The Troy women’s basketball team will face UAB in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament—the first ever postseason game held in Trojan Arena.
After falling to South Alabama in the Sun Belt Conference tournament, the Trojans’ hopes at a NCAA Tournament bid were slim.
But a 22-7 regular-season record was impressive enough to make the NIT.
The Trojans will have a tough time against the Blazers, who had a 24-5 regular-season record.
The Blazers’ resume boasts a 10-2 record on the road and a 12-2 record at home.
In November, the Blazers defeated Oklahoma and narrowly lost to Tennessee, who is in the NCAA Tournament, in overtime.
Despite the stiff competition, I think the Trojans will be fine and can go up against anybody.
The Trojans proved it in December when they went on the road and beat Ole Miss, an SEC team, by double digits.
A month later, the team came home and knocked off Little Rock, who would end up winning the Sun Belt Conference tournament.
The team lost Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year Sky’Lynn Holmes for the season due to injury, but the team still has depth and talent all over.
The Trojans have just about everything you would want in a postseason contender: three-point shooting, excellent rebounding and sheer grit to force turnovers and play great defense.
The team though has its work cut out for them in its side of the bracket.
If they defeat the Blazers, they’ll likely face the Arkansas Razorbacks.
Arkansas, despite being the 10th seed in the SEC Tournament, took down powerhouse South Carolina on its way to the SEC tournament championship.
The Razorbacks lost to Mississippi State, which earned a No. 1 seed in this year’s NCAA Tournament.
But Arkansas proved it will be a force to be reckoned with.
A SEC schedule is enough for any team to be battle-tested.
But the Sun Belt is no slouch either.
Seven of the Sun Belt’s 12 teams finished with a winning record, and 10 teams are playing in a postseason tournament.
If the Trojans get to the third round, they could face a rematch with Sun Belt Conference co-champions Texas-Arlington.
The Mavericks beat the Trojans 88-65 in March in the teams’ only meeting of the season.
The Trojans will benefit from playing the first round at home.
The sky is the limit for this team, but the NIT will be no cakewalk.
Whether it’s a first-round exit or a championship, this team should be proud of what it has done this season.
But I suspect the Trojans can make it at least to the third round in a rematch with a familiar foe in UT-Arlington if the Mavericks, too, make it that far.
A championship may be far down the road, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility for this squad.