Things could be worse Tuesday night for the San Jose State women's basketball team and first-year coach Jamie Craighead.
The Baylor team the Spartans are playing could still feature Brittney Griner, the 6-foot-8 star who brought dunking to the women's game.
Even with Griner now playing in the WNBA, the assignment is monumental. Ninth-ranked Baylor is 6-0 and winning by an average margin of more than 45 points.
"We all know who Baylor is and what the top 25 in the country have compared to what others have," Craighead said. "There are no blinders here as to what this game is. It's a chance to measure yourselves."
The historical ledger offers little promise for the Spartans, who were 22-38 the previous two seasons under Tim La Kose, and just 18-132 the five years before that.
Baylor, which won NCAA titles under coach Kim Mulkey in 2005 and 2012, has averaged 30 victories a year over the past decade.
Craighead isn't rattled. Hired from Sacramento State on Sept. 16 -- nearly a month after classes began -- she is implementing her up-tempo approach with a nine-player roster that includes four freshmen and no seniors. The Spartans won four of their first six games, then lost by 34 points last week to a UC Davis team that was 0-3.
"The team is doing great. They're doing everything they can do right now," said Craighead, who has lost two players to season-ending injuries. "I give them a lot of credit for fighting. It's going to be a process."
The Baylor game may be an unsightly part of that process, but Craighead is confident her players won't be timid.
"I think they'll go out and give it their very best. These kids have a lot pride," Craighead said. "Hopefully, they'll go in with a chip on their shoulder.
"Everybody wants a chance to go play somebody like Baylor. There's nothing to lose on our end, only gain."
Sophomore Tim Derksen, replacing Doolin in the starting lineup, has averaged 9.8 points the past five games, and junior guard Matt Glover has put on his playmaking hat, dishing 22 assists over that span.
USF is 3-2 since Doolin's exit, but the wins came against two teams with a combined 4-10 record, plus Division II Sonoma State. The real measuring stick comes Dec. 30 at Gonzaga -- the West Coast Conference powerhouse against whom Doolin scored 23 points as a freshman in a 96-91 overtime upset for the Dons.
Kidd, who became a perennial NBA All-Star, is off to a rocky 5-12 start in his debut season.
Haase, who averaged 7.2 points in his only season at Berkeley before transferring to Kansas, is 6-2 in his second year at UAB, thanks to a 63-59 upset of then-No. 16 North Carolina 63-59 on Sunday.
After 13 seasons as an assistant to Roy Williams at Kansas and UNC, Haase struggled with mixed emotions afterward. "I hated having to go shake his hand," he said, "but it's a special deal."
Follow Jeff Faraudo on Twitter at twitter.com/JeffFaraudo.