After ringing off four consecutive wins to start the new year, the Maroons (11–5, 3–2 UAA) hit a bump in the road this past weekend as they dropped matchups on the road against conference rival Brandeis (7–8, 2–2) by a score of 59–58 and No. 23 New York University (12–4, 3–2) by a score 85–68. However, the Maroons return to Chicago this weekend and the comforts of Gerald Ratner Gymnasium as they take on UAA rivals Case Western Reserve (13–3, 4–1) and Carnegie Mellon (10–6, 1–4).
Chicago will have no time to ease back into rhythm, however, as they will be hitting the floor tonight against Case Western. The Spartans, much like the Maroons, dropped out of the top 25 rankings last week following a loss to Emory. It was their first loss in UAA play. Unlike Chicago, though, the Spartans were able to bounce back in their second game of the weekend as they dismantled Rochester. The second victory kept the squad at the top of the UAA standings.
“This weekend it’s important to get us back on track and we have a chance to do so against the number one team in our league in Case. They’re at the top and that’s where we want to be, so we are going to want to make a statement with a solid performance and a win,” said third-year guard Scott Herlihy.
After a hard weekend on the road, hosting two games at home could be just the edge the Maroons need to get back on track. The squad has yet to lose a UAA game on its home court this season.
“As far as playing at home, I know I personally really enjoy our away trips, and you never want to blame your travel schedule for your performance, because at the end of the day you need to be able to play well no matter what,” Herlihy said. “But there is definitely something to be said about the convenience of being at home. Hopefully we can exploit that this weekend.”
The Maroons, who have slipped in and out of the top 25 all season long, will need this win if they have hopes of landing back there next week.
“We’ve been in the top 25 a couple of times now, but each time we haven’t been able to follow up those rankings with wins, which is something we need to get better at as we move forward,” Herlihy said.
Chicago will follow up this match with another two days later against Carnegie Mellon. The Tartans won their first nine games of the season, only to suffer six losses in their past seven games. However, many of these games, including those against top-ranked teams, were decided by fewer than 10 points.
The Maroons have faced off against and beaten some of the best teams in the country in No. 7 Wash U and No. 12 Emory; after a disappointing weekend on the road, they will be looking to regain that confidence and momentum as they head into the second half of conference play next weekend.
Chicago tips off against Case Western at 8 p.m. tonight. Then the Maroons will face Carnegie Mellon at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Both events will take place at Ratner Athletic Center.