Team preview: Mississippi Valley State

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

Updated: October 20, 2004, 5:06 PM ET
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The 2003-'04 season was a magical one in Itta Bena.

Despite losing two key senior starters from the previous year's team, Mississippi Valley State went 22-7 overall and 16-2 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference, cruising to its first regular-season title since the 1996-'97 season.

The Delta Devils finished the regular season on a nine-game winning streak, won the league title by five games and had a higher RPI than UCLA, Georgetown and Ohio State, among others, at season's end.

Yet, longtime Valley coach Lafayette Stribling couldn't have been more disappointed with how the season ended. A heavy favorite heading into the SWAC Tournament, Valley was ousted by eighth-seeded Alcorn, 67-66, in the opening round.