This isn't exactly Gary Tuell's idea of an excellent adventure.
The Augusta State men's basketball team (3-2) plays at unbeaten Winston-Salem State tonight as the third game of a five-game road swing, which continues with a trip to Division I No. 20 Utah on Friday and NAIA defending champion and preseason No. 1 Life University next Wednesday.
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"I'm not having any fun right now," Tuell said. "I'm looking at four games in the next 11 days against a team that I think is No. 1 in Division II (Winston-Salem State), Utah who's in the Top 20 in Division I and Life who's No. 1 in the NAIA. Three of those (games) are on the road. That doesn't sound like fun to me.
"If you're a player it ought to be fun. But if you're a coach it's just one headache after another."
The Jaguars may be heading into Migraine Central when they take on the undefeated Rams (4-0), last year's Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Western Division champion. Last week, Winston-Salem State upended CIAA preseason favorite and Division II preseason No. 14 Virginia Union 78-72 on the road.
"If I had a vote, I'd vote them No. 1 in the country," Tuell said. "I don't know where they're going to be when the first (regular season) poll comes out, but they're going to be somewhere in the Top 10. I have no doubt about that. When you can go to Virginia Union and beat them at their place, that tells me all I need to know."
The Rams are led by 6-foot-3 guard Larry Patterson, who has been the team's most consistent scorer averaging 13.3 points a game. Tuell, though, is more worried about Winston-Salem's defense.
"We just have to execute on both ends of the floor and we have to shoot the ball well," he said. "Teams have not really shot the ball well against them. We just have to go in there and make some shots."
Festus Hawkins leads a balanced Augusta State scoring attack with 15 points per game, followed by Demetric Hymes-Taylor (14.8 ppg) and Gary Boodnikoff (11.8 ppg). The Jaguars have made 42 3-pointers through five games and are shooting 42 percent from beyond the arc.
"This game's not near as important as it would be three months from now," Tuell said. "This is the first dance, not the last dance."
Reach Chris Gay at (706) 868-1222.
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