This has been a long, cold winter and a tough season for the Maroons. If the weather is any indication for Chicago men’s basketball, the sun coming out this week will lift the squad during the two conference games this weekend.
Both this and the next weekend represent the last three games the South Siders (13–9, 6–5 UAA) will play this season against Carnegie Mellon (11–11, 4–7), Case Western (13–9, 5–6), and Wash U (20–2, 11–0).
This past weekend saw the Maroons with a win and a loss, respectively, against NYU (15–7, 5–6) and Brandeis (12–10, 4–7) on the road.
The fight with the NYU Violets was a rough one, with the score going back and forth for the majority of the game until Chicago finally pulled out the win. Fourth-year guard Derrick Davis led the team in scoring with 17 points. The veteran has scored in the double digits six times over his past eight games.
However, the game against Brandeis two days later was more disappointing for Chicago. Brandeis shot almost 50 percent from the field and gathered 45 rebounds to the Maroons’ 28, defeating Chicago.
Now, the South Siders prepare to face the Carnegie Mellon Tartans and Case Western Spartans for the second time here at Ratner. A few weeks ago, Chicago barely beat Carnegie and lost to Case.
Without the distraction of delayed flights and missed classes, the Maroons have had a chance to recover and prepare for the weekend. Many things have worked against the squad lately, including terrible travel conditions and fourth-year Charlie Hughes’ leave with injury.
“We should not be beating Carnegie with a buzzer beater,” second-year Jordan Smith said. “We need to play on Sunday how we do on Friday night.”
Smith averages 11.1 points per game on the season, shooting an impressive 43% from the three-point range. Hughes, who leads the team in scoring with 12.5 points per game, will be a key addition when he returns this weekend.
Three out of the past four weekends, the Maroons have won their Friday night game but lost the Sunday midday matchup.
“Maybe it’s the morning game, but I know we are better,” Smith said.
On paper, Chicago is a better team than both Carnegie and Case. They need to have confidence in their abilities and bring it to the table this weekend.
Tip-off against the Tartans is Friday at 8 p.m., and Sunday’s game against the Spartans begins at noon.