Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tennessee triumph a chance for momentum

Next up: Wright State. At Halton Arena. Next Wednesday with Charlotte's students on Christmas break.

Sorry for the buzzkill, but that's what's facing the 49ers after their scintillating and, frankly, inspiring 49-48 victory Friday against No. 7 Tennessee at Time Warner Cable Arena.

The atmosphere next Wednesday won't be anything like it was Friday. There won't be 8,419 fans at Halton (I'd love to be proven wrong, Niner Nation!) and the juices won't be flowing like they were against Tennessee.


But that's also what makes it a huge test for the 49ers, who now have the chance for some much-needed momentum as their Atlantic 10 season approaches three games hence. All three of those games -- Wright State, at Mercer on Dec. 30 and at Georgia Tech on Jan. 2 -- now appear to be quite winnable (even Georgia Tech of the unimposing ACC).

Beating Tennessee doesn't mean Charlotte is suddenly an A-10 contender, there are still too many holes to fill in what remains a depth-shy lineup. But Charlotte is going to need to win games like the one it's facing Wednesday against Wright State, which is 6-5 heading into a game Saturday against Miami (Ohio).

But the way Charlotte stood up to Tennessee in the second half -- when they've faltered several times this season already -- might mean the start of something good (as does the return of K.J. Sherrill). And of course, there's the question that can't be answered but is worth pondering nonetheless: Would Charlotte have won with Shamari Spears in the lineup?

"It's so hard to get the general public to understand what these guys go through," said coach Alan Major. "Sometimes it's hard to deal with expectations. Sometimes it's hard to remember that these are kids. But to understand what it takes to play at a high level and sustain it, that's what I'm most proud of. They played a full 40 minutes together."

12 comments:

punkrockcowboy said...

I'm driving from east of Raleigh for the Wright State game. I think that this is the turning point for our season. The team is buying into Majar's defensive, fight to the end philosophy. I loved Lutz, but to be honest, we gave up way too many times or faltered at the end of the season all too often under him. I'm not saying that we are going to go far this year, but I think that tonight we saw the tenacity that the program will compete with in the future.

Anonymous said...

Good win for Charlotte. Hopefully this will quiet the Major haters for at least 5 days.

Anonymous said...

I guess Lutz's players didn't all suck. No more "we're shorthanded and our players are tired" excuses, either, please.

Anonymous said...

I just hope we take advantage of this momentum and play with continued confidence...

Anonymous said...

8,500 fans at a game against a top 10 team is pathetic. I'd expect 2000 or less for the next game.

Anonymous said...

Well 10:36, were you at least at the game? Big wins like this and attendance will follow. Just need to stay on track. And for the fans that were not there I understand why. Even I thought we were get dragged by no less than 20. This is what makes games like these that much more special. Glad I could witness it.

Anonymous said...

You do realize that 8,500 fans when the students are already on holiday break is unbelievably solid for ANY school. Clemson had 3,000 FEWER fans at their game last night!

Tim Collie said...

anon at 9:22, bingo

this team has talent

Anonymous said...

I think I saw Major say "average fan" there at the end...LOL

J said...

Anon 9:22 - We are short-handed. We only have 8 guys playing. That's what made this win even more remarkable. This was the biggest win since we beat Louisville at Independence Arena in the mid-90s when UL was ranked #3 in the country - yes, even bigger than the several wins over Cincinnati in the late 90s and early 2000s.

Anonymous said...

the last comment by J is so off base

I'd put the UT win up there with Cuse

Anonymous said...

Not even close J.....it was a very nice and much needed win, but nowhere near some of the Cincy wins.