Team preview: Alabama State

Blue Ribbon Illustrated previews the 2004-05 college basketball season, exclusively on Insider.

Updated: October 20, 2004, 4:43 PM ET
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COACH AND PROGRAM

Despite its recent success, few knew what to expect out of Alabama State last season as coach Rob Spivery brought in a bevy of newcomers.

For the first couple of months of the season, those newcomers looked like a bunch of misfits, and it appeared as if the Hornets might suffer a surprising fall from grace.

Then all of a sudden in late January, Alabama State became the Alabama State the rest of the Southwestern Athletic Conference has become accustomed to seeing. Something clicked, the new players caught on to Spivery's defensive-oriented system, and the Hornets proceeded to win 10 of their final 12 regular-season games after a 1-5 start.

They finished second to Mississippi Valley State, then rattled off three straight wins in the SWAC Tournament to earn a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

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