Throughout the season, the NSU men’s basketball team has faced a tough schedule, including games against four teams ranked in the NCAA Division II Coaches Poll. The Sharks now find themselves with an 11-6 record, ranked fifth in the Sunshine State Conference.
The Sharks have an even tougher road ahead of them to try and make a push before the SSC tournament in Kissimmee, Fla. The team has eight games left in the regular season -— five are home games.
Lukas Roesch, an NSU senior and a forward for the team, is surprised by how well they’ve done so far.
“My expectations were a little on the low side, but between developing the new guys as players and with great team chemistry, it just went beyond my expectations,” Roesch said.
The games to be held at the Arena at the Don Taft University Center are against conference rivals Eckerd College, the University of Tampa, Rollins College and Lynn University. The biggest challenge out of these conference games will be against the nineteenth-ranked Rollins Tars who beat the Sharks by 11 points just a few weeks ago. The lone non-conference game, against the Palm Beach Atlantic Sailfish, should be the least challenging, as the Sailfish have a 1-17 record.
Roesch said, “We have to win on the road as we have been doing. It shows we are a successful team when we keep winning on the road.”
NSU still has to play three conference games on the road against Florida Southern College, Florida Tech University and Barry University, two of which beat the Sharks earlier in the season. The Sharks should have no problem against the Florida Tech Panthers, who are currently last in the conference, with a 1-7 record. The game against Barry will be a redemption game of sorts, since the Buccaneers beat the Sharks 68-61 on NSU’s home court last week. The toughest remaining game will be when the men travel up to Florida Southern, as their team leads the SSC and is ranked ninth in the NCAA Division II Coaches Poll.
Once the season is over, NSU will make the trip up to Kissimmee, Fla. to play for the SSC Championship in the Silver Spurs Arena. If the Sharks are to win their first basketball conference championship in program history, then they will have to win at least three games — depending on which place they finish in at the end of the season. If they are able to win the SSC, the Sharks will have a chance to get their first NCAA National Championship tournament invite for the first time in program history.
The only question left is — can they do it?