St. Norbert is ready to make its presence felt on the national scene for NCAA Division III men’s basketball. Last season, the Wisconsin school won its fourth Midwest Conference title and went to its fourth NCAA Division III tournament while notching its fourth 20-win season in a five-year span.
The Green Knights are at 20-1 and aren’t showing many signs of vulnerability. St. Norbert, ranked BR-7, has won 40 straight games against a conference opponent, one win shy of the league record of 41.
Gary Grzesk is coaching a team that is obviously poised to make a serious run at a national title.
“The kids have exceeded my expectations,” he said. “Last year we have five seniors and four starters that we lost to graduation. Coming into this year, it was a little bit of an unknown on what we would get out of some of our returning guys and out of our new guys. To have the record we have at this point, they probably exceeded my expectations.”
St. Norbert is leading the country in field goal percentage.
“Anytime you’re making shots, everything looks good from the outside,” Grzesk said. “I think our program has usually been built on defense and rebounding. At the same time, we’ve become more skilled and more complete offensively, especially the last couple of years. I would like to think our defense and rebounding is our bread and butter. But if you look at some of the national statistics, our field goal percentage s pretty good.”
It starts with the completeness on the offensive end, as far as Grzesk is concerned.
“We have some guys that can score (inside) and those kids are shooting above 60 percent for us,” he said. “We have guys on the perimeter that can make shots as well. It’s not like we’re reliant on just our inside game or just our 3-point shooting. We have a nice balance of inside and out. You mix in good shot selection as well. We rarely force or take bad shots. That combination has led to a high shooting percentage.”
Andrew Schwoerer, who is shooting 61.4 percent from the floor, is at 16.8 point per game while Austin Elliott, shooting 52.2 percent, is at 14.1 points per outing.
“Hopefully we’re playing our best basketball by the end of the year,” Grzesk said. “There’s lot of things we can improve on even late in the year. If you can fine-tune things and improve in certain areas, I think this team has a chance to be special.”