It’s no secret that Roos basketball is concerned with one thing: winning the conference tournament and getting the WAC’s only ticket to the big dance.
The men are the third seed in the WAC. They play Thursday at 9 p.m. against UTRGV. The women also play UTRGV in the first round. Both teams need to win three games, and defeat opponents they have not beaten this year.
The ‘smart money’ is against the Roos making it to the NCAA tournament. ESPN has chosen CSU-Bakersfield to be the WAC’s sole representative for the men and New Mexico State for the women. Teamrankings.com has given the men’s team an 8.98 percent chance at making it to the NCAA tournament.
Men’s Tournament – ‘Show Me’ Basketball
First up for the men are UTRGV. The Roos have beat them twice, by four points the first time and seven points the second time. It’s difficult to beat any opponent three times in a row. They cannot look past this game.
New Mexico State has the best overall record in the WAC with 25 wins and 5 losses. The Aggies beat the Roos by 13 in both regular season matches. To get to the championship game, UMKC will have to overcome NM State’s Ian Baker, Braxton Huggins, Eli Chuha and the best 3-point defense in the WAC. The Aggies best play comes when they have the momentum. When they lose it, they play angry until they get it back.
The Roos are the best downtown shooters and second best free-throw shooters in the WAC. Winning against NM State would mean UMKC would likely play CSU-Bakersfield or Utah Valley in the championship.
Women’s Tournament – Are the Roos Peaking at the Right Time?
The Roos have been at full strength since Feb. 18, when they beat Chicago State by nine points. The next game they lost to CSU Bakersfield on a last-second shot. Then finished the season by beating Grand Canyon by 12 and Chicago State by 16. UMKC has waited to play their best basketball until now. The Roos have yet to beat UTRGV this year and that is who they take on Wednesday.
So, who’s going to win the WAC?
It’s common knowledge; the easiest way to win is by staying ahead of your opponent in points. The good teams know how to overcome a deficit and bounce back. If UMKC wants a ticket to the big dance, they’ll have to be a good team.