Sunday, more than 100 St. Thomas football players will be back on the field as the Tommies open their 2014 spring practice session. After missing out on the postseason in 2013, you can bet they’ll be as hungry as ever to get back to work.
There were some anxious basketball players on the St. Thomas campus Monday morning as they waited to find out if they had a postseason coming. After losing 63-53 to St. Olaf in the MIAC Playoff championship game Sunday, The Tommies (22-5) left their fate in the hands of the NCAA Selection Committee where anything can happen.
A spot in the MIAC title game is on the line Friday night as St. Thomas (21-4) hosts Bethel. The Tommies ended the regular season with a 76-69 loss to St. John’s in their final regular season home game.
The St. Thomas men’s basketball team solidified a MIAC title Wednesday night, but the Tommies kept the postgame celebration in the locker room to a minimum. That’s because St. Thomas still has one regular season game left Saturday, and it’s against one of their biggest conference rivals.
Every game is big in conference play, but St. Thomas and St. Olaf meet Wednesday night for the biggest game the two teams have played in a long time. It’s been a while since the Oles have been a relevant program in MIAC men’s basketball. St. Olaf has made the playoffs twice in the last six seasons, losing in the quarterfinals both times. With a playoff spot locked up for both teams, St. Thomas needs a road win Wednesday to essentially clinch the regular season title and a No. 1 seed in the playoffs.
It’s a safe bet that the St. Thomas football team will be a motivated bunch when the squad hits the football field in August for the start of the fall season. The Tommies entered the 2013 season a top-five ranked team and a contender to return to not only the NCAA Division III playoffs, but a possible return to the national title game.
He’s less than a full year removed from college, in the real world and now has the chance to do something few small-college athletes get. So when St. Thomas graduate and NCAA champion Tommy Hannon got an offer to pursue a professional career overseas, it was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.
The hopes for an undefeated MIAC season came to an end for the St. Thomas men’s basketball team on Monday with a 77-69 loss at rival St. John’s. That loss ended a six-game win streak for the No. 11-ranked Tommies, but it didn’t take long to get back in the winning column.
You can never be fully satisfied as a coach, but John Tauer has to be pretty happy with his squad over at St. Thomas. The Tommies beat Gustavus 61-50 Wednesday night, led by a 19-5 edge at the free-throw line, to improve to 8-0 in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
The St. Thomas men’s basketball team is seven games into its season, but John Tauer will have a much better idea of the team he has this year after Saturday night. The Tommies, ranked No. 7 in Division III, head to No. 1-ranked UW-Steven’s Point Saturday for their final game of 2013 before they enter the full grind of the MIAC season.
The pieces seemingly fell into place last Saturday as the St. Thomas football team put itself into position for an at-large NCAA berth. But instead of deciding its own fate, the Tommies had to leave it in the hands of a third party.
Most teams that lose four starters from a squad that was one game away from playing for a national title would consider the next season rebuilding. But the St. Thomas men’s basketball program isn’t like most squads. For coach John Tauer and the team, it’s a program that’s simply reloading.
The St. Thomas football team is practicing this week as if it’s not the last game it will play this season. If you ask coach Glenn Caruso, he’s confident the Tommies name will be called by the NCAA selection committee for a playoff berth on Sunday.
There were 21 seniors on the St. Thomas football team that left Palmer Field at O’Shaughnessy Stadium Saturday with both bittersweet and thrilled emotions. After giving up 13 early points, the Tommies outscored Concordia (Moorhead) 34-7 the rest of the game in a 34-20 victory to keep their playoff hopes alive.
It should be a playoff-like atmosphere in St. Paul Saturday when No. 18-ranked St. Thomas hosts No. 21-ranked Concordia (Moorhead) as both teams are fighting for their postseason lives. The Tommies (6-2, 4-2) will have their playoffs ended with a loss, less than a year removed from a run to the Division III national championship game.