Even as Winter Storm Nemo bears down on the Wesleyan campus, the men’s basketball team must still focus on its postseason prospects. Though the Cardinals’ Friday, Feb. 8 game against Bowdoin has been pushed to Sunday, they cannot help but think about the way their season has gone thus far, in addition to the games still left to be played.
After losing star shooter and captain Jason Mendell ’12 last year, the team knew that it would have to rely more heavily on new captains Shasha Brown ’13, Derick Beresford ’13, and Mike Callaghan ’13. This strategy has worked passably well for the Cardinals thus far, but one has to wonder whether the three-headed monster can take them far in a stacked conference tournament. Brown averages a team-leading 17.3 points on the year, followed closely by Callahan with 15.3 and Beresford with 12.7, which totals 45.3 points a game. By comparison, the rest of the team combines for just 27.2 per game. That means the Cards will have to be incredibly reliant on their three stars, which is perhaps more of a top-heavy strategy than they might desire.
This playoff speculation is all contingent on whether the Cardinals make the tournament, which is not yet a definite. The Cardinals currently sit in seventh place, and a loss to either Colby on Saturday or Bowdoin on Sunday could conceivably knock them out of the playoffs. Either way, if the team moves on to the postseason, Wesleyan will draw either Amherst or Williams in the first round. Both of the Little Three rivals are undefeated in NESCAC play this season, and both have beaten the Cardinals twice this year.
That being said, the Cardinals are still optimistic about their chances, and their games against the consensus top teams of the conference have all been close. That alone is reason enough to believe they could make a run if they qualify for postseason play.