Luke Treat

Bears Thriving On Close Games

In College Basketball on January 26, 2011 at 5:12 pm

Weems and the Bears are 9-1 in the MVC

The Bears took care of an over-achieving Drake team Tuesday night as all starters reached double digit scoring. It wasn’t easy. It didn’t look easy. In fact, I was uneasy just watching the game. This is the best start of any Bears basketball squad since the 1967-68 Div. II team, but if they want to make a historic run at the NCAA tournament, the Bears need some better play from their  bench.

 

More after the jump…

This team has character, tenacity, and a will to win. They are 4-1 in Missouri Valley games decided by three points or less. But is all of that enough to make a claim as the top team in Valley? Jermaine Mallett and Adam Leonard are both averaging close to 33 minutes per game. Kyle Weems and Nafis Ricks are averaging close to 30 minutes per game. When four out of your five starters are playing 30 minutes or more every game, longevity becomes a primary concern. Will the Bears have the legs to make a run at the Valley tournament in St. Louis and (fingers crossed, candles light, prayers answered) make a run at the Big Dance? The issue here is depth. The Bears have had tremendous luck with health thus far and if a starter were to get hurt, the outcome could be costly. Caleb Patterson and Isiah Rhine are solid big men to give center Will Creekmore much needed breathers, but the back court could be a very problematic if Ricks or Leonard (both leading the team in minutes played)  were to go down with injury. The bench is young: guards Nathan Scheer, Aaron Cooper, Nick Valla and Corey Copeland are all true freshmen. Scheer has been getting solid playing time but his play has been streaky. Copeland is a touted scorer but doesn’t have the build to play against upperclassmen.

The Bears need to separate themselves from the pack. They are the first place team in the Valley and will surely get the very best efforts of any team in the Valley every time they lace-up. If they want to consider any ‘at-large’ bids from the NCAA tournament they need to show dominance and separation from the rest of the Valley.

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  1. The Bears could use a man like Fletch. He can really make things happen out there.

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