Monday, December 1, 2008

Changing expectations

OK, so it’s still early in the season, but four straight wins – the longest winning streak since the end of the 2005-06 season – may start some people rethinking their opinion about the Jacksonville State basketball team.

The Gamecocks are 4-1 going into Tuesday’s game at Norfolk State. They’ve beaten Georgia State in double overtime, beat UMass by scoring the last six points in the final 28 seconds, and held the nation’s top-scoring team to 44 points below its scoring average.

And after hovering around the bottom of the RPI all last year, the Gamecocks are now 191 on the most recent list. They’re the third highest OVC team in the RPI – behind Austin Peay (13) and UT Martin (159) -- not bad for a team picked last by the league coaches.

“I know things, as well as they go up, they can go down, but I do feel good about what I’ve seen,” Green said. “I know we haven’t been perfect and I know there are some areas that we’ll be better, so whether we can go play games and feel like we’ve got a chance to win, I think we’re there.

“Now, whether we can show up every night and play that way, that’s what concerns a coach, because you have (off) nights. But if you have enough guys … and we can always find 5 or 6 guys that play good valuable minutes for us, then we can have chances to win.

“When you’re trying to build a program, you want to figure out how you can be competitive every night and so far we’ve done that. And fortunately we’ve won while we’ve done that.”

The last time the Gamecocks started off this well, they went 20-10. The last time they won back to back road games was 2005-06, when the eventually made the OVC Tournament semifinals.

Which team will this one eventually come closest to becoming? Or will it fade as the year goes on?


Michael Amberson said...

I can't remember the last time the hoops team won four in a row. It may not have been that long ago, but it seems like it was. They should make it five in a row tomorrow night against Norfolk, but you never know with a young team on the road. Wait a minute...did I just say JSU should win a game on the road? Maybe this James Green guy knows what he's doing.

al muskewitz said...

Thanks for reply.

The last time the Gamecocks won four in a row was at the end of the 2005-06 season.

They beat New Orleans in the Bracket Buster game, then beat Eastern Illinois and Southeast Missouri -- both on the road -- to lock up their spot in the OVC Tournament, then they rocked Eastern Kentucky on the night B.J. Spencer got suspended.

The streak ended in the OVC semis against Murray.

They won six in a row in 2002-03.

al muskewitz said...

Actually, they had two winning streaks like that in 2002-03.

They won six in a row after dropping the season opener in Alaska, and seven in a row at the end of the season before losing to UCF in their Atlantic Sun tournament opener.

That seven-game streak included three straight and four in a row on the road.