So far, so good: Leatherneck men and women rolling

·2 min read
Western Illinois' Jada Thorpe defends.
Western Illinois' Jada Thorpe defends.

MACOMB — If you have not been paying attention to what has been happening at Western Hall the last month, you should start.

The Western Illinois basketball programs are off to their best starts in recent history as the men are currently 8-2 overall and the women are 7-2.

The combined 15-4 record is one of the best men/women combined records of Division I programs in the country and is tops in the Summit League.

Not only are the teams winning, but they are doing it in impressive fashion, especially at home.

Trenton Massner drives to the basket for Western Illinois.
Trenton Massner drives to the basket for Western Illinois.

Both squads are unbeaten at Western Hall, with both holding 5-0 records in front of the home faithful.

Western has had hot starts in the past on the hardwood, but what makes this recent stretch impressive is who the teams are defeating.

The Leathernecks are not beating up on Division II or NAIA competition but fellow mid-major D-I programs with each also getting a major conference victory.

The WIU women have wins over MAC (Northern Illinois), MVC (Southern Illinois), WAC (Tarleton State, Chicago State), ASUN (Bellarmine) and Big East (Butler) schools.

The men have also feasted on mid-major opposition, holding wins over Big Ten (Nebraska), Horizon League (Northern Kentucky), MAC (Central Michigan, Miami Ohio and Ball State) teams as well as an OVC (UT-Martin) school.

Before the season started, both squads were projected to finish in the middle or bottom of the Summit League pack, but thanks to a strong nonconference showing thus far, the Leathernecks are turning heads in the league and across the country.

In the latest NET rankings (an NCAA ranking tool that values winning percentage, adjusted win percentage, scoring margin, team value and efficiency), the Western men rank No. 90 in the country.

In RPI, Western Illinois ranking 111th in the country, second-best among Summit schools.

In women’s RPI, WIU is 166th, fourth among Summit schools.

While the programs have cleaned up, fans will have to be patient for the next time they see the Leathernecks.

After winning at Central Michigan last Sunday, the Western men are off until December 18, when they host Eastern Illinois in the last nonconference game before Summit play.

The WIU women are on the road Tuesday at SIU-Edwardsville, then close nonconference play at home on Saturday, taking on Greenville.

This article originally appeared on The McDonough County Voice: western illinois hoops

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