College Basketball's 5 Most Disappointing Teams in 2011-12

Doug BrodessCorrespondent IFebruary 22, 2012

College Basketball's 5 Most Disappointing Teams in 2011-12

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    It's frustrating to not perform up to your potential.

    It's very upsetting when, as a head coach or player, you expect to be challenging for championships, but you fall far short of that goal.

    The following programs started off the 2011-12 college basketball season with high hopes and big dreams.

    For them, however, this year has not turned out the way that they or many others anticipated. 

    Let's take a quick look at this year's five most disappointing teams in college basketball:

5. Xavier Musketeers

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    With no disrespect intended for either Temple or St. Louis, this was supposed to be Xavier's year to dominate the Atlantic 10 and then make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.

    Chris Mack's Musketeers started the 2011-12 season with a perfect 8-0 record and reached a No. 8 ranking.

    Then, "The Brawl" happened during the Xavier-Cincinnati game, and everything came unraveled.

    XU lost five of their next six games and have only played .500 ball (9-9) since then.

    What was going to be the perfect opportunity for Tu Holloway (pictured) to make his case for national Player of the Year honors has turned out to be a year where his numbers have fallen off and his reputation has taken a serious hit.

    Can Xavier (17-9; 8-4 Atlantic 10; third place) gather themselves and still get to the Dance? Their current RPI of 52 gives them no assurance of anything at this point.

4. UCLA Bruins

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    Even though UCLA lost both Tyler Honeycutt and Malcolm Lee to early NBA draft entry, Ben Howland's Bruins were supposed to have one of the deepest and most talented frontcourts in college basketball.

    Reeves Nelson and Joshua Smith were returning, plus transfer twins David and Travis Wear were becoming eligible.

    But life in Westwood has been anything but excellent.

    UCLA (15-12; 8-6 Pac 12; sixth place) opened the season by losing five of their first seven games, including losses to Loyola Marymount and Middle Tennessee.

    Nelson was dismissed from the team, Smith has still not become the force that he was supposed to be and the Wears have had to step into the spotlight instead of simply adding depth.

    The only way that the Bruins (with their RPI of 136) will make this year's NCAA Tournament is for them to win the Pac 12 postseason tournament. Not likely. 

3. Texas A&M Aggies

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    After going 24-9 last year and finishing third behind Kansas and Texas, the 2011-12 season was supposed to be a breakthrough year for Texas A&M basketball.

    Even with a new coach (Billy Kennedy) on campus, the Aggies were considered as one of the strong favorites to win the Big 12 conference.

    A&M, who started the season ranked No. 19 and going 8-1, has gone 5-12 since mid-December.

    In their last year in the Big 12, the Aggies have only gone 4-10 in conference play (currently eighth place)

    They have struggled for most of the season simply to put points on the board, averaging only 61.3 PPG (No. 309 in the nation).

    Instead of this year being a glorious last hurrah before departing for the SEC, it has been a substandard season of frustration.

2. Pittsburgh Panthers

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    Going into this season, Pitt had played in 10 straight NCAA Tournaments. During head coach Jamie Dixon's previous eight seasons, the Panthers have averaged 27 wins.

    It is safe to say that Pitt (15-13; 4-11 Big East; currently 13th place) will not be in the NCAA Tournament this year, and they will not win anything close to 27 games.

    The Panthers started off the season ranked No. 11 in the country, with hopes of battling UConn, Syracuse and Louisville for the conference title.

    After starting the 2011-12 season with an 11-1 record, Pitt lost a mind-blowing eight consecutive games.

    Two major events led to this sudden change. First, the impact of PG Tray Woodall missing six of those games was undeniable. Also, elite-level PF recruit Khem Birch left the team after 10 games (transferring to UNLV), causing shock waves to be sent through the program.

    It seemed that Dixon righted the ship, leading Pitt next to four consecutive wins. However, the Panthers are now in the middle of another four-game losing streak and the season is all but over.

1. UConn Huskies

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    Right or wrong, after you win an NCAA Championship, expectations go through the roof for the next season. People automatically talk about cutting down the nets again the following year.

    For UConn, even though they lost the team's heart and soul when Kemba Walker decided to enter the NBA draft, many people believed that they would be in the hunt for another title in 2011-12. They were returning most of the core of last year's team, including Preseason All-American selection, SG Jeremy Lamb. Equally important was Jim Calhoun's monster recruiting class that featured Andre Drummond (pictured) and Ryan Boatright.

    Most preseason rankings placed UConn in the top four, suggesting that they might be a No. 1 seed come March Madness time. 

    The Huskies (17-10; 7-8 Big East; currently 10th place) started off the season winning 12 of their first 13 games. But when they crossed over into conference play, Connecticut performed erratically, many times being outplayed by inferior opponents.

    After beating South Florida and St. John's to open Big East play, the defending champs have gone 5-8.

    For those who are wondering, UConn was 21-9 at the end of last season, losing four of their last five games before going on their miracle (11-consecutive wins) run through the conference tournament and then the NCAA Tournament.

    A similar accomplishment this March is not likely.