Muhlenberg men’s basketball looks to keep their Centennial Conference playoff spot

After a dominant win over Washington College on “Senior Day,” the men’s basketball team seeks to cap off the final stretch of their season strongly.

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If the Muhlenberg men’s basketball regular season wrapped up today, their in-conference record of 6-6 would set them up to make the Centennial Conference (CC) playoffs as the fifth seed. 

With all six games left on the schedule being in-conference games, the team must finish strong down the stretch to be one of the top six teams in the standings and make the postseason. The two schools that could knock the Mules out of playoff contention, Dickinson College and Ursinus College, both currently have an in-conference record of 5-7. It’s probable that, depending on how the final six games of the season go for these three teams, two of them will finish as the fifth and sixth seeds in the standings, and one team will miss the CC playoffs.

While it hasn’t been nearly as good of a season as the team had last year, if they win the majority of their final games, they’ll likely be in a similar position as they were last year come playoff time.

In the 2022-2023 season, the Mules finished with an overall record of 18-9 and were the third seed in the CC playoffs. In the first round, they hosted a playoff game versus Ursinus College which they won by 21 points. The Mules then ended up losing against Johns Hopkins University in the semi-finals. It’s unlikely this season that the team will be able to snag the three or four seed in the standings and gain home-court advantage for the first round, however, making the playoffs is still feasible for them. 

“We know our team has so much skill and can truly play with any team when we do the little things throughout the game,” said Drew Greene ‘26. “This includes communicating, boxing out and finishing possessions with rebounds, getting 50/50 balls, not turning the ball over, and making simple plays. All of these actions are things we can control in a game because they really have nothing to do with skill and more with effort and focus. A lot of little things are mental but these are things that can win you a game. So overall, if we lock in on those little details we will give ourselves a great chance to make the playoffs.”

The team lost six seniors from their team last year, including All-American Point Guard Dan Gaines ‘23, so coming into this season they knew that if they wanted to be successful they were going to need the underclassmen to step up and play big roles. 

“Coming into this season I knew I was going to have an opportunity to prove myself and show what I can do to help our team succeed,” continued Greene. “I knew I had to come in ready to go and take the next step of being a playmaking guard for the team. Watching [Daniel] Gaines ‘23 and [Giovanni] Rubino ‘24 as a freshman was a huge learning experience for me and taught me a lot about how to be a composed, tough guard in our conference. There are many good guards in the CC but to be able to be in the presence, both on and off the court, of those older guys benefited me in a way that made me not just a better basketball player but a better person overall.”

Along with Greene, Michael Feroci ‘27 and Peter Stanton-Shepard ‘27 have also had large roles in each of their first seasons. With injuries to Luke Gordos ‘25, who missed a handful of games, and Nate Hoffman ‘26, who is now out for the season, it’s been essential for the team that some of the first-years stepped up in bigger roles. 

“The young guys have been great in helping us reach our goal of winning the conference. Feroci brings a certain kind of toughness and physicality that nobody else on the team has. He plays harder than anyone on the court and does all the little things needed to win. Stanton-Shepard has really embraced the starting role nicely. He’s a three-level scorer and does whatever the team needs him to do, whether that’s scoring, rebounding or blocking shots for us. He’s a very unselfish teammate,” commented Brandon Goldberg ‘24.

The Mules comfortably beat Washington College this past Saturday, winning 90-61 in their largest win of the season. In the game, which was Goldberg and Rubino’s “Senior Day,” both of them scored 20-plus points. The team also reached a total of at least 90 points in a regulation CC home game for the first time in a decade. 

This week, the team will go up against two schools that will likely finish ahead of them in the standings. After their battle against Swarthmore on Jan. 31, the team will travel to Lancaster, Pa. on Saturday, Feb. 3, to take on Franklin & Marshall College. Muhlenberg lost to both schools in their first matchups against them this season, so hopefully this week they can turn it around and beat two teams they may play in the postseason if they’re able to keep their current spot in the standings.

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