McPherson College’s basketball teams make their final road appearance of the regular season tonight when they travel to Sterling.
The women start at 6 p.m., with the men to follow. Follow all the action on 96.7 KBBE-FM with Chris Swick on the call.
All eyes are on the women’s game. The Bulldogs are 9-9 in the KCAC, while Sterling is wrapping up its regular season tonight and is 8-11.
Mac is tied for fifth place with 9-9 Ottawa, but is still in the hunt for a home playoff game if it can win out.
Also still in the playoff chase are Kansas Wesleyan (8-11), Sterling (8-11) and Saint Mary (7-11). The only teams out for sure are Bethany (5-13) and Bethel (3-15).
Mac won the first meeting with Sterling 64-59 and is 12-16 overall. The race should become much clearer after Thursday’s games, which also include Friends at Ottawa, Bethany at Bethel, Tabor at Southwestern and Oklahoma Wesleyan at Saint Mary.
The Bulldogs and Warriors have been two of the better teams in the KCAC during the second half of the season, Mac having gone 5-3 and Sterling 5-4. The Warriors are an especially hot team, winning four of their last five, three of those against teams above them in the standings.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, they have suffered two crippling injuries in the last week as starters Reagan McClellan and Brooke Racette have been lost to knee injuries and will not play again this season.
The Mac men are assured of playing their final road game as they are 3-15 in the KCAC and 7-21 overall. It’s been a rough second half of the season for the Bulldogs, who are 1-10 since the calendar flipped to 2016, a big reason being they have struggled on the defensive end.
Sterling, a one-time playoff lock, is now battling for the eighth and final playoff spot. The Warriors are 8-11 in the KCAC, a half-game up on Bethany, which is 7-11. Just ahead of the Warriors, though, are Oklahoma Wesleyan and Friends, both 8-10.
The Warriors stunningly have lost seven of nine during the second round of the KCAC after going 6-4 the first time through. The Bulldogs would give anything to play the role of spoiler on the Warriors’ home court. It wasn’t that long ago that these two teams met for the championship in the KCAC Postseason Tournament, with the Bulldogs winning to advance to nationals.
Sterling was an 84-74 winner in the first meeting.