DENVER (CBS4) – A Colorado basketball team is still alive in the tournament — the Division II Tournament, were top-ranked Metropolitan State University has made it to its third straight “Elite Eight.”
Metro State almost won the tournament last year after making all the way to the championship game. But a miserable second half hurt their chances and the Roadrunners ended up runners up.
Last year’s championship game loss has been motivating the team all year. This week they get a chance to make things right.
“The biggest thing for these guys is the hurt in that locker room as a great motivator,” Metro State head coach Derrick Clark said. “Sometimes we think that during adversity — or you fail — that you’ve got to bounce back from that and it’s created a hunger in our guys.”
“I still think about it to this day. During that NCAA showcase when they announce all teams that made it they kind of replayed some of the highlights from that game and it just hit me hard,” senior guard Brandon Jefferson said.
If the Roadrunners need any extra reminders about what could have been, they can just look up to what’s hanging in the rafters at their home gym — national championship banners from 2000 and 2002.
“Yeah, they motivate us. Coach Clark was part of the program back then. He talks about what they did to get to the national championship and win the national championship,” junior guard Mitch McCarron said. “We definitely want to get back to being one of the best programs, one of the most successful programs.”
“You just want that. You just want to be part of something like that. You want to be able to look back at it in 10, 20 years and say, ‘We won the national championship,’ “junior center Nicholas Kay said.
Metro State meets Tuskegee Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. in Evansville, Ind., where the Roadrunners won their last title in 2002.