Online Exclusive: Basketball squads hit the road to keep season alive

Photo Courtesy of

Joe Franco

It’s already March folks. Basketball is reaching its conclusion on the year, and it’s the time where each squad must keep winning in order to keep their seasons alive.

The men’s and women’s basketball squads of the University of Nebraska at Omaha are both on the road in Sioux Falls, South Dakota in hopes of keeping their basketball seasons alive this year.

The men’s team finished the regular season with an overall winning record of 16-13 and 9-7 in the Summit League. Their record placed them at a three seed in the Summit League Tournament on March 4-7.

With a high seed, the Mavericks will battle No. 6 Fort Wayne on Sunday. Omaha lost to Fort Wayne in both of their regular season games. The team will remember its most recent matchup against the Mastodons. The 14th best team in scoring took Fort Wayne all the way to overtime, only to lose 108-101 in one of their highest scoring games of the season. Head coach Derrin Hansen is well aware of the teams last few meetings.

“The last four games, we’ve lost two at the buzzer and two in overtime, so I think it might our turn maybe on this one,” Hansen said. “But that’s the way our league is and that’s the way our tournament is. There’s no ‘gimme’s’ and everything’s up in the air.

The Mavs are certainly focused on getting some redemption against IPFW, in the only game that really matters. Beating a team twice in one season is tough, but beating them three times is unheard of. With the odds leaning towards Omaha’s favor, the Mavs are just three wins away from reaching the big dance.

That’s the exciting thing, especially for our kids and for us, because we grew up watching [the NCAA] tournament,” Hansen said. “To know that you are three wins away against, besides Fort Wayne, a lot of teams in this tournament that we have beaten this year, [we] are right there.”

The women’s team finished the season with a 15-14 record, going 8-8 in conference play. The team earned a five seed for the tournament and will take on the fourth seed in South Dakota.

Much like the men’s team, the women lost both regular season games against South Dakota. To reiterate, both UNO teams should be considered the favorite because the “third time is a charm,” right?

Both teams are on a recent winning streak ending the regular season. The men’s team won its last three games last month, while the women won four out of its last five.

As both teams face off against their opponents on Sunday, their chances of making the NCAA Tournament will be dictated on whether or not they win the Summit League Tournament. Though it will certainly be an uphill battle for the two squads, fans will be cheering for Omaha to dance its way into the madness that is March.