The men’s basketball team has advanced to the NCAA Division III National Championships four times in the last five seasons, but this season they set a new record making it to the Sweet 16 for the first time.
The team finished 20th in the country in the D3hoops.com Top 25 Poll with a 23-8 season falling to Augustana College 70-57.
Senior management major and guard Dean Pele had higher expectations for the season but thinks just making it to the Sweet 16 for the first time in school history was impressive.
“It was a really good season overall. Definitely not the record we had hoped for to start but the end result was just as good,” he said.
After the team’s trip to Abilene where they went 0-2, Pele said he thought there was not much hope left.
“To really come together and run off the wins we did not only to get into the tourney, but to advance a few games was really special and will not be forgotten,” he said.
Head Coach for the Cru, Ken DeWeese considers the season successful despite its ups and downs.
“I respect each team member greatly, as men and as student-athletes for facing adversity and experiencing triumph,” he said.
The team was able to meet his expectations.
“We lost in the conference (ASC) tournament finals. That was disappointing, but for the guys to put things back together for the NCAA tournament and get to the third round was extremely gratifying,” he said.
DeWeese said shooting was an upset for the team and is something to be worked on for the 2010-11 season.
“We had games that we did not shoot the ball well in, as evidenced by the Sweet 16 loss to Augustana. We need to shoot the ball better as a team, and I am rarely satisfied with our team defense,” he said.
DeWeese believes the players picked up a lot, but will have to work hard again next year.
He said, “We must guard against the feeling of entitlement next year. This past year’s success was hard fought. Next year the fight starts all over again, regardless of what we did.”
Junior business major and guard Sterling Phillips thinks the team could have won it all but is still happy.
“The season was a successful one …. We played hard together, and the results show,” he said.
The team will lose only two seniors, and Phillips is positive about the future.
He said, “Next season—I’ll just say it.—I expect to win a national championship.”