Regardless of ACU basketballs’ record of 3-8, this team and program are headed in the right direction. The transition to Div. I is a difficult jump, but sunny days are ahead.
It was a tough first month of basketball, playing every game on the road and against top schools such as Maryland, Iowa and Xavier. The exposure on a national stage far outweighs the final score of the games in the long run.
Jared Mosley, ACU athletics director said, “It has been great from a visibility stand point. We couldn’t have generated that kind of interest or just the exposure for ACU. With the fact that two of those games were nationally televised, it was amazing just from the people I knew, the text messages I was getting, people fired up to see ACU on TV.”
Mosley was an ACU basketball player when he attended the university. He would have loved the opportunity, even if out-manned, to play those top teams and big venues.
Getting exposure helps in terms of recruiting and getting more money for the program, but it came with the cost of big double-digit losses.
“There’s money and exposure for sure,” said Mosley. “But even more importantly, I think it is the experience those young men are going to walk away with that will be priceless.”
The success of the ACU basketball program needs the help of its student body. Coach Joe Golding said he noticed during the road-stretch how much of a difference it makes to have a great student-body crowd, and knows it is his job to put an exciting product on the floor.
“I hope we can generate more students at our game. Playing in the month of November, we got to play in great venues with a great student-body crowd. It makes a huge difference in a home-court advantage,” Golding said. “We have to do our part by putting a exciting product on the floor, but the students of ACU have to do their part in making Moody a tough place to play.”
I wonder how loud we could get in Moody Coliseum if we packed that thing out as a student body? Not only could it help in the grounds of recruiting but it could change the outcome of some games.
Parker Wentz, sophomore point guard, noticed the difference in playing in front of our home crowd.
“It felt good to be back in Abilene, playing in front of our fans. It helps us play better, gives us confidence that we might not have on the road,” Wentz said.
The day ACU comes out of the transitional phase and is post-season eligible, coach Golding wants this team competing for Southland Conference Championships. He said he believes the team is on the right track.
“The best teams in the league have the best student-body support. That is one reason they are at the top,” Golding said. “We are going to get there and what a great day it will be one day when ACU is playing in March.”
The idea of March Madness at ACU should be enough to get us excited and pack out Moody a new tradition.