If Centenary’s to win this season, tonight’s the night

0 Comments

It’s now or never for Centenary. Well, at least in Division I.

The Gentlemen – the nation’s lone winless team at 0-28 – have two games left this season, and play host to Western Illinois tonight. If they hope to avoid the W donut, tonight’s their best chance, by far.

However, as you’d expect with a winless team, the odds aren’t great. The Leathernecks (7-20, 2-14 in Summit League) have lost 10 straight and haven’t scored more than 65 points in more than a month. Still, that’s fantastic compared to the Gentlemen’s recent outings. They’ve lost their last six games by an average of 25.5 points and have just two single-digit losses since Dec. 5. Dating back to last season, their losing streak is at 33 games.

Small wonder kenpom.com places their chances of winning at 33 percent.

The losses have weighed on Centenary’s players and its coach, Adam Walsh.

“For the guys, the biggest challenge has been deaing with the finite record of the season,” Walsh told the Shreveport Times. “We spent a lot of time talking (Wednesday) with the team about 0-28 with character (against) 0-28 without character and 0-28 with character (against) 28-0 without character. Do you start learning what that means and how to carry yourself with the way the season’s gone?”

Even if Centenary does lose, the streak might not last much longer.

This was its final season in D-I before moving to D-III, and was partly to blame for the rough season. As players found out about the move, they transferred, uninterested in enduring a season of rough games.

But it’s also good. Sometimes, there’s dignity in losing and lessons to be learned.

“Our guys are all capable of turning a big page moving forward,” Walsh said. “I really can’t wait to see how these guys play. There will be a little bit of a burden lifted and they can play a little looser and a little freer. I think we’ll be above the playing field with the experience we have. That doesn’t make it any less easy, though, because it takes Division I kids to win that league (the American Southwest Conference).”

And if they do win? The party should be fantastic.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.