Wednesday, February 2, 2011

M-Basketball: Finally at Home

Good afternoon! After spending much of our OUA East schedule on the road to this point we are all thrilled to be entering into our final five games of the regular season at home in the friendly confines of the ARC gym. Our performance in the East portion of the schedule has unfortunately continued to be inconsistent. We have had our high points with some close losses (York by 3, Ottawa by 8, and Carleton by 13) and a very solid win at U of T. However, those high points have been matched by poor performance in 3 of our last 4 games on the road. Those poor performances have resulted in lop sides losses which at times can leave me scratching my head and searching for answers. The easy excuses (some of which are certainly valid) are that we are very young and lack scoring depth across the line-up, however, the reality for me is that in two of those 3 losses we did not come mentally prepared to play with our competitors. This is something that I as the coach certainly must take responsibility for and also the players are being asked to look at how they are mentally approaching games so as to be better prepared to compete every single night.

We currently find ourselves stuck in 7th place, sitting one position out of a playoff spot. Our goal as a team for this year was to earn a playoff spot, however, in order to do so we will have to play near flawless basketball and will need a bit of help from our competitors. In all liklihood we will need to win 4 or perhaps all 5 of our final games while also hoping that Laurentian is not successful in their final contests. Any combination of 3 (made up of our losses and their wins) will eliminate us from consideration.

Despite knowing this reality we are certainly trying to maintain a "one game at a time" attitude for our players and for ourselves as coaches. I honestly believe that if we play close to our potential we can win enough games to force our competition to have to keep their spot. It will take a grand effort by every single member of our program, but that is exactly what we plan to do. This group has fought hard all year through a great deal of change and at times adversity and through it all they have been great teammates to one another. In the last two weeks some small cracks have appeared as we have several players playing a ridiculous number of minutes each night and also many true freshman that are beginning to mentally and physically feel the toll of such a long and demanding season. However, at this point we need to continue to push the limit and be as prepared to win as we possibly can. I can promise you all that we will represent ourselves well for the remaining 5 games regardless of the outcome.

We kick off our final home stand this Friday against the U of T Varsity Blues at 8 PM and follow on Saturday versus the Ryerson Rams also at 8 PM. Saturday night is of particular importance as we will be hosting our 2nd Annual Marco W. Alessio Memorial Game and will be welcoming back a large number of Mark's former teammates to celebrate his life and memory.

I know our home schedule has made it difficult to start much of a buzz this year, however, we have 5 in row to finish and we certainly need your support. We hope to see and hear lots of Queen's fans in the stands this weekend.

Duncan Cowan

Go Gaels Go!