Towson’s losing streak doesn’t need an *, just a little context

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UDPATE: Towson lost its 35th straight game, losing 75-38 at ODU.

If Towson sets the D-I record for consecutive losses (35) Saturday night – I’d like to say “when” given the Tigers are 20.5-point underdogs to ODU, but they did lose to Virginia last week by seven, so there’s a chance – keep a couple things in mind:

1)  The Tigers aren’t the worst D-I team this season (kenpom.com rates five schools lower) and they’re not the only winless squad in 2011-12. That also includes Binghamton (0-14) and Chicago State (0-14). The Tigers are 0-15.

2) NJIT lost 35 straight over two seasons (and eventually 51 in a row), but doesn’t technically own the record because it was reclassifying to D-I. Not that it’ll make Towson feel any better, but it’s worth noting.

3) Towson’s streak may only hit 36.

It plays host to William & Mary on Wednesday, a team that’s won three games and only two have come against D-I schools. Perhaps that home crowd will make the difference.

It wasn’t always like this for Towson. They’ve never been a hoops power, but they were essentially a .500 team for part of the last decade. Then things went south. From The Virginian-Pilot:

How did it come to this for the Tigers? Blame a perfect storm of factors. Former coach Pat Kennedy dropped his final 19 games before being fired after last season. The three leading scorers from last year departed the team with eligibility remaining. Towson was left with one returning letterman and played one of the tougher nonconference schedules in the Colonial Athletic Association.

The CAA schedule itself is a bear. Three teams – VCU, George Mason and ODU – made the NCAA tournament last season, which doesn’t give a rebuilding team much room for error. Still, first-year coach Pat Skerry refuses to focus on the losses.

If he does that, then that’s the focus, not winning.

“The only thing we talk about is what it takes to win,” Skerry told USA Today. “Defense. Rebounding. Taking care of the basketball. That formula gives you a chance in every game.”

Sometimes that formula doesn’t help, though. When Towson tied Sacramento State on Wednesday for the record with its 34th loss in a row, it only scored 27 points. That was its lowest since it moved to D-I in 1979.

But hey, Skerry’s optimistic about the future. Maybe he’s a little crazy or the world’s biggest optimist. Or maybe that’s what keeps him from tearing his hair out.

“I’m still jacked up about what the ceiling is here,” Skerry told the Washington Times. “What exasperates me is we have a hard time sustaining winning plays. That exasperates me. I like the practices more than the games, there’s no question about that. But until we sustain it, it’s going to be hard against clubs at this level.”

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.