Between research papers, midterm preparation, and everything else that comes with being a college student, it can be hard to stay up to date with all of Utah Valley’s teams. To help you get caught up on everything in the wide world of Wolverine sports we’ll break down three key numbers that help explain why UVU won — or lost. This week we’re recapping the men’s basketball team’s abysmal shooting percentage, the softball team’s batting average and a top-5 ranked wrestler.
Number 1: 30.3
The men’s basketball team has been inconsistent this season in almost every measurable way — except when it comes to their lack of three-point shooting. According to NCAA.com, the Wolverines have shot only 30.3% from long range throughout their 29 games this season, which ranks 310th in the country, and, more importantly, last in the Western Athletic Conference.
When you consider that they’ve lost 11 games by six points or fewer and have an average scoring margin of -0.6 points per game, it’s clear that even a marginal increase in perimeter shooting could’ve been the difference of a winning record and the team’s current mark of 11-18. If the Wolverines have any chance to make a run in the WAC tournament next week, they will need to find more open looks for their shooters, specifically junior guard Casdon Jardine shooting 39.2% from three-point range and junior guard Cavit Ege Havsa shooting 37.5%.
The WAC tournament will be played in Las Vegas, Nev. beginning on Thursday, March 12.
Number 2: .311
While the Wolverines perform well in statistical categories across the board, it’s hard to ignore the most fundamental of all softball statistics — batting average. UVU’s impressive batting average of .311 puts them in the 75th percentile of all Division I teams and has helped propel the team to a 10-4 record so far.
The team’s production at the plate seems likely to hold steady given that players throughout the lineup are on a tear. Of those with at least 20 at-bats, five have a batting average over .343 and only one is hitting below .263. Sophomore outfielder Abby Doughty is the best hitter so far, boasting a .405 average through 42 at-bats.
Even if one or two players find themselves in a slump, the depth of the rest of the lineup and bench should be enough to keep the Wolverines on a winning trajectory. Couple that with the team’s 2.99 earned run average and UVU looks like a formidable opponent to face on the mound or in the batter’s box.
The Wolverines play their first home game on Friday, March 13 at 2 p.m. MST against the Utah State Aggies.
Number 3: 4
In the final poll of the regular season, sophomore wrestler Tate Orndorff was ranked fourth in the heavyweight division according to the Rating Percentage Index. Orndorff had by far the best season for UVU, picking up 16 wins while suffering only two losses all year. His only losses came at the hands of Tanner Hall of Arizona State and Trent Hillger of Wisconsin who are ranked third and sixth, respectively.
If Orndorff has a respectable showing in the Big 12 Championships on March 7-8, he should be a shoo-in for one of the conference’s seven automatic qualifying slots in the NCAA Championships on March 19-21. UVU has three other wrestlers who ranked in the RPI’s top-25 for their respective weight classes — seniors Kimball Bastian at 13th and Tanner Orndorff at 21st, and junior Taylor LaMont coming in at 15th.
The NCAA Championships will be held at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., and will be televised on ESPN and ESPNU.
Photo by Hunter Hall
Bridger Beal-Cvetko is a junior at Utah Valley University where he is studying journalism. He has been with The Review since 2019, where he has covered the UVU men’s basketball team and the softball team during his time as Sports Editor. Bridger has also worked as a producer for ESPN 960 AM. Aside from sports, Bridger is an ardent cinephile, and loves reading fantasy and science fiction novels.