Now, it's possible that Army will put up its first winning season since Les Wothke's team went 16-13 in 1984-85. The Black Knights need eight wins in their last 19 games to pull it off. Army hasn't even won 10 games since 2001-02, but this team is charging to that mark. Not bad for a team that was predicted to finish last in the Patriot League preseason poll.
Army doesn't open league play until Jan. 6 at Colgate, but it seems safe to say: The Black Knights won't serve as the league doormat again. Army opened eyes early in the year, going 2-1 at the John Thompson Foundation Classic in Columbia Missouri.
Army beat Stetson 80-68, falling to Missouri 67-58, before beating North Carolina AT&T 63-49. Army erased all a 34-14 deficit, rallying to tie Missouri at 42 with 13:47 remaining.
A stingy defense and guards Jarrell Brown (18.8 points) per game and Matt Bell (15.2) have led the way for Army and freshmen are starting to chip in for the Black Knights. Freshman Chris Walker was named the Patriot League's "Rookie of the Week" last week. He averaged 17 points and 7.5 rebounds.
Unlike other Crews' teams, this team believes it can win, and that will mean a lot when Army plays at Notre Dame and Michigan later this month. The Black Knights will enter as underdogs, but expect them to fight, scrap, maybe even pull of an upset.
Army's early surge has to make Crews, a winner as player at Indiana in the mid-1970s and as a coach at Evansville up until his arrival to West Point, pleased. He's caught heat for the last few years, partly because former Army athletic director Rick Greenspan hired him, and the team struggled.
But Crews stuck to his philosophies and why not? Most of them were formed while playing for Bob Knight at Indiana. But don't think Crews or his team is becoming complacent.
The Patriot League schedule will be difficult and challenging, but hey, the way this team's been playing in developing, maybe the men's team can treat Army fans to a special season.
The Black Knights are certainly off to a good start.