An appropriate Christmas gift for the St. Catharine College basketball programs would have been a credit card for gasoline purchases. Both Patriot teams could put that to good use as they open the new year with three consecutive Mid-South Conference road games.
Play begins Thursday with the Patriots visiting UVA-Wise. They follow that with Saturday’s game at Pikeville and continue their road trip January 14th at Campbellsville. The first home game of the new year is January 19th against Cumberlands.
Lena Bramblett’s St. Catharine women resume play with a 13-3 record but with an 0-3 conference slate. Not that any road game in the Mid-South is easy, but the Patriots will get a scheduling break in that both upcoming opponents carry conference records of 0-4.
UVA-Wise is 2-10 overall and Pikeville is 4-11. But that is not the norm for the Mid-South Conference as six of the seven other teams are listed in the most recent NAIA national poll. Shawnee State is ranked sixth, Campbellsville is 12th and Cumberlands is 14th. Georgetown is 20th, Lindsey Wilson 22nd and the Patriots are in the “receiving votes” category.
The upcoming road schedule is not quite as favorable for the St. Catharine men’s team. J.T. Burton’s squad will face two teams with losing conference records in UVA-Wise
(1-3) and Pikeville (1-3). But Pikeville carries an overall record of 9-5 and is the defending NAIA national champion.
Just as the women, the Mid-South Conference men are well represented in the NAIA poll with five teams in the poll. Georgetown is ranked sixth, and Cumberlands is 12th. Campbellsville is 25th while Shawnee State and Pikeville received votes for the top 25. St. Catharine will take a 6-5 overall record and a 2-1 conference slate into Thursday’s game.
The Patriots will receive a boost in the season’s second half as Travis Wilkins will gain eligibility after sitting out the first semester. The 6-8 junior from Spartanburg, South Carolina, a solid post player, will provide depth to the St. Catharine inside game.