Just two years removed from playing in the SWAC title game, Grambling finished what may be the worst season in college basketball history on Wednesday night.
The Tigers lost to Alabama A&M 59-51, which was promising — it was literally the first time all season that they didn’t lose by double-digits — and disheartening all the same. No one wants to see a team lose every single game they play, especially when it took a trip to the league tournament to finally avoid being blown out.
Making things worse, this will be a team that will likely be referenced by statheads and trivia gurus for a long time. Grambling’s just the third school in the last 10 years to finish a season without a victory (Savannah State in 2005 and New Jersey Institute of Technology in 2008). The Tigers finished last in all relevant ratings systems. RPI, Kenpom, Sagarin. Not only that, but Kenpom has the Tigers as by far the worst offensive and defensive team in the country, in terms of efficiency.
This is what happens when you have four head coaches in five years and APR sanctions that cripple your roster. From the N.Y. Times:
The team, which finished 4-24 last season, had run afoul of the N.C.A.A. for a low academic progress rate, the metric designed to predict how many players will graduate. Resulting sanctions, the most stringent possible under the guidelines, lowered the maximum number of scholarship players this season to 10 from 13 while curbing practice hours and the number of scheduled games.
A mere five players carried scholarships into the season, and one is no longer with the team. Seven walk-ons were culled from the intramural leagues.
Oh, college basketball.
Maybe it’s time to trim down on those 347 Division I teams, eh?
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.