'04-'05 Season in Review

The Bisons finished yet another successful campaign in 2004-2005, going 18-11 with a win in the GSC tournament over Valdosta State. It was an interesting season for the GSC West, with a noticeable shift in the balance of power among teams. While HU stayed just above the middle of the pack, UAM and UCA had very strong years, especially in non-conference play. Billy McDaniel and Nate Newell gave the Boll Weevils a devastating (if inconsistent) inside-outside combo, while Lamar Grimes and company at UCA gelled under coach Rand Chappell and very nearly ran the table in the non-conference season.

The conference season was a different story, as Delta State came together and won seven of nine to start the year. Henderson State suffered through some internal problems and limped out of the gate at 3-7 before a strong finish. OBU was as strong as ever, and Christian Brothers also made a great run. There were seven contending teams (out of nine) for most of the year, so parity was the name of the game. The five teams that made the conference tournament all finished within a game, at either 11-5 or 10-6.

The Bisons were up-and-down to start the season, winning some close games (and losing one) against lesser opponents, but playing well against in-region teams like Alabama-Huntsville and Montevallo, which was in the national top five when the Bisons beat them on the road. The team was generally efficient on offense, reaching a rating of 95 in every game except the UALR game and breaking 120 five times. Defensively, things were a bit more erratic. There were great games against UALR (103), UAH (89.9) and Montevallo (103.3), but terrible games against Indiana Tech (126.1) and Southwest Baptist (119.2), which hit 18 of 43 attempted 3-pointers.

As it turned out, this would be the story of the season: average offense that is electric at times, and erratic (but improving) defense. The number of points scored and allowed doesn’t really tell the whole story in the GSC, since there are a handful of teams that really like to slow the game down. The Bisons’ worst defensive game actually came against UAM in a game where they gave up just 81 points (above average, but generally not terrible). The kicker? There were only 61 possessions for UAM in the game, seven below the average that Harding allowed for the season. The bright spot for that performance was that it was just the second conference game, and the team was mostly average the rest of the season. Still, the Bisons were next to last in defensive efficiency, while they were fifth, right in the middle of the offensive efficiency rankings.

UAM and Ouachita both swept their series with the Bisons, but HU’s two wins over a usually-strong Henderson State team got them in the conference tournament once again. Once in Tupelo, the Bisons demolished Valdosta State, which was limping into the postseason after being one of the top teams in the GSC East early on. The team met its match against Delta State in the second round, though, and failed to advance.

This year, the Bisons will be without the services of Edward and Emmanuel White, along with Rafael Franco and Jamaal Greene. I’ll look at the roster situation a bit later, and I’ll try to figure out who will get playing time while making almost completely unfounded assumptions about the incoming talent.

I know it may be hard for some of you to get psyched about basketball at the beginning of August, but I want to think it all through before I get too involved in football season and the baseball pennant races. So, just file this away for the future. And don’t forget “Midnight” Madness on October 17th.

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6 thoughts on “'04-'05 Season in Review

  1. I haven’t quite figured this one out, aare you a current student at HU? Former Bison player or current one? I share your passion for the Bisons, although relatively new. My son is the 6’9″ player who participated last year from NJ, Jacob Thies # 42. He played more and more as the year went along and was the key back up to Rafel. He has worked hard over the summer and looks to really contribute to Coach Morgan’s team this year. I will be making my first ever trip to see a game at the Rhodes come January 28th (Henderson State). Keep up the good work, I have enjoyed reading all of your articles. Do you write for the school paper? Did you know Steven Profaiser who was the editor of the Bison? Best to you. Gary Thies

  2. Thanks for the comment, Mr. Thies. I’m sorry I didn’t get around to approving the comment sooner (I didn’t even realize I had to do that until just now, as I was editing the schedule page).

    I am a current HU student, a senior accounting major, from Chattanooga, TN. I’m not on the Bison staff, but I enjoy writing, and I covered sports for my school paper in high school. My connection to the team is as an outsider, but also as a huge sports fan.

    I’m not much of an athlete myself, but I will be in the stands for every home game (and some road games). With your son being on the team, you’re already more connected than I am. I’ve only talked to Coach Morgan a handful of times myself, and I’ve never really known any of the players. Still, feel free to let Jacob and the rest of the team in on my site. I’d love to get some comments from them, and I’m hoping that this site and the Google Groups site I created will eventually drum up more interest.

    Thanks again for posting, and I hope you enjoy your visit in January. I’m sure you know that it will be an exciting game against Henderson State.

  3. Dear John, its been a while since I have checked out your site, glad you commented. I have forwarded your page to my son and hopes that you will get some replys. I personally think the Bisons will have a terrific year with the additions they have made and with the experience coming back. If you need a quote or want a “interview” for your page, why not contact Jacob directly at [e-mail address removed for privacy purposes]. Best of luck your senior year. Talk to you again.

    Gary Thies

  4. Thanks again for your thoughts. Hopefully next week’s Midnight Madness will get people talking about basketball again. I’m sure I’ll post some comments, and hopefully others will, too.

    Along the lines of what you said, I’d be willing to give posting privileges to any players who are willing to share their thoughts on games, my analysis, etc. All they need to do is register for a user name and let me know.

  5. John, I heard nothing but positives coming from Midnight Madness, also the new web page for Bison Athletics is a nice addition. I also have a daughter at HU, a junior who will be in the Court at Homecoming, my son will be her escort.
    On January 28 vs. Henderson State, if you see a rather tall, if not somewhat older man walking around the floor, I am supposed to do an interview on radio, I will be making my first Rhodes experience that night, come down and introduce yourself. I am praying you have a great senior year. Go Bisons!

  6. Midnight Madness was very exciting. Now I can’t wait to see the team in action! I’ll probably post a review soon, but I have grad school applications taking up most of my time for the next few days, so I guess that has to come first.

    I’m having a great year so far, and I’ll try to look for you on January 28th. Keep coming back here in the meantime, though. I love working with stats, and I’m reading some great reference works to improve my analysis. So, hopefully I’ll have some more interesting things to say in the coming months.

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