With a 57-50 win on the road over Hofstra University on Saturday, the Towson Tigers have now won five of its last six games to stand 15-13 on the season and 10-5 in the Colonial Athletic Conference (CAA). In doing so Towson has reached several win totals it had not reached in years. Below we’ll take a look at some milestones they have already accomplished and some they could reach with wins in its final three games.
Coming off a 1-31 season and with a boatload of talented freshmen and transfers coming into this season, there were expectations that Towson would be a much an improved team. Just how improved remained to be seen. Pat Skerry and the coaching staff understandably were hesitant to put a number on how many wins they felt this year’s team could achieve—after all coaches want to win them all—don’t they? In discussions with media members of other CAA teams, the prevailing thought was Towson would be better but possibly only marginally. Most of those that I spoke to had Towson winning anywhere from 7 games on the low end to a high of 11 or 12. Towson was ranked 10th out of 11 teams in the CAA Preseason Poll of media members, coaches and SID’s. Being familiar with the team and seeing first-hand the size and ability of Jerrelle Benimon, Bilal Dixon and Mike Burwell, I knew the Tigers would catch a lot of CAA teams by surprise. As a result of that, I had the Tigers pegged for 12 to 13 wins and maybe 14 if things went well.
Towson has exceeded all those predictions and with three games left to play, have an outside shot to set a record for the most improved team in NCAA Division I history since they began tracking the stat in 1974. By winning its final 3 games Towson would set a new record of a 17.5 game improvement.
Most Improved Teams in NCAA History
|Team||Season||Record||Prior Year Record||Improvement|
|N.C. A&T||1978||20-8||3-24||16.5 games|
|Murray State||1980||23-8||4-22||16.5 games|
|North Texas||1976||22-4||6-20||16 games|
|Ohio State||1999||27-9||8-22||16 games|
|Utah State||1983||20-9||4-23||15 games|
|Boston College||2001||27-5||11-19||15 games|
|Coastal Carolina||2010||28-7||11-20||15 games|
*The NCAA started keeping track of turnaround seasons starting in 1974.
(Chart provided courtesy of Towson Athletics)
Winning the final three games will not be an easy task as the Tigers host Drexel on Saturday Feb 23rd, then travel to George Mason for the final road game of the season on Feb 26th. Following those two games Towson will close out the season on Saturday March 2nd when they host Hofstra in a game that will mark the end of the Towson Center as home to the Tigers.
Now on to the some of the accomplishments the Tigers have already achieved. The 10 wins in the CAA guarantee the Tiger its first winning record ever in the CAA since they joined the conference in the 2000-01 season. The 15 wins are the most Towson has had in a season since the 2006-07 campaign. With one more victory Towson will be g have its first winning record since 1995-96.
During CAA play Towson has already swept the two game series with University of Delaware and UNC-Wilmington.
The two sweeps are the most Towson has had since the 2000-01 season. Towson has a chance to add to that total. With wins over Drexel and Hofstra, that would give the Tigers a season sweep over four teams, more than any season since they swept three teams in 1995-96 as members of the North Atlantic Conference.
Finally by winning the final three games and finishing 18-13 the Tigers would not only have the most improved record mark, they would register the most wins the program has had since the 1993-94 team went 21-9. To put that in perspective, current freshman point guard Jerome Hairston was born in August 1993 and fellow freshman Timajh Parker-Rivera was born in February 1994. Pat Skerry was an Assistant at Tufts University, his first coaching job. Assistant Coaches Luke Murray and Bruce Shingler were in middle school.
When the season ends and Towson has 15 or 18 wins or somewhere in between, it will be documented in the 2013-14 Towson media guide for many accomplishments. The season will end for Towson on March 2nd as they are ineligible for the CAA Tournament due to the low APR achieved prior to Skerry’s arrival. However, it is widely thought that Skerry is a leading candidate for CAA Coach of the Year and Benimon a leading candidate for Player of the Year. Those two honors would be a nice official recognition of everything the Tigers have achieved this season.
-Photo Courtsey of Towson Athletics-