When someone mentions a doubleheader, typically they are talking about baseball.
Well, McGuirk Arena will be hosting a doubleheader of its own Saturday when both the men’s and women’s basketball teams will host a pair of Mid-American Conference games.
The women will tip-off at 2 p.m. against Northern Illinois, as it tries to start the MAC season 4-0, while the men are looking to get above .500 overall and get back to .500 in MAC play when it hosts Ball State.
“Two good MAC West rivalries is going to be fun to watch,” said women’s head coach Sue Guevara. “We both play an exciting brand of basketball and it’s going to be exciting.”
The men’s team has been promoting its brand all season, doing various things around campus, e-mailing students and holding student section learning sessions.
So, with the women’s game right before, the team is hoping to capitalize off the men’s growing fanbase.
“If some of the fans decided to make a day out of it, coming to both, I think our programs would love that,” said men’s head coach Keno Davis. “I would love for any support we get, each and every day.”
The women haven’t had the best attendance, despite its winning ways, but what fans do show up are loud. The men’s team has had great attendance, compared to previous seasons, and perhaps a doubleheader will provide both teams with a chance to show what they have to some new faces.
“Our fans have been pretty good for us here,” Guevara said. “And, if you look at how both teams play, I think it’s exciting.”
Both teams run a fast-paced offense but have struggled defensively, giving the expectation for a high-scoring game every time the teams take the court.
Guevara is hoping that her fast-paced offense will intrigue the men’s fans, who might be planning attended both games.
“I’m hoping we can draw some of the men’s fans to our game,” she said. “Hopefully our fans will stay and watch the men.”
Whether or not the doubleheader will bring in more fans for the men is unclear and Davis hasn’t given too much thought on the subject.
“I haven’t really given much thought about both games being on the same day,” he said. “I don’t know if there is a true advantage in having both games on the same day.”
Regardless of the turnout, there is a lot to be excited about in McGuirk Arena these days.
The women’s team played one of the toughest non-conference schedules and are currently on a three-game winning streak to start MAC play, while sophomore guard Crystal Bradford has been playing at another level, averaging 22 points, 11.7 rebounds, five assists and 3.3 steals during the Chippewas three MAC games.
While the men’s team has proven the low preseason expectations wrong. Senior guard Kyle Randall, as well as senior forward Olivier Mbaigoto have stepped up for the mens team. Senior forward Zach Saylor, who has been injured most of the season, has started practicing with the team and will return Saturday.