Raiders ready for biggest challenge of the year
Friday’s contest in the Nutter Center will be unlike the previous nine home contests for Wright State.
Though it is the same court the Raiders are 9-0 on, the stage will seem much larger.
ESPN is in town and so too is the top team in the Horizon League. Green Bay comes into Friday’s game unbeaten in league play. The Phoenix were picked by league officials to win the Horizon League in October.
The Raiders were expected to be their biggest challenge this year. WSU was picked as the league’s No. 2 team.
Early in the season, the Raiders looked nothing like a team challenging for a league title. But things have been different in recent weeks.
After a 5-7 start, WSU has won six of its last seven and stands as the No. 2 team in the conference.
But Green Bay has also played well of late, winning its last eight.
It is safe to say Friday’s contest will have implications for March.
A win over the Phoenix would be a nice boost for the Raiders before they start a stretch of four out of five on the road.
Green Bay has arguably the top player in the league in Keifer Sykes. Sykes is the 21st top scorer in the nation averaging 20.5 per game. The 5-foot-11 guard is the reigning Horizon League Player of the Week.
“Green Bay is playing as good as anybody in our league,” Wright State head coach Billy Donlon said. “They’re experienced, Keifer Sykes is tremendous. We’ll have our hands full that way. But it is our job to defend our home court.”
Green Bay has done well in the spotlight this year. The Phoenix topped Virginia who is rated in the RPI top 25. Green Bay nearly gave Wisconsin its only loss of the year as the Phoenix held a seven-point lead in the second half of their contest versus the Badgers.
But the Raiders will have the advantage of playing in the Nutter Center. The Athletics Department is expecting a large crowd for Friday’s nationally televised contest.
“We have opportunities to play on national television and put the university out there,” Donlon said. “That is important.”