ST. LOUIS – Entering play on Saturday afternoon, both teams involved in the AMC Men's Basketball Game of the Week have five games remaining on their regular season schedules. For both the Park University Pirates (16-5/13-4 AMC) and the William Woods University Owls (16-9/10-7 AMC), getting a win on Saturday will be at the forefront of their minds as the season winds down. The Pirates will also be looking to avenge an earlier defeat at the hands of the Owls in Fulton, Missouri on December 31.
Park Pirates: The Pirates have been one of the two hottest teams of late in the AMC, winning their last five straight games, including a thriller on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Zach Rutland on Thursday night at Missouri Baptist University. Park has lost only twice in the 11 games they have played in 2017, and they have done well in forcing opponents to make mistakes with the basketball in AMC play. In the conference schedule, the Pirates are averaging four fewer turnovers per game than their opponents, while posting more than twice as many blocked shots and steals as their counterparts.
William Woods Owls: After a rough start to 2017, the Owls have bounced back somewhat, winning three of their last four games. William Woods took a tough road win at Missouri Baptist by an identical 3-point margin as the Pirates, defeating the Spartans 63-60 on January 26th. The Owls are hoping a recent two game offensive outburst can carry over as well, as WWU scored 92 against Hannibal-LaGrange University on February 2, and a season-high 99 at St. Louis College of Pharmacy on February 9. If the Owls are to win this game, they will need to continue scoring at a higher rate than they did in January, when they averaged just under 73 points per game.
Park has won 12 of the 16 meetings all-time in this series, but William Woods did claim the 85-78 win earlier this season.
The game is of critical importance to both teams. The Pirates can all but lock up a home game in the first round of the AMC Championship with a win, though they would not be able to secure the tiebreaker over the Owls without a second victory. WWU, meanwhile, is only a half-game behind Central Baptist College for the fourth and final first round home game in the AMC Championship, but they also have the searingly hot Harris-Stowe State University Hornets right on their heels.