The SWAC doormat plays host tonight to the second-worst team in the conference, the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils. The Delta Devils are only slightly better than the Tigers, who at 0-17, are the lone winless team in college hoops. I’ll spare you the statistical analysis from their first 17 games as it’s pretty unbelievable.
With tonight’s game marking the midway point of the SWAC schedule for Grambling State, they’ll have played every conference foe once. The teams they really have a chance of knocking off–MVSU (2-16) and Jackson State (3-14)–they play on the road the second time around, so the opportunity to get a win is slipping away. Five of their next 10 games 0n the road.
The Delta Devils come in losers of two in a row, which pales in comparison to Grambling’s 17-game slide.
Mississippi Valley has two standouts and that’s really it. Davon Usher leads them in scoring (16.9 ppg) and grabs 6.2 rebounds per game while Matt Smith pulls in a team-high 6.8 rebounds and chips in 10.1 points per game.
Grambling is literally a one-man show–senior guard Terry Rose. Rose averages 14.9 points per game and is the only player on the roster to score more than 100 points this season. He’s also the only one to attempt more than 100 field goals. He’s scored in double-digits in all but three games this season, but he only shoots 41 percent from the floor. As a team, they average only 49.5 points per contest–dead last in Division I.
2 > 1. The Delta Devils should take care of business tonight at the Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center but there are no guarantees.
And look, I’m not making excuses for why they’re so bad, but tonight marks only the fifth home game for the Tigers. And let’s not forget about the APR penalties handed down last year by the NCAA.
They’ve lost four hours and one day of countable athletically related activity each week in and out of season. For a team that needs practice, losing a day a week on top of the mandatory day-off certainly can’t help.
I’ll tell you what the hardest thing is going to be for head coach Joseph Prince that the NCAA had no hand in–recruiting. He’s going to have his hands full trying to convince potential student-athletes to play their college hoops in Grambling, Louisiana.
A 10 percent reduction in the length of the playing season isn’t exactly the worst thing for a team on the verge of futility. It just means they’ll probably wind up with 27 losses instead of 30.