McPherson College’s basketball teams have to gear up both mentally and physically for the nearly 200-mile trip to Bartlesville, Okla., on Thursday to play KCAC newcomer Oklahoma Wesleyan.
Game time is 6 p.m. for the women, with the men at 8.
It’s a huge game for the Mac women, who upset Oklahoma Wesleyan last month at the Sport Center. The Eagles come in 10-6 in the KCAC, but have lost to both Mac and 10th-place Bethany. They play the “Grinnell” style of basketball, which has little regard for the shot clock and is greatly highlighted by shooting the 3-pointer.
Mac is 8-9 in the KCAC, tied with Kansas Wesleyan and Ottawa for fifth, with Saint Mary a half-game back at 7-9 and Sterling is 7-10. Only Bethany (4-12) and Bethel (2-14) are considered out of the playoff picture at this point as the top eight move on.
Southwestern is in fourth at 9-7, but has a tough slate of games left, so that last homecourt playoff berth is still not out of the question. The Moundbuilers have four games remaining, but three are against the top three teams in the KCAC.
The Mac men have been reduced to playing for pride as they are now out of the playoff picture at 3-14. They could play a spoiler’s role, as Oklahoma Wesleyan is 6-10, one game back of both Bethany and Bethel, which are tied for seventh.
Mac knocked off the Eagles in the first meeting in one of its best games of the year. But the Eagles are a different team at home, one reason being their opponents have to experience the long road trip that they have to make when they go on the road.
Fortunately, the Bulldogs are the KCAC’s open team on Saturday as they’ll probably welcome the rest.