Team preview: Cleveland State

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

Updated: October 20, 2004, 4:47 PM ET
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Mike Garland enters the second year of his rebuilding campaign at Cleveland State with the knowledge that things can't get any worse. The Vikings lost their final 23 games last winter, including all 16 in the Horizon League regular season and one more in the tournament. Their last win came on Dec. 13 at Norfolk State.

The promise of a 4-2 start was crushed by an odds-defying run of attrition. In the season finale, a 62-36 pasting at Detroit in the first round of the Horizon League Tournament, the Vikings suited up seven players, two of them walk-ons. CSU players missed a combined 41 games because of injuries and 26 because of ineligibility.

"The one thing that came out of last season was that we grew stronger as a team and bonded,'' Garland said. "We became a more tight-knit group because we went through the adversity together. That's why we were able to compete late in the year when a lot of other teams would have just given up.''