Grambling basketball: ‘The team’s No. 2 scorer is a typo’

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While the meaningful games on Monday nights in January and February almost always fall on Big Mondays, they are far from the only games being played on those nights.

Both the MEAC and SWAC — MEACtion and SWACtion, if you will — play their leagues games on Monday nights, in part because it allows them to get a game or two on ESPNU every week.

One team you won’t be seeing on TV at all this year is Grambling. On Monday night, they lost to Texas Southern 95-50. Texas Southern is now 5-13 on the season. Grambling is used to the losing by now, however, as the loss dropped the Tigers to 0-15 on the season. Their “best” loss? By 13 points to Alabama State, who is ranked 337th out of 347 Division I teams, according to Kenpom.

What’s worse, is that loss was one of just two times where Grambling kept the final score relatively close. They also have a 16 point loss to Prairie View A&M on their resume, the only other time they were able to keep the final margin under 20 points.

Deadspin’s Dom Cosentino took a look at Grambling on Monday, and he discovered a perfect metaphor for the Tiger’s season:

The official stats on Grambling’s website show that the team’s leading scorer is Terry Rose, a 6-foot-4 freshman guard/forward from Davenport, Fla. Rose averages 17.3 points per game and is shooting a solid 43.4 percent from the field, including 45.5 percent from 3-point range. The second-leading scorer, putting up 9.7 points per game, is also Rose. Yes, it’s the same player, listed twice. Only the second time, his name is misspelled. That’s the kind of year it’s been for Grambling. The team’s No. 2 scorer is a typo.

Grambling’s issues are understandable. They’ve been hammered by APR penalties, seeing their practice time cut by four hours and one day a week as well as being limited to just 10 scholarships. They also have a new coach this season who has just eight scholarship players on his roster. The other seven members of the team? Walk-ons.

Those are some serious odds to go up against.

If Grambling is going to get a win this season, my bet would be on it coming at some point in the next two weeks. The Tigers host Mississippi Valley State on Saturday and Jackson State on Monday the 28th. Both of those teams have just a single win on the season. Better get them at home when you’ve got the chance, Grambling.

That’s no certainty, however.

You want an idea of just how badly things are going this year?

According to Kenpom, Grambling is the worst team in the country in terms of both offensive and defensive efficiency. That’s a really hard thing to do.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Louisville backcourt struggles in first scrimmage

Quentin Snider, Jerian Grant
Associated Press
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While a few teams did manage to hold special events for the official start of practice this weekend, most simply went about their business with drills and conditioning. One team that was the exception to all of this was Louisville, which held the first of its two intersquad scrimmages on Saturday. The Cardinals had a head start of sorts on the season, as they played six exhibition games in Puerto Rico this summer.

One hope heading into Saturday’s scrimmage was that guards Trey Lewis and Quentin Snider would have better chemistry than they did in Puerto Rico. But according to Jeff Greer of the Louisville Courier-Journal, that remains a work in progress for the Cleveland State transfer (Lewis) and rising sophomore (Snider).

They struggled in Puerto Rico, and they struggled again in Saturday’s Red-White scrimmage, the first public intrasquad practice since August. They played one half of the game together, paired with the presumed starting lineup with Mangok Mathiang out with an eye injury, a group that also included Damion Lee, Jaylen Johnson and Chinanu Onuaku.

That team lost the first half by 13 points to a younger group of Louisville players, and Lewis and Snider combined for eight points on 3-of-12 shooting, five turnovers, five steals, four assists and three rebounds.

“I thought (Snider) and (Lewis) did not play well together,” U of L coach Rick Pitino said. “They’ve got to get used to that. Neither guy made other guys better. That’s what they need to learn to do.”

As Greer also noted in his story the Cardinals have in recent years employed backcourt tandems in which both guards are capable of making plays for themselves and others. On the 2013 national champion team Peyton Siva and Russ Smith led the way, with Smith being joined by Terry Rozier or Chris Jones the following season and Rozier/Jones being the grouping last season before the latter was dismissed from the team.

Once Jones was dismissed Snider saw more time on the court, and his development was one of the keys for a Louisville team that fell one win short of the Final Four. Louisville needs him to take another step forward heading into the 2015-16 season, because even with Lewis’ experience at the Division I level Snider has more experience playing in Pitino’s system.

But while Saturday’s scrimmage didn’t go as well as anyone involved hoped, there’s still plenty of time for Louisville to work out the kinks before they open the season November 13 against Samford.

Knee injury sidelines Memphis assistant

Toronto Raptors vs Charlotte Hornets
Associated Press
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With practices beginning this weekend, not only are players looking to avoid the injury bug but their coaches are as well. And in the case of Memphis, the Tigers won’t have one of their assistants on the court for a little while due to a knee injury.

Assistant coach Damon Stoudamire, who returned to Josh Pastner’s staff this summer after a two-year stint at Arizona, suffered the injury during a recent workout according to L. Jason Smith of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. And Stoudamire will require surgery, which will put him on the shelf for a little bit.

“He was working out himself and I think he thought he was in his rookie year,” Pastner said. “We think he’s got a torn meniscus, which will require surgery and put him out for a couple of days.”

Stoudamire isn’t the only assistant coach working through pain either. Syracuse’s Mike Hopkins, who is also Jim Boeheim’s heir apparent as head coach, suffered a neck injury body surfing during a family vacation last month. Hopkins spent some time in a neck brace while putting players through workouts as a result of the injury.

As for the Tigers, they’ll have a mixture of experience on the perimeter and youth in the front court as they look to get back to the NCAA tournament after missing out last season. Among the newcomers are talented forwards Dedric and K.J. Lawson, with experienced guards such as Kedren Johnson, Trahson Burrell and Ricky Tarrant (grad transfer from Alabama) expected to be key contributors on the perimeter.