The 2020-21 NHL season was nothing short of a disappointment to begin with. The Huskies have a record of 1-7 after eight games in the 2020 season, and their only victory came against a Chicago State team that has since fallen for the rest of the season. With the conference tournament being redesigned thanks to COVID-19, the Huskies’ chances of becoming one of the eight teams in this year’s MAC tournament in Cleveland are decreasing by the day. NIU’s average defeat margin is 23.5 points, which means they don’t just lose – they’re blown away.

One of the main reasons for this large gap is that the 2019 season. The Huskies lost only 42.7% of their points. They lost three of their main players and completed the program as Noah McCarthy, Lacey James and Eugene Herman, the all-time leading scorer. The NIU 2020-21 men’s basketball team, which has not only lost so many goals, but also not a single freshman, includes players like Darius Bean, Trendon Hankerson and Tyler Cochran. These circumstances forced various actors to play new roles.

After the Huskies lost the first night of UIC, the team saw their score increase by 20 points in almost every game. Slow ball possession, lack of real presence on the post and the inability to put the ball in the basket led to an average of only 57.1 PPG over 38.2% of the field. The defense of the team is at a disadvantage if the attack cannot score on the other side of the field because it can only make a limited number of consecutive stops to stop the bleeding.

After this tumultuous start, NIU and head coach Mark Montgomery agreed to go their separate ways. In a statement of the NIU Sports Department, sports director Sean Fraser gave the following message: We would like to thank Coach Montgomery for his commitment to NIU and his efforts to promote NIU’s men’s basketball over the past ten seasons.

Frazier added that NIU will conduct a national search for a new coach to lead the men’s basketball team. At the moment, assistant coach Lamar Chapman will take on the role of head coach on an interim basis for the rest of the 2021 season.

Photo: NIU Athletics

Coach Chapman is in his fourth season as a member of the NIU men’s basketball team. Before joining DeKalb, he was assistant coach at Stony Brook University for nine seasons. This is a great opportunity for Chapman to prove what he can do as head coach, as the team has a number of talented players all taking on new roles in these circumstances.

The Huskies still have plenty of time to save this season and finish in Cleveland, but they have to start racking up victories now. Their next chance will come when they travel to Athens, Ohio on Tuesday to take on Jason Preston and the Ohio Bobcats, who currently have a 92.6 percent chance of winning the game, according to ESPN’s Predictor Matchup.

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