The Bottom 5: College Basketball's Worst Teams

    
December 14th, 2006
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There are 336 Division I basketball programs. Four have not yet won a game this season. That means there are no more than four students in the country who are covering winless Division I men’s basketball teams for their college. I am one of those students.

Now, I don’t know about the managing sports editors at Iona, Southern University and St. Francis (NY), but I am a massive college basketball fan. March is unequivocally the best month of the year, I can watch any basketball game between any two teams and still enjoy it, etc.

But while my love for the game might be common, my anguish can only really be shared by three other people in America. I’ve seen all of Delaware’s seven games this season and watched them lose each time.

We are 0-7, same as Iona and two better than Southern and St. Francis. I would say if Iona and Delaware were to meet, us Fightin’ Blue Hens would definitely have the edge though. We only lost to Vermont by 2, Iona lost to them by 13 and we only lost to Rider by 10 while the pathetic Gaels fell to their conference rival by 14. Iona may have the advantage because they went to the NCAA tournament last season while the Hens only won nine games (although they did beat Drexel in the CAA tournament, but I digress).

If for some reason you’re still reading this, you are probably wondering why I care if my school’s 0-7 basketball team is better than another 0-7 team, but it’s important. It’s pretty obvious just by looking at this site that people take a lot of pride in college basketball. So, for me, to be at the bottom of the entire Division I (and having to go to every freaking game) is not only disappointing, it’s downright devastating.

None of us are ever going to be “on the bubble,” paying extra attention to Selection Sunday. There will be no chance at an automatic bid or diaper dandies and there sure as hell won’t be any Blue Hens making Greg Gumbel cry on One Shining Moment at the end of the year.

So with all the talk about North Carolina, Florida and UCLA, I’m going to pander to the fans who have struggled along with me, who are worrying not about making the Final Four, but actually winning a game. Since there seems to be a lot of varying opinions on the validity of CHN’s Top 50, I’ll throw another poll into the fold to be debated and berated: the Bottom Five, the worst teams in Division I. If there are actually people who want to see this on a regular (monthly?) basis, e-mail me and we’ll see what we can do.

332. Winston-Salem

Sure, they are 1-12 with their only win coming against non-Division I Anderson College, but at least they know how to win. They have actually played a difficult schedule, sacrificing themselves to teams like Auburn and Notre Dame with future beat downs to come from Georgetown, Kansas, UAB and Georgia Tech. I don’t know who their athletic director is but he’s doing a terrific job, maybe he should coach and play point guard for them as well.

333. Delaware

OK, so I’m a little biased here but my beloved Blue Hens are better than their record, I mean, they should be at least 1-6 after blowing a game in the final minute against Vermont. Plus, they aren’t even last in the CAA standings. At 0-0 the Hens are tied for fifth in the conference with George Mason and are ahead of defending CAA champs UNC-Wilmington. New head coach Monte Ross was an assistant under Phil Martelli at St. Joe’s for 10 years and every encounter I’ve had with him tells me he is a great guy who desperately wants to win and can recruit. Unfortunately for him he’s playing with a 2006 roster sabotaged by former coach and Duke assistant Dave Henderson who didn’t sign any recruits for this season, forcing Ross to sign two of his own in April and, of course, start them. These highly sought-after freshmen have helped the Hens shoot a sizzling 39 percent from the field and just under 28 percent from three.

334. Iona

Should be a surprise to see Iona on this list. After winning the MAAC last year and hanging with LSU for a little in the first round of the NCAAs, Iona hasn’t been within seven points of an opponent this year. It’s tough losing your top three scorers, including Steve Burtt (25.2 ppg) and MAAC Defensive Player of the Year Ricky Soliver, but the Gaels were still picked to finish fourth in the conference. Surely if junior point guard Kyle Camper hadn’t broken his foot, this would at least a two or three win team.

335. Southern

It’s pretty amazing how close teams 332-335 really are. I mean, Southern has played a tour de force of competition early in the year with games at Wisconsin, Oklahoma State and Florida. Sure they lost to the Gators by 56 and the Badgers by 54, but man did they hang tough with the Cowboys, falling by only 15. With Florida beating Prairie View A & M by 61, it should be a shock to most that the Jags are behind the Panthers. Scroll to the fifth paragraph of this game story to see how bleak it really is.

336. St. Francis (NY)

Surely college basketball pundits will have some serious qualms with the 0-10 Terriers being No. 336 as there have been some really bad teams this year, but I feel like I got it right. The first nine losses were nothing to fans who remember the 1-26 ’93-’94 team (and don’t we all). But when the Terriers can’t even beat St. Francis (PA) in a game I’m titling The Battle of the Franciscans—even after the Red Flash were an hour late for tip-off because of traffic in the Lincoln Tunnel (not making that up)—you know it’s a down year.