Team preview: Howard

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

Updated: October 20, 2004, 4:57 PM ET
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MEAC teams had better watch out for Howard this season.

Frankie Allen's Bisons were the unluckiest team in the league last season. Howard finished with a 6-22 record, but was so close to being a lot better.

The Bison lost 11 games by six points or less. Six times they lost on the final possession. All the close losses added up to a 4-14 league record and 10th-place finish.

The season ended in the first round of the MEAC Tournament with a fitting 60-59 loss to Morgan State. The Bears hit two free throws with 6.8 seconds left to win the game.

To Allen's credit, a 6-22 record was disappointing for Howard. A few years earlier, a 6-22 record might have gotten Allen elected mayor of Washington, D.C.

The veteran coach, who served as the head man at Virginia Tech and Tennessee State before coming to Howard, inherited one of the worst programs in America when he took over four years ago. It was a program that won four games in three years with three coaches during that time.

During his tenure with the Bison, Howard has already gotten to the MEAC title game once and showed remarkable improvement. Allen has put last year's misfortunes behind him and is ready for the 2004-05 season.

"Last year was tough with so many close losses and some of them were really bizarre,'' Allen said. "However, we're looking forward to this season. We've got most of our team back and have some new guys who can help us.''