Two 28 Win Seasons and Nothing to Show For It

Two 28 Win Seasons and Nothing to Show For It


Veteran coach Cliff Ellis has done a superb job turning around Coastal Carolina. Prior to their NIT berth in 2010, the Chanticleers had not been to the postseason since 1993. It was during that 2010 season when CCU dominated the Big South, heading into the NIT with a 28-6 record. Unfortunately, the team was upset on their home floor by Winthrop in the Big South Conference Tournament final. The result was a trip to the NIT, where they lost in the first round to UAB.

In the 2010-2011, the story was exactly the same. Coastal Carolina dominated the Big South, finishing with a 16-2 conference record, three games up on their closest competitor. Surely it was obvious who the best team throughout the season was in the Big South. However, yet again, the team lost in the conference tournament, this time to UNC-Asheville. They again were granted a berth in the NIT for winning the conference, but the big prize remained elusive.

There were very good reasons for the Chanticleers late season slide during the 2010-2011 campaign. Two of their main contributors, Desmond Holloway and Kierre Greenwood, were gone. That is how a team who won 22 games in a row ended up losing four out of their last eight games. They were not the same team at the end of the year, but they were still the best team in the conference.

Coach Ellis has his squad built for success again heading into the 2011-2012 season, but what happens when they get back into the conference tournament? Some players on this team have suffered through two disappointing games that will haunt them when the situation arises once again. The real shame is that players like departed forward Chad Gray will never play in an NCAA Tournament despite leading his team to two consecutive 28 win seasons. But that is how it works; a few games in March mean everything in a conference like the Big South, whether it seems right or not. With the leadership of Sam McLaurin, Anthony Raffa, Kierre Greenwood and Danny Nieman, Coastal Carolina will have two more tries at making the big dance before the roster gets a pretty big overhaul. This is a group that can win 28 games again this year, but they would trade them all if they could just win that one that counts the most.

Read the in-depth men's basketball preview for this team