For better or worse, it's been memorable for TSU

Monday, February 17, 2003

dwilson

It's been a memorable season for the Tennessee State men's basketball team, a season filled with worsts and firsts.

The team is in the midst of a 17 game losing streak and is 2-21 overall. During the streak the average margin of victory for the Tigers' opponents is 22.8 points, and the Tigers have allowed over 100 points five times.

One loss is hard enough to swallow for any player or coach. Players and coaches sweat, bleed, yell, cuss, and cry their way through each day's practice hoping to improve in the next game. But for the Tigers that turnaround game hasn't arrived yet, and unless something changes it probably won't.

The fight between Eastern Kentucky and the Tigers was the worst. And if you were looking, you would have seen it coming.

But on Thursday, when Teresa Phillips stepped into the coach's box, something happened. For 40 minutes the team played hard and believed it had something to play for. The team lost, but by only the second smallest margin (15 points) during the streak.

Phillips stepping into the role of coach was like was like George 'Dubya inspecting Iraq's weapons himself. But there is a time for everything, and for Phillips to accept that responsibility is a testament to her character. It's also a statement to female coaches everywhere: Women are just as capable in a time of crisis.

For Tennessee State, the crisis continues, though. A season that started out hopeful has been tragically twisted by fate into a season that could, in the end, provide hope.

One thing is certain. ESPN will have the movie rights, because it has been a season on the brink.

It's Monday, and you're on the brink of a brand new week ahead:

Tuesday

  • Central nearly defeated Poplar Bluff at home a few weeks ago, and Notre Dame edged Central last week. Charleston smoked Notre Dame in the finals of the seMissourian Christmas Tournament as well as the regular season matchup. You do the math. Central continues its gauntlet-like schedule as it hosts the scariest team in the area. Ashton Farmer leads the Blue Jays into Tiger country at 7:30 p.m. Notre Dame visits Poplar Bluff at 7:30 p.m.

    Southeast hosts Western Illinois in a men's basketball game that, unlike most games after Christmas, won't impact the OVC Tournament. 7 p.m.

    Thursday

  • The Blues have found ways to win all season -- now if they could just find a way to pay their players. Here's a way for you to win: Successories is giving away mouse pads to the first 15,000 fans when the Blues host the crazy Canucks.

    Saturday

  • The hottest team in the OVC (Austin Peay) is coming to Cape Girardeau and eyeing its ninth win in a row. But Southeast has done well in its roll of spoiler this year. There's nothing like a good old-fashion upset to make your weekend. More incentive to win: It's the final home game of the season for the Indians. 7:30 p.m.

    Mike Tyson is under the weather and his fight with Clifford Etienne may be swept under the rug. Tyson missed three workouts last week and could postpone this week's comeback fight in Memphis. The last fight Tyson postponed was against Evander Holyfield because of back problems. The two eventually got together, but only three and a half ears finished the fight. Stay tuned.

    Southern Illinois University's basketball schedule looks rough from here on out. The Salukis host Creighton next week and enter the Missouri Valley Conference tournament in two. Wisconsin-Milwaukee is the on-deck hitter to face the dogs of Little Egypt.

    David Wilson is a sports writer for the Southeast Missourian and a student at Central High school. His column appears every Monday.

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