Postseason hopes are bright for men’s b-ball after strong start to the season

Reading Time: 3 minutes The Wolverines have excelled so far in the 2022-23 season campaign, defeating teams like Oregon and starting conference play 7-1.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Utah Valley University men’s basketball team (16-5, 7-1 Western Athletic Conference) has had an outstanding season this year, going 9-4 in non-conference play and 7-1 in conference play.

The Wolverines currently sit in second place in the WAC standings, only second to the University of Seattle Redhawks (16-4, 7-0), and are 9-1 in their last 10 games. 

“The season for the Wolverines so far has been one that has exceeded expectations,” said Brice Larson, host of the UVU Coaches Show with Wolverine Head Coach Mark Madsen and host of the pre, half, and post-game coverage of the UVU basketball games on ESPN 960 AM radio.

“Despite a few early non-conference letdowns, Mark Madsen’s squad has been able to take Wake Forest into overtime, beat cross-town rival BYU for the second year in a row, and get a win over a P5 opponent on the road at Oregon,” Larsen said. “They currently have just one loss to the only unbeaten team in the conference, Seattle U, but they will have the opportunity to avenge that loss on the road in February.”

As for how the season may finish with the Wolverines having 10 games left in the regular season, Larson has his predictions.

“This is going to be an exciting finish to the season. At the time of writing, UVU currently sits atop the WAC resume seeding system by a very slim margin. Due to the way the algorithm that is used to decide the seeds for the conference tournament heavily favoring road wins, UVU will have many upcoming opportunities to pull away from the rest of the pack and secure the number one seed heading into WAC Vegas in March, but once the tournament begins, all bets are off.”

Given how well they’ve played this season, the Wolverines’ NCAA Tournament hopes are very much in play. 

“Mark Madsen’s 2022-23 squad has a legitimate shot at making the school’s first-ever NCAA Tournament this season,” said Larson. “This is by far Madsen’s most all-around talented team that he has been able to put together in his tenure as head coach, but the only way they can punch a ticket to the dance is to win the conference tournament in March,” said Larson.

Larson also states that there are three teams currently in contention for the top seed in the conference tournament. Those three teams are Seattle, Sam Houston, and UVU. He says that each team has an opportunity to either take the top seed or find find themself as far down as fifth place come March. 

Larson says that there should more clarity on who will be the top seed in Vegas after some key matchups that will take place in the remainder of conference play, but he believes that it will be either of these three teams.

However, to help get the Wolverines to the NCAA Tournament, they need the support of the students and fans.

“The more support the Wolverines get the better they will do this season,” said Larson. “The Den has set up multiple ways for students to get to games that are on the road for little to no cost like the bus ride they put together for the in-state battle with SUU. They will have another student package that will help students with transportation down to Las Vegas for the WAC tournament in March so make sure to sign up and enjoy your spring break in Sin City!”
The Wolverines will next play in-state rival and WAC third-place team the University of Southern Utah Thunderbirds (14-7, 6-2) in a pivotal matchup on Thursday, Jan. 26, at the America First Event Center in Cedar City, Utah. The Wolverines will then return home to the UCCU Center in Orem, Utah for their rivalry game against the New Mexico State Aggies (7-13, 0-8) on Saturday, Jan. 28.