Opening nights are always exciting affairs. The HU men's basketball team had a couple of dry runs prior to tonight's regular season opener against Northwestern at Hutton Arena. They went 1-1 in exhibition games, losing a freewheeling 98-95 decision to Lakehead and then rebounding with a barrage of 3-pointers (16 in all) and some tough defense in a 87-63 over Division II foe Minnesota, Crookston.
So, head coach Nelson Whitmore has had a chance to assess his team in game situations. He knows they will have to bring their 'A' game in the opener against an Eagle team that is the preseason pick to return to the NCAA tournament as the camps of the UMAC. Among the Eagles' 21 overall wins: a 62-61 win over the Pipers.
But it's a fresh start and the Pipers are hoping to prove the conference coaches wrong who have picked them to finish in sixth place this season. (The coaches' poll and MIAC preview can be found here.)
The coaches' skepticism is somewhat understandable.