Duke’s National Championship and the Top 10 College Hoops Moments of 2010
It is that time of year again.
A time to reflect and look back on the year that was. In college basketball, the 2009-2010 season brought a lot of surprise teams and parity, and yet a blue blood ended up with the title anyway.
Here is a loot back at the top 10 moments including disappearing conferences, shocking downfalls, amazing comebacks and unbelievable streaks.
No. 10: NCAA Tournament Expansion
When the NCAA announced that it would be expanding its college basketball tournament, many coaches jumped for joy while others just thought the idea was certifiably insane.
Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg would be in the group who agreed with the former as he has seen his Hokies post seemingly good enough records the last two years only to fall short on Selection Sunday.
If some had their way, instead of the expansion that was made to 68, the tournament would have expanded to 96.
The idea had the support of Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany. But then again, he supported the idea of "Legends" and "Leaders" as the new expanded conference's division names which, like the 96-team tournament, went over like a lead balloon.
No. 9: Bob Huggins Shares Emotional Moment at Final Four
It wasn't the highlight of the West Virginia season nor Bob Huggins' career, but it was the coach's reaction to seeing one of his best players suffer a terrible knee injury.
Many joked that this was disturbing or faked, but how do you stage something like this?
When it comes down to it, no matter how much of a hard-ass a coach is and how much he may yell and scream, a guy like Huggins cares for his players and in this moment it showed.
No.8: UConn Women's Amazing Streak Continues
What can you say about the UConn women?
Sure, it isn't men's basketball, but to ignore the team's unbelievable streak culminating in another national title is to turn a blind eye toward greatness.
Geno Auriemma has built a dynasty that hasn't been seen since, well, Pat Summit did it at Tennessee. Still, Summit never had the kind of success that is currently continuing into the 2010-2011 season.
No. 7: Syracuse Loses To LeMoyne, Then Goes On Roll
Syracuse, despite losing to a Division II school, went on to become one of the top teams in 2010.
It all started with a shocking preseason loss at home to Le Moyne University. Many felt it was a sign of a down year for Syracuse.
Instead, Jim Boeheim regrouped his team and went on to win 30 games and the Orange were perhaps one injury away from getting to a Final Four.
No. 6: Pac-10 Woes
The 2010 season was not the year for the Pac-10 Conference in basketball.
Aside from Washington, which made a decent run in the NCAA Tournament, no traditional power made any significant noise.
Arizona and UCLA were just plain bad. While many talked about the fall of the mighty ACC, the real fall was in the Pac-10.
No. 5: Kentucky Lands Calipari and Dynamic Freshman Class
Kentucky, after suffering three years of mediocrity, the Big Blue Nation sent Billy Gillispie packing and brought in John Calipari.
All Calipari did was bring in one of the greatest freshman classes in the school's rich history. His team showed its skill, making it to the Elite Eight before falling to a much more experienced team.
But what a team it was, with essentially the starting five going in the first round of the NBA draft.
No. 4: The Fall of North Carolina
Much like Syracuse, a highly-ranked North Carolina suffered a stunning loss to a team it was suppose to beat handily.
Unlike Syracuse, the loss to College of Charleston counted and the season didn't get better, but much worse.
The Tar Heels were the defending national champions but failed to make the NCAA Tournament. Coach Roy Williams could do very little to save a season that seemed to dissolve in front of him.
North Carolina did win 20 games in 2010 thanks to a run to the NIT Finals where it lost to Dayton.
No 3: Northern Iowa Stuns No. 1 Kansas In NCAA Tournament
The Jayhawks were clearly the most talented team coming into the season and for most of the year they showed it.
They were rewarded with the top seed in the NCAA Tournament, but as the video above mentions, the Jayhawks did a lot of griping about how difficult the draw was.
Kansas then preceded to lose in the second round to Northern Iowa thanks to a heck of a shot by Ali Farokhmanesh, a name that will haunt the Jayhawks fans for the rest of their days.
No. 2: Butler's Amazing Run Comes Up Short
The Butler Bulldogs were the best Cinderella story of the year.
Coming out of the Horizon League in which they went undefeated, Butler took down every challenger it faced including Kansas State and Michigan State.
The Bulldogs made it to the Final Four, playing a stone's throw from its own historic Hinkle Fieldhouse, the location for the finals in the movie Hoosiers. The movie was mentioned countless times when discussing Butler.
Unfortunately, their miracle season came up short when Gordon Hayward's last-second shot clanked off the iron ending their improbable run.
No. 1: Duke Wins Fourth Title
Many had written Duke off as a fading national power.
The Blue Devils hadn't won a title since 2001 or reached a Final Four since 2004. Duke's detractors couldn't be happier and their fans were growing impatient.
The 2010 season didn't appear to be the year the Blue Devils would do it either, but Duke, behind senior Jon Scheyer and juniors Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler, found a way and were cutting the nets down.
As 2010 comes to a close, Duke fans are hoping for a repeat, but they shouldn't forget the improbable title that helped re-establish Duke as a national power.