UMHB basketball: second in the nation
Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was previously published in print on the Opinions page. Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the university.
As the first unranked team in Division III to make it to the NCAA National Championship, UMHB has a lot to be proud of.
Whether on the court in Atlanta, April 7 or watching from Belton, Cru pride roared across the nation as the men’s basketball team fought for the national title.
Though the football team usually makes playoffs and receives the limelight, this time the light shone on the court rather than the field for the first time in the history of the school.
It may have surprised people because the team lost several key players from last year and expected this to be a rebuilding season. Instead, they reloaded and astonished everyone by being the first UMHB men’s basketball team to make it all the way.
Some students flew out of Austin at 6:30 a.m. April 7 and made their way to the stadium in time for the 11:30 a.m. game.
Others rode 17 hours on the fan bus, alternating between sleeping and enjoying time with friends during an unforgettable journey.
Still more poured through the doors of Grand Avenue Theatre for a free showing of the NCAA main attraction.
Fans, students and faculty could not be more grateful to the local movie theater for opening up four theaters for fans who couldn’t make it to Atlanta. The big screen and atmosphere made viewers feel as if they were courtside, cheering on the Cru.
Because the game also aired on CBS Sports, seeing Crusader fans and players on television brought excitement to people watching all over the country.
Even though Amherst came out on top, students called it the best basketball game ever, and did not regret the tiring trip to Georgia. In fact, fans arrived home 30 minutes before Monday morning classes.
For seniors, the once-in-a-lifetime experience brought even more pride. Though a national title would have been a fantastic goodbye, second in the nation remains something students will remember and relate to their own children.
Not only did it generate school pride, but the men’s success will mean great things for the university.
A private Baptist university with a dynamic sports department stands out to prospective students.
Not only does the South now know about the Cru, but the whole nation knows who UMHB is. The exposure the university gained will be interesting to handle.
Maybe people will even stop confusing the school with Baylor University. The rise to fame will probably bring in more students in the future, especially athletes who dream of being on a successful team.
The publicity will be great motivation for the team to give it their all next season.
Now that they’ve made it to the championship, why would they want to accomplish anything less than that next year?
The Cru basketball’s success is a testament to the excellence found in every aspect of the university.
A combination of veteran players, resilient freshmen, top-notch coaching and passionate fans add up to success, math major or not.
UMHB truly has the whole package–an infectious school pride, a high academic standard and great athletics. Congratulations to the Crusader men on a historic season.