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Opinions writer Caleb Burlingame and Sports Editor Luke Gremban are back with opinions on the Men’s and Women’s basketball teams. You can listen to the full episode here or wherever you get your podcasts. Continue through the article for a summary of the episode.
Caleb was less than thrilled about the Men’s basketball team’s most recent performance against Calvin College, citing the Eagles’ lack of shooting proficiency during the game. The Eagles still pulled out a 67-56 victory.
Luke and Caleb are cautiously optimistic about the rest of the team’s season as a whole. “We say this a thousand times an episode: COVID, injuries, we’re playing with a bunch of guys out.” Caleb said.
The team is missing key players Axel Okongo and James Love III, who haven’t played in games for the green and white in multiple weeks. Luke believes that the Eagles will be different when their big men return. “The jury is still out on this team simply because they don’t have their centers in,” Luke said.
Luke feels that right now the player who adds the most to the team is redshirt senior, Ty Groce. “I think he is the guy, he is the leader. When it comes to points, they lean on Bryce McBride because he is their most consistent scorer… when it comes to ‘alright, we need a bucket’ you’re giving the ball to Ty Groce.”
Caleb disagreed with Luke’s take, believing Bryce McBride to be the more valuable player. “I’m all for team Ty, but Bryce has just been showing me something lately that makes me think that he can be the guy,” Caleb said.
Caleb isn’t just ready to dismiss the team, but Luke believes that the team won’t make a splash in the MAC tournament.
Luke was very optimistic on the women’s team, specifically with their star redshirt senior, Areanna Combs. “Combs just kept walking down the court and hit three’s like Kevin Durant in the 2018-2019 NBA finals over Lebron James,” Luke said. “I see her now as Kevin Durant and I can’t shake it.”
Caleb was also thrilled with the team, citing their ability on the defensive side of the court. “This team is amazing defensively and they turn that defense into points on the other end,” Caleb said.
There is only one defensive statistic that the women’s team ranks below average, their three-point shooting defense. “Their three-point defense, quite frankly, is trash,” Luke said. “Their defense is good, but specifically their three-point defense is not.”
The consensus for the women’s squad was that they are a near-complete team, but have a few key flaws. Their inconsistency in scoring and their three-point defense can keep them from being truly elite. Luke and Caleb however, are still confident that they are one of the best teams in the MAC.