It can’t be easy being a student-athlete, especially when the team has to travel.
Players have to juggle schoolwork, practice and a heap of other responsibilities, and then put everything on hold for an away game.
It’s rare for a team to be good on the road, and a successful road record can sometimes hover around .500. The Idaho men’s basketball team, though, has not hovered around .500 for road games this season. In fact, they are well below it.
The Vandals are 1-7 in games away from Moscow and 0-7 in games away from the Palouse as the team beat Washington State in Pullman earlier in the season. The win over WSU is Idaho’s only road win on the season.
Seven of the remaining 13 games are on the road for Idaho and the Vandals will need to improve on that record if they hope to make the Big Sky Tournament. Only eight of 12 teams make the conference tournament.
Despite the poor road record, Idaho has still showed glimpse of just how good it can be.
If it wasn’t for a few minutes of bad basketball against a pair of the conference’s best teams — Eastern Washington and Sacramento State — Idaho could be sitting atop the Big Sky standings.
The Vandals are close, and it seems like they can win on any given night, which couldn’t be said at the beginning of the season.
Throughout the nonconference schedule, Idaho’s play was inconsistent on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. With Idaho coach Don Verlin still playing around with his rotation, players didn’t look comfortable and mistakes were being made.
Idaho started conference play with two consecutive wins over Idaho State and last seasons conference champion Weber State.
In the game against Weber State, the team looked confident and played a fast-pace tempo. That caliber of play has continued, but it hasn’t resulted in wins.
The Vandals lost to EWU and SSU by a combined six points and could have easily won both games.
Like last year, the Vandals have a chance to make a run in the conference tournament. They have proven they can compete with the best, but since the tournament will most likely not be in Moscow, the road woes need to end.
The team did it last year in the WAC Tournament before falling to New Mexico State in the championship game.
Will they have a repeat performance? Only time will tell.
Korbin McDonald can be reached at email@example.com