The Not So Elite 8: The 8 Most Disappointing Teams So Far in College Basketball
In every college basketball season in the history of the game, there are teams that are huge disappointments. Every year, there are teams that absolutely collapse and do not exceed their expectations. Each year, there are teams that start out in the Top 10 and quickly find themselves not receiving votes in current polls. The 2010-2011 season is no different. Let's take a look at the eight most disappointing teams in college basketball.
8. Syracuse Orange
Even though Syracuse is currently ranked 17th in the nation, they fall into the eight spot for the most disappointing team. After starting the season 18-0, Syracuse has lost four games in a row. Syracuse was once ranked as high as NO. 3 in the country and that’s what makes this team such a disappointment. Syracuse’s road does not get any easier because they face three Top 25 teams in the next four games.
7. Tennessee Volunteers
Tennessee is the seventh most disappointing team in college basketball. After starting the season 7-0 with wins over Villanova and Pittsburgh, they lost three games in a row to Oakland, Charlotte and USC. Tennessee also lost a non-conference game to the Charleston Cougars. Tennessee head coach Bruce Pearl was also suspended the first eight games of conference play for recruiting violations. Tennessee is now 4-2 in the SEC and currently not ranked.
6. Memphis Tigers
Memphis falls into the six spot for biggest disappointment. Memphis had great expectations. In the preseason, they were ranked 19th and had hopes of returning to the team they were with John Calipari. After losing non-conference games to Kansas, Georgetown and Tennessee, they started conference play with an 11-3 record. Playing in the weak Conference USA, they have lost two games and are 5-2. Memphis are currently unranked.
5. Baylor Bears
The Baylor Bears hold the No. 5 spot. In the preseason polls, the Bears were ranked No.14 in the nation. Head Coach Scott Drew and star player LaceDarius Dunn seemed very promising to lead the Bears as one of the top teams in the tough Big 12. After winding up 7-3 at the end of conference play, the Bears have a 4-3 record in Big 12 play. In conference play, Baylor has only beaten Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Colorado. Baylor has lost to Iowa State, Kansas and Kansas State. In the most recent poll, Baylor received the number one vote. Baylor was an elite eight team last season, and needs to improve greatly in order to go dancing again.
4. Gonzaga Bulldogs
Gonzaga is the No. 4 biggest disappointment in college basketball. In the preseason rankings Gonzaga was ranked No.12. Gonzaga is currently 14-8 and receiving zero votes in recent polls. They are struggling against ranked opponents—they have a record of 1-4 against teams in the top 25. After the first 10 games of the season, Gonzaga was 5-5 with key losses to Kansas State, Illinois and Notre Dame. Gonzaga’s best win this season was against a then top 10 Baylor Bears. The Zags did make the tournament last season, but have work to do if they plan on playing in March once again.
3. North Carolina Tar Heels
At 15-5, the Tar Heels hold the three spot for biggest disappointments. The Heels started the season ranked 9th and have squandered all the way down to not being ranked. After their first eleven games, the Heels had a record of 7-4. Although they have been a disappointment, Roy Williams and preseason All-American Harrison Barnes have lost one game since losing to Texas on December18th. They are still unranked, but on the verge of regaining a ranking by gathering 38 votes in the last poll. Last season, North Carolina failed to make the NCAA tournament. They must continue winning in a weak ACC in order to return to the big dance.
2. Michigan State Spartans
Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Spartans hold the slot for the second most disappointing team in college basketball. The Spartans were ranked No. 3 in the preseason polls and sunk to the level of receiving zero votes. The Spartans have had both on-court issues with scoring and off-court issues by having to dismiss junior guard Korie Lucious. The Spartans made it all the way to the Final Four last year but have suffered a dramatic turnaround. Although they have quality wins against then ranked Washington, and currently ranked Minnesota and Wisconsin, they have lost a total of eight games this year. Sparty has lost to Connecticut, Duke, Syracuse, Texas, Penn State, Illinois, Purdue and Michigan. The road to the end of the season is not easy, as they have to face a total of five more ranked teams.
1. Kansas State Wildcats
Kansas State is college basketball’s biggest disappointment so far in the 2010-2011 season. The Wildcats were ranked No. 2 in the preseason polls and have absolutely collapsed, receiving no votes in the latest polls. Last year, Frank Martin’s team made it all the way to the elite eight. This season, the Wildcats are struggling so badly they might not even get a bid to the tournament and would, at best, find themselves in the NIT.
Preseason All-American Jacob Pullen is being forced to do everything himself and the Wildcats are just not scoring enough or winning enough. They are ranked 89th, averaging 73.1 points per game. After starting 4-0, K-State has suffered defeats to Duke, Florida, UNLV, Oklahoma State, Colorado, Missouri, Texas A&M and Kansas, and find themselves at the 14-8 mark. With Virginia Tech and Gonzaga being disappointments as well, Kansas State’s best win came against the also disappointing 14-6 Baylor Bears.