ball at its own 29-yard line.




SPORTS 12/1/15 3:30pm

Football closes 2015 with C-USA victory

In what was likely the final half of his collegiate career, senior running back Luke Turner ran his wildcat package of the offense to perfection, catalyzing a 27-point outburst that secured a 27-7 victory over the University of North Carolina, Charlotte to improve to 5-7 (3-5) on the season.The 49ers got the ball to open the game but were forced to punt after three plays by the Owls defense, giving Rice the ball at its own 29-yard line. While the Owls were able to drive the ball to Charlotte’s five-yard line, freshman kicker Hayden Tobola missed a 22-yard field goal that set the tone for a scoreless first half. The Owls failed to generate any rhythm on offense throughout the half, going three-and-out on two occasions, while also turning the ball over on an interception and having the missed field goal. Fortunately, the 49ers were no better. Three missed field goals from Charlotte helped keep the game scoreless entering the second half.Rice Head Coach David Bailiff made numerous halftime adjustments that proved effective, such as more frequent utilization of Turner’s wildcat package and additional running plays. While the Owls were unable to score on any offensive drive in the first half, they scored on each of their five complete drives in the second half. The defense also continued to excel, keeping the 49ers off the scoreboard until late in the fourth quarter. The second half performance provided a strong finish to what had been a very uneven season.Bailiff said he was very pleased with his team’s effort.“I’m really proud of this football team,” Bailiff said. “It was amazing that in the first half, we just couldn’t get rhythm offensively, and the defense just kept playing. It’s a tribute to the type of young men we have. There’s no finger pointing. We just continued to work and pull for each other.”Redshirt junior linebacker Alex Lyons, who led the team with nine total tackles in the game, said he was similarly impressed with his team’s effort on defense.“I’m very proud of how the guys performed today,” Lyons said. “They sent the seniors home with a win.”According to Bailiff, Turner provided versatility for the offense over his career.“[Turner] is amazing,” Bailiff said. “If you just look at all that he has done for this team this year alone: He plays quarterback for us, he plays tight end for us, he’s played running back, he’s our deep snapper, he’s returned kicks for us, he’s returned punts for us. What he’s done is similar to what [former Rice tight end] James Casey did for us with all of the different skill sets that he has.”In a video that has since gone viral, Turner was emotional in expressing his appreciation for Bailiff’s belief in him as a player and as a person, and said he will never forget his time at Rice.“This was my only Division I offer,” Turner said. “I broke my leg my senior year in high school, and everyone sold me off, but that man right there [Bailiff] stuck with me and I’ll love him forever for it. He helped me get a great education that I know I’ll use very well, and he let me keep playing this game that I love. I love this university and I love that man back there; I’ll do anything for him and anything for this university.”Due to a lack of six-win teams in Division I college football this season, at least two and as many as five 5-7 teams could earn berths to bowl games, depending on the outcomes of several games this upcoming weekend. Should this occur, the Football Oversight Committee will determine the 5-7 teams that will play in bowl games. As such, there is an outside chance that Rice, despite its 5-7 record, could qualify for a bowl game. The Football Oversight Committee will use Academic Progress Rate scores to determine which 5-7 teams will qualify for a bowl. Rice is currently tied with the University of Illinois for sixth place in the rankings, making their chances of receiving a bowl invite incredibly slim.While the team would undoubtedly accept such an invitation to a bowl game, they have already began to look toward next season, and the things they must improve in 2016.“We have a lot to build on,” Bailiff said. “It’s what we’ll talk to the juniors about, and we’ll go back to work on Monday and get this football team better.”



SPORTS 12/1/15 2:42pm

Men’s basketball records first two wins of season

The Rice men’s basketball team played three games over the Thanksgiving recess and earned their first win of the season against Lamar University on Wednesday afternoon. The Owls were victorious once again against the University of California, Riverside on Friday night before dropping a contest to the University of Texas, Arlington on Sunday. The Owls currently sit at 2-5 on the season. Rice got off to a hot start against Lamar by jumping out to a 21-6 lead by the 13:17 mark of the first half. The Cardinals would respond over the next five minutes of play to make the score 27-23 with just over eight minutes left to play in the half. Despite shooting 60.7 percent from the field for the first half and knocking down 28 of 34 free throws for the game, the Owls continued to go back and forth with Lamar to the extent both teams were tied at 70 with eight minutes remaining. The Owls finished strong and held on for a 92-84 final score. Six different players scored in double-digits for Rice, led by 20 from freshman guard Marcus Evans. Other first-year players, guard Connor Cashaw and forward Egor Koulechov, scored 16 and 15 respectively while senior Max Guercy found most of his success from the free throw line going a perfect 10-10.In similar fashion to Wednesday night’s game, the Owls played Big West Conference foe, UC Riverside, in a back and forth high-intensity game. Towards the end of the first half, Rice managed to give themselves some breathing room, breaking off an 8-0 run to take the game into halftime leading 48-42. Late in the second period, the Owls broke off another run, this time of a 13-4 advantage to open up a 74-60 advantage. Another big offensive day allowed the Owls to outlast their opponent and win by a final score of 87-82. Four more players scored in double-figures for Rice including a career night from freshman forward Marquez Letcher-Ellis who contributed 17 points and 7 rebounds. The Owls had 16 assists on 33 field goals and won the rebounding battle for the first team this season 39-37. Riding a two-game winning streak, the Owls welcomed in the University of Texas, Arlington, a team who had recently beaten two of the most recognizable teams in college basketball, Ohio State University and the University of Memphis. The Owls could not contain the hot-shooting Mavericks who opened the game on 7-9 shooting from the field including four 3-pointers. Rice trailed 24-13 early but came back to cut the deficit to 29-26 at the 7:21 mark of the half. The Owls got as close as eight in the second half but could never trim the deficit that remained around the 12-14 point range most of the game. Rice had an opportunity to get close but the long-range shot was off for the Owls, who shot just 7-29 from three. Despite a memorable night for Koulechov, who was 10-15 from the floor with 28 points, the Owls lost 92-74. Just two days after a hard-earned and successful team win, Head Coach Mike Rhoades said he was disappointed by the lack of intensity his team had against the University of Texas, Arlington to close out the homestand.“I know we have young guys and we’re going to be inconsistent at times but we have to have a level of urgency to play, play the right way and play our way,” Rhoades said. “They’re a really good team, but if we would have had better urgency today it might have been a game we could have won.” According to Rhoades, there is a lesson to every victory as well as every loss that can be used as encouragement for the future of this program moving forward.“The moral of today’s story is you have to be ready to play basketball,” Rhoades said. “We learned the hard way today that we wasted an opportunity. I bet you all the guys including myself wish we had this one back but you don’t get them back. [That is] part of having a young team and working on changing the culture … but we’re going to fix it.”According to Rhoades, the team will have to move on and get stronger moving forward.“A lot of times it never goes as you want in life,” Rhoades said. “It’s not going how we want it right now so here’s your life lesson: What are you going to do? Pout, make excuses, point fingers, quit … or are you going to find a way to figure it out and fix it?”The Owls will make the short trip to Houston Baptist University on Wednesday, Dec. 2  night at 7:30 p.m. for a intra-city battle against the Huskies. Following this game, the Owls return home to Tudor Fieldhouse to face St. Edward’s University on Saturday, Dec. 5  at 7:00 p.m. The team will then enter a 10-day recess period for final exams and the ending of the 2015 academic semester. 


SPORTS 11/24/15 6:18am

Loss to UTSA snaps three year bowl streak

Despite impressive offensive performances from redshirt senior quarterback Driphus Jackson, redshirt junior running back Darik Dillard, and redshirt sophomore receiver Nate German, the Rice University football team was unable to overcome three turnovers against the University of Texas, San Antonio, losing the contest 34-24. The loss dropped the Owls to 4-7 (2-5) on the season, ensuring a streak of three consecutive bowl game appearances will be snapped.


SPORTS 11/18/15 9:11am

Men’s basketball drops opener to Golden Bears

After coming off a thrilling 102-78 home exhibition victory over LeTourneau University, the Owls men’s basketball team traveled to Berkeley, California to take on the No. 14 University of California, Berkeley. With a 2015-16 roster made up of just three upperclassmen, many of the players experienced facing a top-15 college basketball program for the first time. The Owls were defeated by a final score of 97-65 on Friday night, but they gained valuable experience to draw from for the remainder of the season. Rice was greeted at Haas Pavilion by the roars of 10,530 fans. The raucous atmosphere didn’t faze the Owls at the start as the team came out and stuck right with their opponent. By the 14:19 mark of the first half, Rice led 14-11 with six quick points by true freshman guard Marcus Evans. However after that point, California caught fire running off a 23-4 run over the next eight minutes of play to take a commanding lead. However, the Owls put on a run of their own in response. Rice outscored Cal 14-4 over the next 4:16  to cut the lead to 10 with just 1:56 left in the half. Rice would take a 16-point deficit into halftime. Head Coach Mike Rhoades acknowledged the close lead in the first half but said the loss was due to a lack of momentum.“We cut it to 10 with the ball, but they scored the final six points of the half,” Rhoades said.  “The best way to have momentum is to take it into the half, and we didn’t do that. We didn’t shoot very well. We shot it a little better in the second half ... Now we have to do a better job.”As the course of the game progressed, the Owls could not keep up with the hot California offense that also kept Rice in check defensively. California shot 50.7 percent for the game while Rice shot just 36.7 percent. Sophomore transfer forward Egor Koulechov led Rice with 19 points and also registered eight rebounds in 31 minutes of play. Evans contributed 18 points on 50 percent shooting from the floor to give himself 42 combined points through just two games this season. The Owls were 15-22 from the free throw line and showed ball control by committing just nine turnovers for the game. California held the advantage in 3-pointers 10-6 and a clear rebounding advantage 48-30 which contributed to their 97-65 victory.Rhoades is now in his second year at the helm of the Owls, and said the young team needs more games to adjust to college play.“We didn’t play well today,” Rhoades said. “I thought we were selfish with the ball. We have a lot of young guys [and] it’s a lot harder to win in college basketball. They just figured that out. We’ve got to get a lot better.” Before the regular season began, Rice was already down two key players at the guard position to knee injuries, freshman Chad Lott and Preseason All-Conference USA guard Marcus Jackson. With their absence, the remainder of the team will need to work hard and play extra minutes even while running a fast-paced offense and a high-pressing defensive scheme. In an interview with the Houston Chronicle, Rhoades said the team will rely heavily on freshmen.“We’ve planned a schedule this year to throw our freshman in the fire,” Rhoades said. “We’re really throwing them in the fire now. We’re going to figure it out and keep moving forward [regarding the injuries] … There is no other way to do it.” Koulechov, a native of Volgograd, Russia and former member of the Israeli national team, is entering his first season with the Owls. He said he feels a deep connection with his teammates and enjoys the mutual respect granted by his coaching staff. “My favorite thing so far about [transferring to Rice] is just the connection we as players have with the coaching staff,” Koulechov said. “It never feels solely as basketball or business; it is something beyond that and it’s a great thing to have.” Koulechov said he shared Rhoades’ sentiments about the team’s selfishness.“We can’t play selfish, and [we] can’t do it by ourselves,” Koulechov said. “It takes a team effort and I think we didn’t play for each other on Friday. We will definitely fix that.” Following their trip to California, the Owls return home for their home opener against Oregon State University on Thursday, Nov. 19. The game will be televised on the American Sports Network. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. Thresher Sports Writer Aaron Shi contributed to this article.


SPORTS 11/18/15 9:11am

Basketball prepares for opener at Tudor

Tudor Fieldhouse will be rocking on Thursday night as the Rice University men’s basketball team hosts Oregon State University in its first home game of the 2015-16 season. According to Head Coach Mike Rhoades, the team cannot wait to play in front of the home crowd.  “We have 17 home games this year, and that’s really great for the [players],” Rhoades said. “I wish every game was a home game.”The home crowd will see a very different team from the one that took the court last year at Tudor. It will be the first home game for five freshmen on the team: guard/forward Harrison Brown, guards Connor Cashaw and Marcus Evans and forwards Marquez Letcher-Ellis and Amir Smith. Sophomore forward Egor Koulechov, who transferred from Arizona State University, will also be playing in his first official game at Tudor Fieldhouse. Rhoades said that while these players are new to the Rice program, he is not afraid to let them play. “We need them to play significant minutes and make an impact,” Rhoades said. “We’re throwing them in the fire right as the season starts, but that’s the fun of it.”The newcomers are not the only players being challenged. Rice opened the season with two road games on the west coast against strong opponents: the University of California, Berkeley and the University of San Francisco. In their first game of the year, the Owls fell to No. 14 California 97-65. Egor Koulechov led the way for Rice with 19 points and eight rebounds, but it was not enough to defeat the Golden Bears. The Owls played San Francisco on Monday night before returning home to prepare for Oregon State. Thursday will mark the fourth meeting between Rice and Oregon State. The Beavers have won two of the three previous matchups, including a 67-54 victory over the Owls last November. Oregon State competes in the Pacific 12 Conference, a conference that currently has four schools ranked in the Associated Press Top 25. The Beavers return all five starters from a team that went 17-14 under first-year Head Coach Wayne Tinkle. They are led by senior guard Gary Payton Jr., who was honored as the Pac-12 defensive player of the year last season and was named to the first team all-conference. According to Rhoades, the matchup will be a challenge for the Owls. “They’re very good,” Rhoades said. “Coach Tinkle has done a great job with his program in just one year.”The likely starting lineup for Oregon State includes Payton, senior guard Langston Morris-Walker, senior forward Olaf Schaftenaar, junior guard Malcolm Duvivier and freshman forward Drew Eubanks. These five players started the Beavers’ season opening 74-52 victory over Northwest Christian University.The Rice starting lineup, however, remains in flux. The Owls were forced to adapt after losing their top scorer, junior guard Marcus Jackson, and a highly touted newcomer, freshman guard Chad Lott, to knee injuries before the season began. The starters against California included senior guard Max Guercy, freshman guard Marcus Evans, sophomore guard Bishop Mency, junior center Andrew Drone and sophomore forward Egor Koulechov. According to Rhoades, the lineup is not set yet, but the uncertainty may be helping the team.  “It’s a tryout every day,” Rhoades said. “We’ve improved our competitiveness because guys think, ‘If I beat that guy out today, I’m going to play more than him.’”Rice is hoping its competitiveness can help it to defeat top-tier programs like Oregon State. According to Rhoades, the Owls are confident that if they play hard, they can win this game. “Getting close isn’t good enough,” Rhoades said. “For those 40 minutes, let’s be on edge, let’s be aggressive, let’s be loose, let’s be very confident and let’s see what we can do.”Rice will look to win its third straight home opener when it takes the court at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 19 at Tudor Fieldhouse. The game will be televised on the American Sports Network and broadcast on TuneIn Radio. 


SPORTS 11/18/15 9:01am

Homecoming Heartbreak: Nine-year homecoming winning streak comes to an end

On Homecoming 2015, the Rice University football team fell to the University of Southern Mississippi in a 65-10 defeat. The Golden Eagles were led by 386 passing yards and five touchdowns from junior quarterback Nick Mullens. The Owls’ senior quarterback Driphus Jackson was sacked five times in the first half and replaced by redshirt junior Tyler Stehling at the end of the second quarter. The homecoming loss dropped the Owls to 4-6 (2-4) on the season and extended the team’s losing streak to three games.The Owls received the opening kickoff and were able to pick up a first down courtesy of a 16-yard run from redshirt junior running back Darik Dillard, though this would be their only first down of the opening quarter. The Owls and the Golden Eagles traded punts on their opening drives, after which Mullens hit sophomore running back Ito Smith for a 28-yard touchdown pass. While the Owls forced Southern Mississippi to punt on their following drive, the Golden Eagles would find the end zone on the following possession courtesy of a fake field goal. Junior punter Tyler Sarrazin found redshirt sophomore lineman Xavier Thigpen for a touchdown that was the turning point of the game. These scores initiated the beginning of a blowout. The Owls’ inability to get on track offensively and defensively eventually led them to a 58-0 fourth quarter deficit and a devastating defeat.The Owls did attempt to turn the blowout around. Redshirt senior quarterback Driphus Jackson was pulled out of the game with his team down 28-0, having just lost a fumble and not having completed any of his eight pass attempts. The Golden Eagles racked up 682 yards of offense to Rice’s 214, gained 26 first downs to Rice’s 15 and possessed the ball for just over 31 minutes of the game. Most notably, however, Southern Mississippi set a school record by putting up an impressive 35 points in the second quarter alone, effectively deciding the game long before the final whistle.Predictably, Head Coach David Bailiff was disappointed with his team’s poor showing, and said the team’s performance can be blamed on the coaching staff.“It starts with me,” Bailiff said. “This is an embarrassing loss. We’re going to keep analyzing everything that we do from top to bottom in this program. We didn’t get to three bowl games from being bad coaches, but every year is a different year and every year is a new set of problems and we’ve got to figure out solutions to what’s happening to us.”The Owls were penalized seven times for 67 yards in the game. Bailiff said he was upset with the team’s lack of discipline and eventually changed quarterbacks to try to light a spark.“We start the game with a penalty,” Bailiff said. “Then we get a nice run from [redshirt freshman] Austin Walter on the perimeter and we get a penalty. We can’t do that, we don’t have that margin for error. When I took [Jackson] out, I was hoping Tyler [Stehling] could stimulate it and get it going.”During the postgame press conference, Bailiff said he was particularly frustrated with his team’s poor tackling on defense. According to Bailiff, the Rice team wasn’t playing with a team mentality.“Some of those missed tackles tonight weren’t missed tackles,” Bailiff said. “It’s because we tried to hit them so hard we didn’t wrap up and tackle. That’s not what we work on. We work on tackling. And when we start to put this team first and tackling instead of trying to get the big hit, then we won’t have as many missed tackles. It’s not a team-first attitude, and that’s my biggest frustration at this time.”The Owls are now 4-6 on the season with upcoming games against the University of Texas, San Antonio and the University of North Carolina, Charlotte on the schedule. They will need to win both games to qualify for a fourth consecutive bowl game. While both opponents are not of Southern Mississippi’s caliber, it remains to be seen if Rice can recover from the 55-point loss in time to salvage what remains of their season.While Bailiff and his team are undoubtedly frustrated and unhappy with these recent performances, he said they are prepared to do whatever is necessary to rectify a turbulent situation.“We’ve been a winning football team around here,” Bailiff said. “We’ve got to take this frustration and anger in our stomach and turn it into something positive on the football field. We’re going to get this figured out as a team, as a coaching staff, and it’s something I believe we can do.”The Owls will look to snap a three-game losing streak and move to 5-6 (3-4) in a matchup against UTSA in the Alamodome on Saturday, Nov. 21 at 6 p.m.


SPORTS 11/10/15 3:27pm

The Fifth Quarter: In college athletics and life, money talks

This past year, Missouri has become a hotbed of racial tensions. Amid seemingly countless controversies and racial lines being formed, the state has become the center of a growing national concern. The issue has spread across college campuses across the country, including right here at Rice. It has moved to the forefront of issues in Missouri, and it has become unavoidable. The sports world is no exception.Over the weekend, black players on the University of Missouri football team threatened to boycott playing until university President Tim Wolfe stepped down. Wolfe was accused of avoiding comment or action regarding the racial tensions Missouri has faced recently. Specifically, protesters were upset with how he reacted, or rather didn’t react, to racially charged incidents on campus and his refusal to appropriately acknowledge protests. Eventually, Wolfe and university Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin stepped down amid the controversy.White and black players alike joined in the strike and threatened to end Missouri’s season early. Had Wolfe not stepped down, Missouri would have had to directly pay Brigham Young University, the next opponent on the Tigers’ schedule, $1 million in compensation for canceling the game. That financial loss does not include the revenue the university would have pulled in from television and other sources. The football team’s victory in forcing Wolfe’s resignation showcases an issue with college athletics that goes beyond racial boundaries. These athletes, these unpaid athletes, can bring in huge profits for their universities without ever seeing a dime of their contributions. This issue has been discussed and debated at length, but this particular event has the opportunity to revolutionize how we view college sports. Missouri’s players, whether realizing it or not, unionized to create change. Their unionization had such a tremendous impact on the university that the president had no choice but to listen to the demands of a varsity sports team. Consider the magnitude of the act: College athletes have the power to change their university from the top down.Just how much influence these events will have remains to be seen. If other teams in the future decide to sit out, who knows what demands they could make. The athletes bring in so much revenue that universities have no choice but to listen to them. Football, and to a lesser extent basketball, teams have the potential to hold a great deal of financial power over university administrations. What makes it more impressive is that protesters and social activists have been calling for Wolfe’s resignation since summer. It was only until this much money was involved that real change happened.Naturally, there are limits. These kinds of influences can only really happen at large Power 5 schools where football teams make profits. Only 20 Division 1 athletic departments profited in 2013; 103 schools lost money from athletics. Regardless, a team’s ability to sit out games and force their school to pay fines is a substantial power move that athletes can use to their advantage.I do not believe, however, that strikes and boycotts will become a regular thing. Most athletes want to play and realize they have been given a scholarship to do just that. Missouri, however, saw a perfect storm of geographic, financial and athletic circumstances to encourage the weekend’s events. The football program nets roughly $3 million in revenue each season, adding to its financial power. Additionally, the team is currently sitting at 4-5 with its postseason hopes looking bleak. The issue is not very clear cut, either. According to an anonymous Missouri player, the team’s decision was not unanimous, and only occurred because of the team’s disappointing season.“As much as we want to say everyone is united, half the team and coaches — black and white — are pissed,” the athlete told ESPN’s Brett McMurphy on Nov. 8. “If we were 9-0, this wouldn’t be happening.”The issue speaks to the incredible power college football has over universities and the sports world. It also speaks to the importance of winning in modern athletics. Social change can be instituted by these boycotts, but not at the expense of winning. Too much money is on the line.Once again, college athletics has shown the foothold it has over administrations. While Missouri’s boycott ultimately proved successful, we once again learned an important lesson about college athletics and, indeed, the world: Money talks.Evan Neustater is a McMurtry College junior and Thresher Sports Editor.


SPORTS 11/10/15 3:25pm

Reis Fight: Men’s basketball is poised to compete in Conference USA

“Try and get thrown out tonight.”Those were the words Head Coach Mike Rhoades told the student section as he walked by before the exhibition game against LeTourneau on Saturday night. His team will play with that high energy all season long, and he wants us students to match that energy in the stands. For me, the excitement for Saturday’s game started 25 minutes before tipoff. I got to Tudor that early for three reasons. First, I needed to secure my spot in the front row. Second, I couldn’t study anymore because of my excitement for the upcoming game and season. Third, I wanted to watch warm-ups to witness the new student athletes to this program. While watching warm-ups, I witnessed something that I have not really seen from Rice basketball: dunks. And these dunks were not just your boring two-handed flushes, but dunks that one would witness in a dunk contest. Each player added a little extra flavor to his dunk, which was getting the blood flowing among all of the students in the student section. Dunks in warm-ups are exciting, but they don’t really matter because they do not change the score. But this team didn’t save the dunks just for warm-ups — they had dunks that changed the score, specifically one that gave the Owls triple digits. There was under a minute left in the game. Rice already had the win secured, but all the students wanted to see the team reach triple digits. The play started with a block by freshman forward Amir Smith that then led to a fast break the other way by sophomore guard Oliver Xu. Xu missed the layup, but Smith was there to throw down the putback dunk that put Rice over 100 points, causing Tudor Fieldhouse to erupt. When the clock showed three zeros, the party began as the players and Coach Rhoades joined the student body in the stands for the alma mater. They were truly appreciative of the support and wanted to thank us for showing up, cheering and staying till the end. The team this year is ready to shock the world, but to us this should not be a surprise. If you have ever listened to Coach Rhoades, you know he creates excitement and expects nothing but success from his team. If you have ever watched a video of the off-season workouts this team goes through, you know that they are putting in the work to become a championship team. If you have ever attended a game, you know this team is exciting to watch and able to play. This year we don’t have to rely on the 3-point shot to be successful. This year we don’t have to rely on Seth Gearhart scoring over 40 points to be successful. This year we don’t have to count on three players playing more than 35 minutes a game. This year we will see a team with multiple players who can score in multiple different ways. This year we will see a team that will press for all 40 minutes. This year we will see a team that will create buzz around campus as a place you need to be on a Saturday night. What do I believe is possible for this team? An NCAA tournament berth this season. What do I believe is most realistic? A Top Four finish in Conference USA with a spot in the National Invitational Tournament, hosting a postseason game in March in front of a sold-out crowd in Tudor. If you thought last year was exciting, buckle up for this wild ride. In the words of Coach Rhoades, put down your books for two hours and head to Tudor to act like a crazy person having the time of your life. Jeremy Reiskind is a Duncan College junior.