Historic Season Not Over Yet For Men’s Basketball

As the clock hit zero last Thursday night, and the Whitman men’s basketball team fell in the semi-final round of the Northwest Conference tournament, cheers turned to murmurs, and disappointment, doubt and deja vu filled the Sherwood Athletic Center. It seemed like an exact replica of last year, only this time around, the team had a better record, a healthier roster, and a sense of swagger most teams dream of. After all, not every year does a team engineer the most successful season in their school’s history. Yet once again, playoff hopes were derailed in the penultimate round of the conference tourney. Or at least that’s how last year went.

By Monday morning around 10 a.m., those emotions lingering from Thursday night were washed away, as Whitman was given an at-large spot in the national tournament; another feat never before accomplished in the history of the team. The selection committee was able to look past the early exit from the conference playoffs to recognize the remarkable body of work lying beyond the few blemishes on Whitman’s ’15-’16 resumé.

Now with new life, Whitman will face Chapman university at 7 p.m. tonight in Sherwood. Still ranked #11 in the nation, Whitman is the favorite and thus earned home court advantage, rare for an at-large team. Perhaps the loss brought them back down to earth, or maybe it exposed their weak areas, but either way, should they come out of tonight victorious, awaiting them is a third meeting with Whitworth – and you can bet the Missionaries will be licking their chops should that matchup emerge.