BY Joseph Siegel
In Feb. 2018, the Sacred Heart University men’s and women’s basketball teams are set to have games nationally televised on ESPN3 and ESPNU.
The men’s team will have two games televised. The first game will be against LIU Brooklyn on Feb. 1, and the second game will be against Central Connecticut State University on Feb. 10. The women’s team will also have two games televised. These games will be against Mount Saint Mary’s on Feb. 12, and Robert Morris on Feb. 19.
The men’s Northeast Conference (NEC), broke its previous record with a recording of 22 televised games. The women’s NEC will also break their previous NEC record by recording 12 games for the upcoming season.
“The television network works closely with the NEC. Coaches and staff from each team meet with the League Office. The League Office then decides the best matchups to create an intriguing game,” said men’s basketball head coach Anthony Latina.
The men’s basketball team has earned national airtime with their past performances. The team ranked fourth in the NEC, with 2,326 points last season. Although they had finished 8-10 in conference play last year, it can be argued that Sacred Heart will provide good ratings due to their high scoring offense.
“The League thinks we’ll be really good this season. Normally, we score a ton of points, as have been known to do so. The same goes for our opponents LIU Brooklyn, and Central Connecticut State,” said Latina. “We’re a veteran team. Since we have these men, we have high expectations, and we want to achieve success early on. Our goal is to be a contender in our conference.”
The excitement is continually building up for the anticipation of these games. The team is trying to be a contender in the NEC Tournament for its third consecutive season.
“The goals for this season are to have a 20-win season, make the playoffs, win the NEC, and compete in March Madness,” said guard Sean Hoehn. “We’re excited to play these games on national television, but we are not solely motivated on the aspect of being televised. We approach every game the same, [in that] we just want to win and keep building as a team.”
The outlook on the televised games for the women’s team is relatively similar to that of the men’s team.
“The NEC does a great job of letting us play on a national stage and it’s definitely an exciting time,” said head coach Jessica Mannetti. “The NEC picks the best conference rivalries for the games. We’re motivated to be in this situation, but at the same time these are games that we need to win.”
Having some games nationally televised isn’t what motivates the women’s basketball team. They are more focused on playing their conference foes.
“Conference games play a huge part into our success. We are prepared to beat our opponent no matter what the situation holds,” said Mannetti. “All of our conference games are suitable and very wide open.”
The team is trying to be as successful as last year or more so. After reaching the NEC Semifinal last year, the expectations are even higher for this year. Coming off of a tough loss in finishing last season against St. John’s in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament, the team is ready to get their season started on a positive note.
“We expect to win; we’re a young team and we want to grow further. Between now and February, we would like to have built more chemistry as a team,” said senior guard Tykera Carter. “A game is a game, and we’re going to be ready for it, televised or not.”