Towson Men’s Basketball has High Expectations After Hot Start and High Preseason Rankings.
You know that meme that goes, “I fear no man. But that thing? That thing scares me”? I’ve been grappling with my own real-time version of that meme for several days now.
See, last year was a great year for the Towson men’s basketball team. Expectations were exceeded in spectacular fashion during the regular season, and the team grabbed the top seed in their conference tournament. I had made my decision to truly buy into Pat Skerry as not just a coach of the team, but the coach for the program after showing the ability to develop some high-level consistency. However, I was once again reminded that the life of a DMV sports fan is a life filled with disappointment as soon as they lost in the tournament semis to Delaware.
I make it no secret that I’m a fan of Towson athletics; I am an alum of the school after all. I have no intention of hiding the fact that seeing the Tigers ranked #1 in the preseason pole and having high expectations coming into the season has sparked a level of giddiness that I can’t say I’ve felt since I was a young kid tagging along to UMD games with my dad. I have watched every single game this season that I could gain access to in order to familiarize myself on a deep level with how the team was doing.
Unfortunately, I’m scared of what I found.
The CAA is a conference with razor thin margins. It’s all but guaranteed that the winner of the conference tournament will be the only CAA member making it into the field of 68. That means every game counts, and every performance is a key indicator on how a team will perform when the lights are brightest. So when the Tigers lose to a team that was 0-5 (69-74 against Fairfield) going into their matchup, a giant red flag gets raised. Even before that game, anyone who watched their game against UNC-Greensboro knows that they were lucky to escape with a W. The team may have started the season 9-1, but it wasn’t as clean as the record would look.
I’ll give Pat Skerry credit, he’s taking his team on the road a ton this season, including a big time step-up in class when they played Clemson. Those Tigers may not be at the same level as Duke or Virginia, but the ACC is far better than the CAA. Losing to Clemson was no shock, and they did cover the spread with a final of 75-80 (good teams win, great teams cover), but winning a game like that would have done wonders for my confidence.
Towson was an 8.5 point favorite against Navy in their last game and they fell flat on their faces, losing to the Midshipmen in overtime 69-71. Hand up, I’m beginning to lose my confidence in this team and 2 out of their next 3 games are absolutely terrifying me. They play Northern Iowa, a notoriously stout mid-major program, and College of Charleston in their CAA opener.
Why does CofC scare me? Look at the names they’ve beaten:
– Virginia Tech
– Kent State (Gave a top ranked Houston all it could handle)
– Colorado State
The Cougars have one loss. Who was it to? North Carolina. The Cougars were picked 4th in the conference’s preseason poll. What seed was Delaware when they ousted Towson from last year’s tournament? 4th. I’m not always superstitious…. but I am a little -stitious.
All of this is to say, I love that I have been able to invest so fully in Towson hoops; it feels good to be an alum of a program that has graduated from conference doormat to true contender. But with that feeling comes a feeling of hope. What happens to DMV fans when they allow themselves to hope? Typically they get crushed and disappointed. So I’m excited, but I’m scared.
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