The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

January 3, 2013

BLOG: Big weekend for Pitt State hoops

By Ryan Atkinson
Globe Sports Writer

— Yes, they're just 10 games into the season and, yes, they've played a mere two conference contests.

But this three-day stretch has the possibility to be huge for the Pittsburg State Gorillas.

Pitt State is 9-1 and is coming off a strong two-wins-in-two-nights showing in Las Vegas last month. The Gorillas open the 2013 portion of their schedule tonight at home against MIAA newcomer Nebaska-Kearney. They follow that up with a nationally-televised showdown with fellow MIAA-leader (as of Thursday) Northwest Missouri.

If the Gorillas could grab a pair of wins in the next three days, they would likely join the top 25 while staying atop the MIAA standings. That would be a big step for a program that hasn't won a league title since 1999 and hasn't seen the NCAA DII playoffs since the 2006-07 season.

If Pitt State takes care of business tonight (UNK has just three wins, although nothing can be taken for granted in the MIAA), it will set up what should be a special day on Saturday.

The Gorilla women tip off at 11:30 a.m., followed by the men's game. Both will be televised on CBS College Sports as the NCAA Division II Game of the Week.

The newly-named Whetzel Court, part of a revamped John Lance Arena, will be dedicated at 10:30 a.m.

The first 2,000 fans will get free 'Gold Rush' t-shirts.