We're now entering the final quarter of the college basketball season. Talk of bubbles, dancing, RPI, strength of schedule and Cinderella will soon dominate the conversation (if they haven't begun to already).
But there is one storyline of futility that still exists. Alcorn State and Bryant entered the weekend being the only two winless teams in Division I. The Braves finally took care of business, defeating Mississippi Valley State 55-54 at home Saturday night.
Now the lonely, harsh spotlight shines on Bryant. The team averages an NCAA-worst 51.7 points per game and doesn't have an eligible player averaging double-digits. Cecil Gresham was putting up nearly 15 points a game before he went down with an ACL injury in December. It was an omen for this season, certainly. The Bulldogs are 0-26 and have four games remaining on their schedule.
• Feb. 18: @ Wagner (4-23)
• Feb. 20: @ Mount Saint Mary's (11-14)
• Feb. 25: vs. Saint Francis (10-15)
• Feb. 27: vs. Long Island (10-15)
It's mounting pressure with each additional game to get a digit into the W column. Head coach Tim O'Shea understands that it could be the second team in three years to go an entire season without shaking hands as the victor.
Going 0-30 would be a record number of losses in a season without a win.
The Bulldogs reside in the Northeast Conference, but it doesn't yet qualify for the conference tourney, as the complete transition for the school to Division I doesn't reach its endgame until 2012.
Bryant University, a private school located in Smithfield, R.I., made the move to Division I less than three years ago. It reached the title game of the D-II playoffs in 2005.
But there are rules about jumping up to this level. The school can't play in the NCAA tournament right away and must wait until it can offer as many scholarships as other D-I teams. The struggle was anticipated.
This kind of infamy may not have been.