The men’s basketball season has begun, and the program’s years-long mediocrity needs to end.
The Bobcats are off to a 2-0 start in the young season, but they have not had a winning record in seven years. While the team does put up decent efforts for some wins, there is nothing shiny about the men’s basketball pedigree.
In those seven years, the team qualified for the Southland Conference tournament three times.
However, it has only won one game in the tournament.
All teams in the WAC except San Jose State University had winning records last year, let alone in the last seven. San Jose State did have a winning record two years ago during its 2010-2011 season. The Bobcats have not won a conference championship since 1997 when the university name was still Southwest Texas State University.
With all that said, Texas State has now elevated into the WAC. Though competition has increased, the Bobcats are expected to match that intensity, especially because the WAC does not have many powerful veteran programs. The University of Texas-San Antonio, the University of Texas-Arlington and Seattle University have all elevated their conference statuses this season too.
The expectation of a winning record, just like the anticipation of football conquering four of 12 games in its first year of FBS, is one that should be met. This is especially important considering the same expectation has been in place for the basketball program during the last three years.
Out of former Southland and current WAC schools, only the University of Central Arkansas has likewise experienced a long drought of sub-.500 seasons. The Bears have not had a winning record since 2006, when they moved up to the Southland Conference.
The men’s basketball program should not necessarily be expected to win a conference tournament or games in one, or to play excellently all season long. However, the Bobcats should be expected to play much better than they currently are. If the program cannot meet this expectation, then it probably needs a fresh start.
The women’s basketball program wiped the slate clean in 2011, and in one season, it turned around a team that in 2010 had won just nine games. Women’s basketball had its first winning season since 2007-2008 as a result.
Only good can come for the university and the athletics program if the men’s basketball team has a winning season. Besides football, a strong men’s basketball team at a large university can likely bring more exposure to the athletics program than any of the other sports can.
This editorial board is desperate to see the men’s basketball program succeed. As the bare minimum definition of success, the team must find a way to post more wins than losses. It should do this sooner rather than later.