NYU men’s basketball tournament odds increase after 2 straight wins

The Violets move to 4-7 in UAA play after defeating the University of Chicago and No. 16 Washington University.


NYU’s men’s basketball team is on an upward trajectory after two wins this weekend. (Courtesy of NYU Athletics)

Miller Romm, Staff Writer

NYU men’s basketball is looking at its last three games of the season, and the team is on the verge of making the NCAA Division III tournament. The Violets currently sit on the outside looking in, but everything will depend on their final three games against Emory University, the University of Rochester and Brandeis University.

This past weekend was a massive step in the right direction, as NYU won 80-61 against the University of Chicago on Friday, Feb. 10, and 65-52 against No. 16 Washington University on Sunday. The team improved, securing a 15-7 overall record, with an in-conference record of 4-7.

“We have to keep getting better every day,” junior combo guard Cinque Stephens said. “We have some momentum right now, but we need to continue to learn from our good and bad.”

The Maroons started strong, building themselves a 10-point lead, but the Violets responded from the 3-point line and went on a 23-4 run to take a four-point lead at half. 

The University of Chicago tied the game 43-43 just over seven minutes into the second half, but another huge run from NYU soon put the team ahead by nine — and the players never looked back. Sophomore combo guard Zay Freeney led the team with 18 points, while senior combo guard Nikola Lipovic and Stephens added 15 of their own. 

The team followed up their great performance with another one against Washington University in St. Louis. At the start of the first half, both teams were trading baskets, and the game sat at 23-21 before the Violets went on a 13-4 streak and took an 11-point advantage into halftime.

Freeney emphasized the importance of taking a lead into half.

“It’s great getting off to hot starts and going into halftime with the lead,” he said. “It shows that we are focused and playing the right way. I think having good first halves makes us focus even harder in the second.”

The second half was much of the same, as the lead never dropped below 12, and resulted in a much-needed victory over a highly ranked opponent. Graduate guard Michael Savarino registered 16 points and six rebounds with Mike Krzyzewski, his grandfather and the former head coach of Duke University’s men’s basketball team, in attendance. NYU’s other graduate guard Spencer Freedman had 16 points and nine assists to help hold the lead.

Before matching up in their upcoming game against a tough team, the Violets know that they control their own destiny. In their previous head-to-head with the Eagles, they lost a close 95-91 contest at home. This time around, the Violets will be looking for revenge. The game is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 17 in Atlanta.

“We need to continue to win games, and hopefully [we] make the tournament,” Stephens said.

NYU is not just looking to get even against the Eagles, but will also face Rochester and Brandeis in their last two matchups. The Violets lost 55-72 and 61-81 to Rochester and Brandeis respectively earlier in the season. After going 0-3 against these teams early on, the team is looking to turn that around.

Emory and Rochester are currently projected to make the NCAA tournament, so the Violets are hoping that winning these games could be enough to make a statement to the committee.

Contact Miller Romm at [email protected]