Wright State has Horizon League title in sight

Wright State has a rare morning tip-off Friday with its game against IUPUI scheduled for 11 as part of the host school’s “Readers are Leaders” program that will fill approximately 3,000 of the seats at Indiana Farmers Coliseum with third graders.

But while it may be a little different to have fans and an opponent around, hitting the gym in the morning is something that has been commonplace for the Raiders, who practice at 10 a.m. on Tuesdays, Thursday and Fridays, and 8:30 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays due to a late morning class junior guard Mark Hughes attends.

“It’s different in terms of when we have to get up and prepare for the game, but it’s really not,” coach Scott Nagy said. “Our guys are up early and in here practicing. I think for us it will be less of an adjustment than it probably will for them.”

›› Looking at Wright State’s possible path to a championship

And with Wright State sitting just two victories – or maybe one – away from winning a Horizon League championship, Nagy expects the Raiders to be ready to go whenever and wherever the schedule says.

“When you’re in the position we’re in, if you can’t be excited about that then you probably don’t belong here,” he said. “Our guys should be very excited about what’s going on.”

Wright State (21-8 overall 13-3) HL enters the weekend tied for first with Northern Kentucky and one game ahead of UIC, whom the Raiders will close the regular season against in a 6 p.m. road game Sunday.

›› WSU vs. IUPUI: Everything you need to know about Friday’s game

If WSU goes 2-0 this weekend, it wins the regular season title and No. 1 seed in the conference tournament for the first time in 11 years.

If the Raiders beat IUPUI, and UIC defeats NKU later Friday evening, WSU clinches and renders Sunday’s game inconsequential.

“We don’t have to count on other people,” Nagy said. “That’s what we’ve worked for all year.”

Follow Jay Morrison on Twitter

The Raiders are coming off a four-game homestand in which they went 3-1, with the biggest win being a 69-67 triumph of NKU that not only moved WSU back into a tie for first but completed a season sweep for the tiebreaker that has the team in control of its own destiny.

But Nagy said he still saw plenty of warts during the homestand, with slow starts being the most glaring. The Raiders trailed at halftime in three of the games and needed a late 7-0 run to slip in front of NKU for a 32-30 lead at the break.

Wright State is 15-0 when it leads at halftime, including a 60-52 triumph of IUPUI on Dec. 30 when the Raiders allowed a season-low 19 first-half points.

›› 5 things to know about WSU’s comeback win vs. Cleveland State

“Even though we went 3-1 on the home stretch, we didn’t play great,” Nagy said. “There’s several games where we really had to struggle in the second half to win those games. We didn’t play hard when the game started. We played hard when we needed to.

“We have to get out of that rut,” he continued. “We have to play hard right away if we’re going to win on the road.”

The issue of the slow starts late and the early start Friday could make for a malodorous mix.

But Nagy said it’s something the players need to take care of, which is why he didn’t intend to introduce any new variables such as an earlier call for lights out Thursday night at the hotel.

›› Love honored by Horizon League again

“I don’t have curfews,” he said. ” I try to trust our guys that they care enough about their teammates that they go to bed when they’re supposed to go to bed. To make them do things that are out of the ordinary doesn’t necessarily help. In other words, if you make a kid go to bed at 10 o’clock and and he’s not used to going to bed at 10 o’clock, he’s not going to go to sleep.

“Everybody knows (what’s at stake),” he continued. “There are things that just don’t need to be talked about. Again, if you can’t get yourself ready to play and be ready to play hard, then there’s a problem. I expect our guys will be ready.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Sports

Cincinnati Bengals off to strong start, but injuries piling up
Cincinnati Bengals off to strong start, but injuries piling up

The Cincinnati Bengals are off to about as good of a start as they could hope for in terms of the results, but the same cannot be said for the health of the team. Cincinnati (2-0) travels to face the Carolina Panthers (1-1) on Sunday and will be using some backups at key positions in an offense that has been rolling through the first two games. »...
Week 4 area high school football passing leaders
Week 4 area high school football passing leaders

The following are area high school football passing leaders through Week 4. Southwest Ohio Conference: Connor Kinnett, jr., Harrison, 57 of 100 passing (57.0 percent), 1,040 yards, 10 TDs, 1 INT. Midwest Athletic Conference: Jake Hemmelgarn, jr., Coldwater, 77 of 102 passing (75.5 percent), 990 yards, 14 TDs, 4 INTs. Central Buckeye Conference: Chris...
Ryan Day to receive hefty one-time payment for serving as interim Ohio State football coach
Ryan Day to receive hefty one-time payment for serving as interim Ohio State football coach

How much is navigating a top five team through preseason and to a 3-0 start worth?  Nearly half a million dollars.  According to a letter released by the university Wednesday, Ohio State offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Ryan Day will be paid $487,000 for serving as interim head coach in Urban Meyer’s absence.  »...
Bengals first-round pick out at least two weeks with foot injury
Bengals first-round pick out at least two weeks with foot injury

Cincinnati Bengals rookie center Billy Price is out at least two weeks with a foot injury. Price said his injury, which occurred during Thursday’s win against Baltimore, was just diagnosed Wednesday morning and he is required to wear a boot full-time but he does not need surgery. He did not disclose what exactly the injury is except that it is...
Ohio State football: How much did suspension cost Urban Meyer?
Ohio State football: How much did suspension cost Urban Meyer?

Urban Meyer returns to full coaching duties at Ohio State this week lighter in the wallet.  The football coach’s six-week, three-game suspension cost him $570,507.68 according to a document provided by the university in response to a public records request by this news organization. The sum reflects a reduction in his base salary as...
More Stories