WU basketball enters MIAA Tournament upset-minded

The MIAA Tournament, begins on Feb. 27 for men’s basketball and Feb. 28 for the women’s.

The Ichabod men and women have both made it into the tournament this season with the men as the six seed and the women as the seventh.

Despite struggles at times for both teams throughout the season, the MIAA tournament gives them a chance to get hot at the right time and make their way into the NCAA tournament.

The women hosted Southwest Baptist in Lee Arena. The game was certainly no easy task for the Ichabods. Washburn went on the road and beat the Bearcats by four in the first match up, but later in the season Southwest Baptist came to Lee Arena and won by three.

The two teams were fairly evenly matched, but Southwest Baptist pulled ahead 68-56.

Southest baptist will now play at the main tournament site in Kansas City, and face second seed, Central Missouri.

The Ichabod men are a step ahead of the women, as they pounded Southwest Baptist in the opening round of the tournament to guarantee them a game at the main site in Kansas City. Their first game will be against Nebraska Kearney.

The Lopers have been a thorn in the side of Washburn all season, handing the Ichabods two losses so far, both by double digits, but this is a different team now, one that is playing its best basketball at the right time, and riding a five game winning streak. Washburn had a double digit lead at times the last time the two played, and it took a season best shooting performance by the Lopers to win the game.

Business major, Tristan Abts thinks so, “I think we have a chance. I know that the squad is a lower seed, but post season basketball is crazy, and upsets happen.”

If the ‘bods can get past that game, they would then face the winner of Central Missouri vs Central Oklahoma. Washburn has handed Central Oklahoma two losses already this season, so certainly that would be a favorable matchup. More than likely, the winner of that game will be second seed, Central Missouri.

When starter Cameron Wiggins was asked what the team needed to do to make this team win, he answered with certainty, “We have a lot of momentum going into the tournament. We just won five games in a row, and have defensive player of the year [Brady Skeens] we have a lot of confidence going into this. We know that there are teams we can beat so we like our chances. So if we can get past the teams we know we can beat, we’ll be in good shape.”

The Ichabods didn’t do well in their first game against the Mules and more importantly it was a month ago, when Washburn was in a slump ,which they have now ascended from. Washburn is capable of winning that game.

After that it’s the championship game, where the Ichabods may face Northwest Missouri. This is where the ‘bods have a great chance. After all, if they reach the title game Washburn will be riding a seven game winning streak and playing their best basketball of the season.

Bob Chipman is ending his Washburn career after this season, and his players would surely love to send him out on a high note.

That could give the ‘bods the extra jolt of energy they need to pull off a couple of upsets and gain a NCAA tournament berth.

For both teams, the road is going to be tough, and there are no guarantees. Both squads need upsets over teams that have already beaten them this season.