The last two home events of 2013 are a pair of intriguing basketball games featuring four teams whose seasons all ended in the semifinals of the Centennial Conference playoffs last year. Plus, wrestling hits the mats for the first time in three weeks.
Wrestling at Messiah Petrofes Invitational (Friday and Saturday)
This will be the 27th consecutive year for Muhlenberg competing in this tournament, which was formerly hosted by Lebanon Valley. The Mules are sending six wrestlers to what usually is a very competitive field.
Women’s Basketball vs. Johns Hopkins (Saturday, 12:00)
Johns Hopkins vs. Muhlenberg is a rivalry unlike any other in Centennial Conference women’s basketball. Games between the two teams are frequently memorable and almost always important, since the programs are by far the top two in the league’s history. Since the formation of the CC in 1993, Hopkins has a 265-67 (.798) record in league games, and Muhlenberg is 255-84 (.752). No other team has more than 209 wins or a winning percentage higher than .633.
Hopkins (6-2, 5-0) has jumped to the early lead in the CC race (along with undefeated Haverford), while Muhlenberg (4-2, 2-1) has lost two straight close games to teams receiving votes in the D3hoops.com poll.
Expect some points to be put on the board. Muhlenberg and Johns Hopkins are first and second, respectively, in the CC in points scored per game and last and third-from-last, respectively, in points allowed per game. The average score (rounded) of the eight CC games involving one of these two teams is 74-65. The average score of the other 11 CC games this year? 55-46.
The Blue Jays hold a 23-18 all-time lead in a series that includes 11 postseason meetings. Last year the teams split, with the visitor prevailing each time.
Men’s Basketball vs. Johns Hopkins (Saturday, 2:00)
Johns Hopkins has been a thorn in Muhlenberg’s side ever since the formation of the CC in 1993. The Mules are 9-25 against the Blue Jays in CC regular-season and playoff games, and only three of those nine wins have come at home. Hopkins leads the all-time series, 35-15, and swept last year’s meetings, 76-74 and 63-59.
Muhlenberg (5-1, 2-1) and Hopkins (4-4, 2-1) were picked third and fourth, respectively, in the CC preseason poll, and one will keep pace with Dickinson, the only 3-0 team, heading into the holiday break.
The Blue Jays are coming off a home loss to Gettysburg, while the Mules won at Swarthmore, 64-48, in their first post-Thanksgiving game. It was the 16th time Muhlenberg held an opponent under 50 points in a CC regular-season game, and it was another fine defensive effort for the Mules, who are holding their opponents to 36.4-percent shooting (33.6 percent in their five wins). Those percentages drop to .263 and .190 for three-pointers; Hopkins has made more three-pointers (57) than any other CC team.
A win would give the Mules their second 6-1 start in three years; before 2011 they hadn’t been 6-1 since 1988.