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Titans look for March Magic

On February 23, 2016

As the regular season draws to a close, one thing has become abundantly clear for the Titans men’s basketball team and their fans throughout this roller-coaster season: Defense has been the common downfall, but is also the source of hope going forward. 

In a multitude of games this season, the Titans have looked overly reliant on a generally strong offense, while the defense has gone by the wayside far too much. 

Late-game free throws have also been a thorn in the side of the Titans, as many close games could have finished in their favor had a few more gone in here and there, most notably in the Oakland and Green Bay home games, decided by a mere five points combined. 

Defense and free throws have been, and always will be, a definitive key to winning games, but consistency has been hard to find for this team with a young core. 

The good news is that these are issues that can be fixed mid-season and give the Titans a chance of truly competing for an NCAA tournament bid in the Horizon League Tournament March 5-8 at Joe Louis Arena. 

To earn the title of Horizon League Champions would be a difficult for the Titans, but far from impossible. 

Looking at the standings, it is hard not to be impressed by the Valparaiso Crusaders and their sterling 21-5 record overall (11-2 in conference). Their only two conference losses came in close games to Wright State. 

They also boast a strong veteran core of players who have played in the NCAA tournament before, some multiple times. 

Other good teams in the Horizon League include Oakland (with a national player of the year candidate in Kay Felder), the aforementioned Wright State and Green Bay, which possess the potential to take out any team in the league. 

But that’s the beauty of it – any team could beat any other; it’s happened before and it will undoubtedly happen again. 

March and basketball are forever intertwined, and there is an aura or mystique about the two together that seems to spur the unthinkable to occur. 

A simple belief in one’s team could create a magic that goes beyond the basketball court and into campus life. 

It happens seemingly ever year for one school, so maybe it’s our time to ask, why not us UDM?

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