Saturday, December 11, 2010

Another Holiday in the Trenches

We've been alluding to it over the past couple of days - this afternoon's game against BU is about as important as an out-of-conference game can be. Why, you ask?

The overriding goal for any team heading into the season? Win the national championship. That goal is only within reach for a select few teams, usually, but if you don't at least want to win it all, why even bother suiting up? To be in a position to achieve that goal, a team can do one of two things - win its conference's automatic bye by winning the conference tournament in March, or be in a position to be awarded one of 11 at-large bids.

The first route is dicey and fraught with pitfalls. Any team can come out flat, have a bad night, and be knocked out of a single-elimination tournament. The second path, however, has a fairly definable path, and it involves playing well throughout the season. There are two important elements to it - playing well inside the conference, and playing well outside the conference. Few teams will be able to vie for an at-large bit without both.

The conference schedule doesn't change from year to year, but the non-conference schedule absolutely does. And when you get a chance to play a highly ranked team, you need to grab the bull by the horns and go for the win.

We're rapidly approaching mid-December, and the Engineers are ranked 14th in KRACH and 12th in the more important PairWise Rankings. Right now, this means relatively nothing - but it does mean the Tute is in position to be fighting for an at-large bid in the New Year. If they want to stay that way, they need to be winning the big games - and this afternoon is a big game.

Since we're in the midst of the holidays, here's a little holiday pumpup for you. I've always found something somewhat sinister about "Carol of the Bells" anyway, but when Trans-Siberian Orchestra combined it with "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" and added rock with a metal flair, it really turned into an anthem for anyone ready to do battle during the holidays. Enjoy.

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