According to Coach Jody May, there are four mini-seasons in men’s basketball. Season one is the month of practice before the first game. Season two, a month-and-a-half of non-conference games. Season three, two months of conference games. And season four is the postseason — MIAA and NCAA tournament play.
“We’re going to try to win every darn game there is,” said May.
How? Experience seems to be key.
The varsity team is bringing back a large junior class — seven of the 17 men. Some have played many minutes on court wearing varsity jerseys. Others have gained their skills as members of the JV team. But all have had a lot of experience on playing college ball and working as a team.
The Brits’ three seniors are bringing in a lot of experience, too. May said they want to go out with the best season they’ve had in their four years on the team. Captain Corey Wheeler of Detroit was Albion’s lead scorer and an MIAA second-team pick last season. And although injuries limited the play times of Adam Davis and Captain Robert Ryan as juniors, both were high scorers when on the court.
The team’s experience comes from unusual places, too. In the past, May said Albion was a bit undersized and faced problems at the post. Now, they have depth (and height) to work under the basket.
Finally, May hopes the 2017-18 team will use the momentum of last season’s end. The Brits won five of their last six games and continued their basketball season on a trip to France in May.
“Having the experience and the understanding of what it’s like to play in college goes a long way,” said May. “Sometimes it’s the more experienced team that can beat a more talented team.”
There’s a lot of talent within the MIAA. The top four teams at the end of the regular season go to the conference tournament, where the winner will go onto the NCAA tournament. Two games in a row need to be won. May believes that any team could do it if they make it into tournament play.
A competitive conference makes for great games, but also makes it tough for a college to make the tournament cut. To win it, consistency is key. May said all home games and at least half of the away games need to be won.
“I do believe, and I say this a lot, the team that plays the most consistent throughout the league is going to win,” he said. “It’s really hard to stay consistent. If we can be consistent, then I think we’ll have a chance to make a run at winning the regular season.”
Right now, the team stands at a 1-4 record in the November stretch of the season, sealing a win in overtime against Heidelburg.
The Brits, who are coming off a 10-15 overall record and a 7-7 conference record, will play their first post-Thanksgiving home game against Illinois Tech on Saturday, December 2. Their first post-Winter Break home game will be against Hope on Wednesday, January 24.
Photo courtesy of Albion Athletics.