2008 started off as a year to forget for the city of Baltimore. Well, at least for the part of town that housed little old Coppin State University. In their first game of the new year, the Coppin State Eagles got their usual solid performances from guard Tywain McKee and forward Antwan Harrison, but it just wasn't enough, as the Eagles fell to Norfolk State by a final of 65-60.
The game continued a terrible slide for the team, marking their tenth loss in a row and their 14th in 15 games. Perhaps the only consolation (if you want to call it that) was the fact that it was the third time in that span that the team lost by less than 25 points.
Fast forward to five weeks ago, the night of Saturday, February 2. This time the Eagles were at home, and McKee had an off night, just off enough to leave the Eagles with a 56-48 loss to Delaware State on their home court.
At this point, most fans of the team were probably numb to the losing, because it was no longer fresh. That loss was their sixth in a row, and their 19th loss in a span of 21 games. The team at that point was fairly well buried at the bottom of the MEAC (Mid-Eastern) and players could already have been looking forward to next season.
They can't do that yet, though, because they're now in the NCAA Tournament.
"How on earth did that happen?" you ask. I wondered the same thing when I saw their victory in the conference tournament. Between their sudden rise to the tournament and their having a coach named Fang, it was too good to not write about.
Well, winning eight games in a row didn't take miracle after miracle, which isn't surprising. A lot of times you'll see a bit of regression towards the average over a season. Their streak consisted of four wins over the three teams down at the bottom of the conference with them, three wins over three teams that had beaten them by a total of seven points the first time around, and one solid win on the road against Florida A&M.