There's a huge matchup Wednesday night between two unbeaten Midwestern Conference squads, but one of them is more unbeaten than the other.
As the Green Knights and Pioneers put their 2015-16 undefeated records on the line Wednesday in De Pere, Wisc., St. Norbert is putting a bit more on the line – hoping to continue a 53-game unbeaten streak against conference opponents, a streak that extends back to a loss to Grinnell in February, 2013, when all of St. Norbert's current starters were still suiting up in high school.
"It's not just as long as we've been here but even before that," St. Norbert junior Ben Bobinski told Green Bay's Fox 11 Sports. "Kind of cool that a lot of people have been a part of it."
But while the Green Knights are playing to extend what is the longest running conference win streak in D3 by far, there's a lot at stake immediately too, as their biggest competitor in the Midwestern Conference .
St. Norbert (12-2, 9-0) has a half-game lead on the Pioneers (12-1, 8-0) in the conference. St. Norbert is coming off a narrow win this past Saturday, when it escaped with a 56-53 victory on the road at Knox.
The Green Knights' 53 game conference win streak is way ahead of the next best current streak, the one held by Babson, which has won 15 straight games in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference. And it might be the second longest conference run in D3 history, behind Wheaton's 61-game unbeaten conference run in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin in the 1950s.
St. Norbert became the first Midwest Conference men’s basketball team to have consecutive unbeaten league seasons in 64 years after finishing 18-0 in MWC play in both 2013-14 and 2014-15.
"You get a little bit of luck, you win some close games, you survive some injuries," 10th-year St. Norbert coach Gary Grzesk told Fox 11 Sports. "Maybe win a game or two you're not supposed to. We've had a number of kids play well over the past few years."
The Green Knights are led by sophomore D.J. DeValk and Bobinski, both averaging just over 13 points a game.
Carroll is coming into Wednesday's game on a four-game win streak, including a come-from-behind 84-83 overtime win over Lawrence on Jan. 12.