Northwest men's basketball junior guard Trevor Hudgins stares down Washburn senior guard Tyler Geiman during the Bearcats' 71-63 win over the Ichabods Jan. 17 in Topeka, Kansas.

For the first time since football season, and for the first time since last year, welcome to Walk the Talk, the mailbag column where you’ll find answers to all of the questions people might have about Northwest Athletics.

Is there a reason to be worried about men’s basketball losing to Central Oklahoma?

Nope, there sure isn’t.

If you take a look back to last year, the Bearcats finished their 2020-21 title-winning season with two losses. They were handed the latter of the two toward the end of the year, but, still, there’s no reason to worry about a program led by Ben McCollum.

They’re currently fighting for the No. 1 seed in Division II’s Central Region, but there’s a lot of time left — including 11 regular-season games and the MIAA Tournament — before the regional rankings are set.

McCollum isn’t worried, either. While talking to Bearcat Radio Network after the loss to the Bronchos, he said: "Hopefully we play these guys again. Can't wait until if we do. ... We fought as hard as we could fight, and it's just one of those games we weren't able to win. Just gotta be better."

He followed that up by telling reporters that he’s “more affirmed that (the Bearcats) can be good” and that they “just gotta keep moving forward.

If he’s not worried, I’m not sure why anybody else would. After all, getting into the postseason is the hard part. Once they’re there — which they will be — anything can happen, regardless of a loss in January.

What would your best track and field event be?

Fun fact: I used to run hurdles in middle school, and despite tripping over one in my second-to-last race, I never finished worse than fourth place.

The hurdles are way too tall for me now, though, as I stand at a towering 5-foot-4, so I’d absolutely have to rely on my speed.

After talking to Corbin Smith, The Missourian’s opinion editor and a member of Northwest’s track program, I’ve decided that it’d probably be best if I did the 60-meter dash because of my short-burst speed. Don’t get confused, I’d finish sixth in a six-person race.

Do the Northwest men have a lineup strong enough to win the title?

In short, yes. The Bearcats have to stay healthy, though.

Sophomore forward Wes Dreamer went down during Northwest’s latest loss, a 76-75 defeat in overtime courtesy of then-No. 18 Central Oklahoma, and that forced junior guard Trevor Hudgins to put up a program-record 29 shot attempts.

Hudgins, the reigning NABC Division II Player of the Year, is more than capable of willing the Bearcats to success alongside Diego Bernard, Luke Waters and Isaiah Jackson. I mean, Hudgins scored a game-high 39 points during the loss to the Bronchos, and that wasn't even his season high.

Dreamer has massively stepped up this season, transitioning into the “trigger” player of the Bearcats’ offense, as McCollum would say. Each Northwest player has a specific role toward making the whole operation work, and it’s difficult to lose a post presence similar to the one Dreamer has provided so far this season.

The forward is “doing OK,” McCollum said Tuesday afternoon, and that should go a long way toward assuring you that — similar to earlier in this week’s mailbag — if McCollum’s not concerned, I’m not sure why anybody else would be.

Walk The Talk is a mailbag that focuses on all things Northwest Athletics. To submit a question for the next edition of the mailbag, tweet @ByJonWalker or email j.walker.missourian@gmail.com.

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