Savannah State sat at 4-0 to start the season, and suddenly found themselves as one of the big surprise teams to start the year.
Suddenly the Tigers were facing a losing record (7-8) following that strong start.
Among the loses were two ranked teams -- Georgetown and Notre Dame -- along with Oklahoma State out of the Big 12 and Clemson out of the SEC.
The upcoming competition eases, but five of the next seven games are on the road, something that hasn't come easy to the Tigers this year. They sit at 0-7 on the road this season.
However, upcoming games against non-Division 1 Allen and Talladega give hope to a team that started the season strong.
Looking way down the line, the Tigers end their season with four straight home games, among them is Carver Bible College. So they should end the season much like they began it -- with plenty of wins.NOTES, QUOTES
--Chris Linton leads the team in scoring (8.7 per game) and in rebounding (5.5), while Raye Bailey leads the team in assists (2.5) as of Jan. 7.
--The Tigers are ranked No. 158 in the nation according to collegerpi.com as of Jan. 08
QUOTE TO NOTE: "This might be one of the most unbelievable coaching jobs in American this year, period. Go back and study what Savannah State has done prior to this year." -- Travis Ford, Oklahoma State coach, speaking about the job Horace Broadax has done as head coach of the Tigers.STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
After scoring 65-plus points in five of their first six games, Savannah State is now in crisis mode on the offensive front.
The Tigers do not have a single player averaging in double-digit scoring.
As a result, the team that once had a 4-0 start has put up as little as 29 and 37 points (twice) in a game.
One positive result has been a strong defense, at times, but there is no question that this team is struggling on a mental level as well with four straight losses.
The good news is that they have a strong schedule coming up. Sophomore guard Jovonni Shuler could become the go-to guy on the offensive end.
PLAYER ROTATION: Usual starters -- PG Raye Bailey, G Anthony Jones, SG Jovonni Shuler, F Chris Linton, F Rod Mitchell. Key Subs -- G Patrick Hardy, G Tracy Rankins, F Rashad Hassan, F Arnold Louis.
Bethune-Cookman 55, Savannah St. 29
UAB 63, Savannah St. 37
Oklahoma St. 83, Savannah St. 56
vs. Talladega, Monday, Jan. 12
vs. South Carolina St., Wednesday Jan, 14
at Longwood, Saturday Jan. 17
at Jacksonville, Tuesday Jan. 20
at Utah Valley, Saturday Jan. 24
IN FOCUS: After a strong start, the Tiger season began to take a downturn, not with a 32-point loss to Notre Dame, but in the following game when head coach Horace Broadnax lost Bethune-Cookman while scoring just 29 points.
Broadnax happens to be the former head coach of Bethune-Cookman in the late 90's and early 2000's.
The Tigers seem to still been unable to recover from the low-scoring performance, putting up just 37 points in their next game against UAB followed by a loss to Oklahoma State.
The schedule gets easier -- starting with a game against non-Division 1 Talladega. If the Tigers can take it game-by-game, they will soon find themselves back in the winning column in their overall record.
--Head coach Horace Broadex not only played against the team he formerly coached in Bethune Cookman, but was able to play against the Georgetown team that he won a national title as a member of. The Tiger lost 100-38.
--Five freshman round out Savannah State's roster this year (Mark St. Fort, Josh Smith, Rashad Hassan, Arnold Louis and LaQuinton Fort.) Hassan has been by far the biggest contributor, averaging 8.2 ppg , tied for second on the team in scoring.
--Six-foot-7 Rod Mitchell and 6-foot-3 Anthony Jones are the only two returning freshman from last year's team. Mitchell has recently stepped into the starting lineup despite averaging less than one point a game (0.9) while Jones is a consistent starter.
Previous Report: 03/15/2006