Our season is now entering the final stages, with four games to go before the playoffs. The CCIW is one of the top NCAA Division III leagues in the country, with three teams having won a national title (NCC in the mid-1980s, Millikin several years ago, and Illinois Wesleyan last March ). Carthage College was also in the Elite Eight last year, and is atop the standings with a 9-0 record right now.
All that to say that even qualifying for the conference tournament is an accomplishment, because only four of the eight teams earn a bid. Despite finishing dead last at 1-13 in the league a year ago, NCC still has a chance to make it this year, something we've done only one other time since this format was created. We are currently 11-10 overall, and 4-6 in the conference play, and host Illinois Wesleyan on Wednesday. But our last three opponents are teams we beat in the first round, though we are taking nothing for granted right now. Also, if we manage to win two of those games, we'll have a winning record for the first time in eight years. So, it's getting interesting.
It will all boil down to who stays healthy and sharp in the next four games. If we do snag the fourth seed, we'll most likely play Carthage, a team we match up with fairly well. They beat us handily last week, but we did hang with them for most of the game, and in the System anything can happen.
Perhaps we'll continue to play with the efficiency and poise we displayed in our 105-93 win over Elmhurst last Saturday. It would be nice if that game was a harbinger of things to come, but as I constantly remind myself: in the System you can only control the process, not the outcome.
All we have to do is run, shoot, rebound, trap, and play hard. The results will take care of themselves.