Playground Notes: Toppers have chance for titles

Danny Schoenbaechler

Does the regular season even matter?

Or is it just practice. Western’s men’s and women’s basketball teams have taken different roads to the Sun Belt Conference Tournament this year, but the result may be the same.

Dennis Felton ran off three-straight Sun Belt regular season and tournament championships. What he failed to do was win an NCAA Tournament game.

Darrin Horn can match his predecessor by winning this tournament, he can top him by winning a single NCAA Tournament game.

It has been a rough year, but if these Hilltoppers can win this week’s tournament, they stand the best chance of winning an NCAA game of any of the past three Western teams.

Why? Because Nigel Dixon can produce just as much inside as Chris Marcus used to, Mike Wells is consistent on offense and unbeatable on defense, and Antonio Haynes seems to provide a never ending spark.

This may not be the majority opinion, but this team’s problem has been consistency. What is on Western’s side is that four wins is all it needs to reach heights nobody on this team has seen.

On the ladies side, the early season struggles seem so far away, because they have found their Tiffany Porter-Talbert-induced winning ways.

The sophomore guard has been as unstoppable as any player in the Sun Belt the past five weeks and she could carry her team back into the Big Dance.

The environment during last year’s Sun Belt Tournament was electric, and a similar student turnout could help provide Wells a fourth chance at winning in the NCAA tourney.

These two teams have the potential to make NCAA noise, and winning three home games this week is all that is in their way.

Sounds easy doesn’t it?

Danny Schoenbaechler is the sports columnist and sports editor for the Herald. He can be reached at [email protected].