Raise your hand if you thought Cleveland State would start the season 11-0 AND be the only 11-0 team thus far. No one? Don’t worry. Even Vikings coach Gary Waters is surprised by it.
“I knew we’d be good,” Waters told the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. “But I didn’t think we’d start undefeated.”
Sure, they’ve beaten two non-Division I teams and avoided any BCS schools along the way, but 11-0 is 11-0. Take it and enjoy the pub. Schools like Gonzaga (4-3), Old Dominion (6-2) and Butler (4-3) get the attention, but Cleveland State’s the No. 1 team in CollegeInsider.com’s mid-major poll.
Not that Waters cares.
“I’m not sure what the Mid-Major poll means,” Waters told the paper. “I consider us a major program. Our goal is to get back to the NCAA tournament, and this team can do it. They remind me a lot of the 2009 group. They have that kind of toughness.”
That 2009 team stunned Syracuse in the regular season, won the Horizon League tournament and thumped Wake Forest in the NCAA tournament. If this year’s group comes close to that, Waters is right. He’ll have a dangerous team.
Tell you what. We’ll find out in the next two weeks just how good they really are. The Vikings travel to Sam Houston State on Dec. 11 (a toss-up game) and then West Virginia on Dec. 18. If they make it 13-0, they better be ranked in the AP poll, not just the mid-major one.
(Thanks, Jeff Eisenberg)
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