As I sat in the stands of the Max Ziel Gymnasium last Saturday, watching the Oswego State men’s basketball team defeat Cortland for their first SUNYAC championship since 1965, I couldn’t help but think to myself, why aren’t more people here? Do students not realize how good this basketball team is this year? They are really, really good. More impressive than, dare I say it, the hockey team. This basketball team did not lose a conference game all year and they are now hosting the first two rounds of the Division III NCAA Tournament.
Seriously, go to their first tournament game on Friday. It costs $3, but it is incredibly worth it. The team plays with excitement, ferocity, and most importantly, talent. Lead by senior forward Chad Burridge and junior Hayden Ward, the team won games with both stifling defense and a group of terrific 3-point shooters (Sean Michele leads the nation with a 51.1 percent mark in that category). Fans are also treated to the occasional dunk by Burridge that brings the crowd to their feet.
Now they find themselves with a record of 25-3 and are a part of the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row. Despite this dominance, the gym was nearly silent at times during their past three playoff games, even though they were winning. We need more people at this next game and we want Endicott College (20-8) to feel as unwelcome as possible; we need to treat this like a Plattsburgh hockey game.
Growing up an avid sports fan, I desperately wanted to attend a school with a strong Division I sports program. I did not care about education. But here I am, in my third year at Oswego State, and I have the ability to watch dominance by not only the hockey team, but now the basketball team as well and it is special. Watching the team cut down the net after their win made me realize how lucky I truly am to be at Oswego right now. I felt like I was a part of something special, it gave me chills to watch.
So support your school, soak yourself in tradition, go watch the hockey team play Plattsburgh in the SUNYAC championship on Saturday and go watch the men’s basketball team play Endicott College in the Division III NCAA tournament on Friday. Don’t take these amazing sports milestones for granted as a student. And when you’re at these games: be loud, be proud, GO LAKERS!