It has been over seven months since the Wildcats made history on the court, winning the men and women’s basketball Southland Conference championship.
Since then, the men’s team made its first appearance in the NCAA tournament. ACU faced the Kentucky Wildcats in Jacksonville, falling 79-44.
Head Coach Joe Golding says they are still trying to put the pieces together for this season after losing three seniors from last year. He also jokingly asked for advice on the matter.
“We are still figuring that out, so if you have any suggestions, let us know,” Golding said. “But we do have a lot of guys back, and I really like this team. I’ve had a blast coaching them so far.”
Last season, the men’s team finished with a 27-7 record, the best in Div. I program history.
The Southland Conference preseason poll projected the men to finish third in the conference. Golding said that he typically does not pay too much attention to the preseason polls.
“I’ve never given any thought honestly of preseason,” Golding said. “I don’t even really look at it, and it doesn’t really mean anything. It’s all about where you finish.”
With a few new players this season and new roles to fill, Golding has enjoyed seeing the team’s effort thus far.
“This team so far has been very consist on playing really hard,” Golding said. “This may be the hardest playing team we’ve had at this point in the season than any team we’ve had here.”
While the men look to rebuild a championship squad this season, the women have very few pieces changed from last year.
Sara Williamson was the only senior on the women’s squad from last year. The rest of the team is back to defend its conference title.
Last season the women started the year 6-0. Head Coach Julie Goodenough says that experience is the key to replicating that this season.
“We have so many players on our team that have a lot of experience, so we expect them to just hit the ground running from the very beginning,” Goodenough said. “We have two games next week, both at home. And we expect to see some great leadership from our seniors especially.”
While winning the conference championship is the set goal for both the men and women, Goodenough said they should focus on the task at hand and not stuck in past success.
“We really as a program do a good job at taking each game just one game at a time and not looking beyond that. We’ve been able to talk about last year enough, it’s time to talk about this year.”
The men and women start their respective seasons Tuesday with a double-header. The women battle it out with McMurry at 5:30 p.m. Following the conclusion to that game, the men face Arlington Baptist. Both games will be available to stream on ESPN+.