Wright State coach Billy Donlon sometimes picks movies from his era to play for the Raiders on long bus trips.
Recently, guard Kendall Griffin said the team watched “Roadhouse,” the Patrick Swayze movie about a bouncer who cleans up a rowdy bar. It came out in 1989, a couple of years before any of the current players were born.
If Donlon wants to show off all his favorite movies in the next week, he’ll have time. The Raiders leave Friday for a tour of the Horizon League with three road games in five days, beginning Saturday at Valparaiso, continuing Monday at Detroit and ending Wednesday at Youngstown State. If that’s not enough, three days later, they host Illinois-Chicago.
Donlon is not happy his first-place team faces such a tough stretch. He said the league’s explanation was the Nutter Center’s availability forced it to come up with this schedule. The schedule was put together after Butler left the league in the spring.
“We’re going to play four games in seven days, and there’s no excuse for that to be the case,” Donlon said. “It’s not excuse making. I understand the job. I understand what we’re supposed to do and what our responsibilities are in terms of winning and losing and being competitive at the same time.
“During the NBA shortened season, if you played three games in five days on the road, you lost the third game 90 percent of the time, no matter if you were the Miami Heat playing the worst team in the NBA. Don’t tell me about the Nutter Center availability. We played Loyola on Friday. We could have played somebody on Wednesday and spread it out a little more.”
Donlon suspects Wright State got the tough schedule because no one expected the Raiders to be any good this year. Now they’re 13-4 and alone in first place at 4-0.
“I think everyone around the room said, ‘Well, where’s Wright State supposed to be this year?’” Donlon said. “It’s ironic that the one team that didn’t play four games in eight days to start the season was (preseason favorite) Valpo.”
Donlon wanted to make a statement on the schedule before the road trip because he knew it would look like sour grapes if the Raiders have a tough time and then he complained at the end.
“I’ve always been a Boy Scout when it comes to things that go on, but with this one I’m disappointed,” he said. “I rarely make a public statement like this. But I do think when the league screws up as badly as they have in this situation, they need to be called out on the carpet, and they probably don’t care I feel this way.”
Donlon doesn’t plan to talk about the situation with his team.
“Our guys don’t read the papers, so I don’t mind saying it,” he said. “With the players, our job is to win games. We’re not talking about, ‘Hey, we have it so hard.’ With our guys, there’s an expectation to perform and produce.”
Women’s basketball: The Raiders fell to 7-9 and 1-2 in the Horizon League with an 86-76 loss to Detroit on Wednesday at the Nutter Center. Kim Demmings led the Raiders with 18 points.
Heading into Saturday’s game at Loyola, Wright State is in seventh place in the conference. Demmings ranks fourth in the league with 19.8 points per game.