Small Conference Game of the Day – January 19

After a rather entertaining win by Jacksonville over North Florida last night, it is time to turn our attention from the top of the mid-major/small conferences to the bottom…and I mean the very bottom.  While I did not intend to focus this early in the season on the woeful state of affairs that is Grambling State basketball, it would be a complete crime for this column to miss out on what may be their best chance for a victory all season.  So for today’s game: Jackson State at Grambling State, 6:00 PM Eastern (no tv or webstream unfortunately…or maybe we should say thankfully).

Jackson State has been woeful so far this season.  They sit at 1-14 overall with just a home win over Seattle University to their credit.  With the exception of home losses to some pretty weak teams from Alabama A&M and Alabama State, every loss of theirs has been by double digits.  Their RPI sits at 339 out of 347 teams, and the Pomeroy rating is only slightly better at 329.

All that having been said, Jackson State is clearly the favorite in this game.  While they may be bad, Grambling has been almost pathetically bad this season.  Grambling is coming off a one year postseason ban for low APR rates but is still being hit by significant sanctions…leaving them with only five scholarship players on the roster.  They are 0-15 on the season with an RPI of 346 out of 347 and a Pomeroy rating of 347 out of 347.  the only reason they are not dead last in RPI yet is their strength of schedule, having loaded up on guarantee games against Top 6 conference teams on the road.  KenPom has their actual rating score at .0044.  To put that in context, the team rated 346 is at .0471 – creating an absolutely huge margin between these two teams.

If Grambling can go winless on the season, they have a great shot at going down in history as one of the worst teams ever to play Division I hoops.  Their only loss that was not by 20 or more points so far was a 13 point loss to a 4-13 Alabama State team.  While tonight’s game will not be their last chance at a win (they still have Mississippi Valley state twice and the aforementioned Alabama State team at home among other games), this definitely appears to be the most winnable game left on their schedule.  And, as Griggs pointed out earlier, if this team can remain winless on the season, they are a shoe-in for the Annual Centenary Award, given to the worst Division I team every season.


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