I’ll admit, it’s kind of strange seeing UCR this high up in the Big West standings. I don’t mean to criticize the team or anything like that, but it’s not something I’ve been used to seeing, especially from a basketball team that suffers from offensive lapses at times.  It makes me wonder how long UCR can sustain its advantage over the rest of the conference.

The Highlanders were as high as second place last week with a strong conference record of 4-1, the best start in UCR history. Since then, the team has played only one road game and ended up losing it, but only by a small margin. The bottom line is that they’ve been playing well. And now I have this strange, thrilling and excited feeling whenever I watch this team. I’ve come to realize that for the first time in a long time, this team actually has a lot to lose.

We’re at a point where the stakes are higher. It’s not only about winning and losing, there’s a certain element of pride riding on these games. The Highlanders are in the best position they’ve ever been. They’re starting to play well and starting to dominate a conference that’s been anything but friendly to them. This can be a potential turning point for UCR. We’ve been waiting for such a long time to see a winning record from this team and we’re finally getting it.

But how long can it last?

UCR will have a handful of players graduating this year. So that means the recent success may be gone before we have enough time to enjoy it. I think the team can and will finish high in the standings. It’s not that hard to imagine. The team is playing well together, they’ve been executing their offense, they’ve been together for such a long time now, they have veteran players and Phil Martin is simply having a heck of a season.

I think the Highlanders realize that their window of opportunity is small, and that is why they’ve been playing so perfectly. It may be their last chance to make a name for themselves. It’s definitely their best. UCR won’t have another opportunity like this for a while. UCR looks like it’s on a mission to do something great this year and I do not see them falling anytime soon. I can’t believe these I’m saying this, but I think UCR will finally reach the NCAA tournament this season!

I know its crazy and far-fetched, but there is no reason to doubt them. When the stakes are this high and the team is playing this well, I simply cannot force myself to bet on anyone other than my Highlanders.