It’s time for another look at college basketball from my co-host of Ballin Live..Brett Grant..this time out, he looks as the five biggest team disappointments at the Mid-point of the conference season.
Last week, we looked at College Basketball’s biggest surprise teams, so it’s only natural to look at the teams that have caused the most heartburn this season for their supporters.
If you go by the Associated Press preseason rankings, it’s pretty easy to spot these teams. Many factors play into teams having subpar seasons - things like injuries, suspensions, over valued talent and just poor performance. The surprising thing about this group of 5, is that each team is talented and has a BIG NAME at the helm.
There are multiple National Championships associated with these five schools - that’s why it’s so surprising. We aren’t talking about good programs having a down year, like Missouri. We are talking about GREAT programs having potentially disastrous years.
Of course, it’s only mid-February, and these teams could get hot and still make a run in their conference tournaments and thus forge entry into the NCAA Tourney. Then all would be forgiven…well, except for one team, that has thrown in the towel on the 2014-15 season.
5) Syracuse 16-9 (7-5 in ACC, 6th place)
This is the oddest team of the bunch, the Orange went from the national spotlight to hiding in the locker room. They cashed out their season chips on February 4th, when they self imposed punishments on innocent kids, punishment that include a post-season ban this year. With really NOBODY in charge of the NCAA these days, this violation must have been so bad that they really didn’t want to wait for the NCAA to get their house in order. They knew once the NCAA got wind of these violations (which we still have no idea what they are) the hammer would crush the Orange. A lost season for Jim Boeheim and the ‘Cuse. I hate punishing the players for the violations of the PAID people, but that’s what they did….time for Boeheim to step up the mic and tell us why they did what they did. I’m shocked this isn’t a bigger story, why is the national media giving them a free pass? It can’t be because Boeheim is so nice to the media….
4) Michigan 13-12 (6-7 in Big 10, 9th place)
The Wolverines are another team that deserves their spot on my list.. They have two 4 game losing streaks, one in December and the second is ongoing, looking to extend deep into February. John Beilein has been pulling his hair out with this bunch of underachievers. Sure, they lost Caris LaVert for a big stretch, but other big time performers like Spike Albrecht have had sub-par seasons. Big Blue is ice cold from the floor, quite frankly, they can’t shoot worth a lick at just 41% as a group this season, that ranks 267th in college basketball. If you can’t score, you can’t win.
3) Texas 17-8 (6-6 in Big 12, 7th place)
The Longhorns are playing better, but Rick Barnes’ team is a classic underachiever this season…well, it’s Texas, they do this most years. They get great talent, year in and year out, they have a MONSTER athletic budget, great support…yet, still can’t compete with Kansas. This group, with great size (they rank #5 in NCAA in rebounding) and skill, just can’t get it together. They have at times played terrific, as evidenced by their wins over West Virginia and Iowa, plus played pretty well in losing to Kentucky, but they went 2-6 to from early January through early February that left you scratching your head. Yes, they are recovering - the Horns have won three straight, but have to finish strong to make the NCAA tourney and if they don’t….they belong on this list.
2) UCONN 14-10 (7-5 in AAC, 5th place)
The reigning National Champions have been scuffling all season. They can’t shoot, rebound or win tight games down the stretch. Kevin Ollie’s bunch has lost four games by 1-2 points or in overtime. When you think of UConn hoops, you think of strong rebounding teams with great guard play. This bunch of Huskies ranks 158th in rebounding and 212th in assists per game. They have lost their way and thus their season, unless they get back to what makes them successful.
1) Florida 12-13 (5-7 in SEC, 9th place)
This one is simply remarkable, the quintessential WTF is going on in Gainesville. Billy Donovan is a great coach with a great program. This team was ranked #7 in the preseason polls, the Gators are without question the undisputed Most Disappointing team of this season. Defensively, the Gators numbers are pretty good, but on the offensive side of the ball, well, they are quite offensive. The Gators can’t finish games, they have six losses by one possession, if they can find a way to close out games, then can turn this season around. Seven conference losses in the improved SEC (four in a row) is simply shocking. They have lost four of six on the road thus far in the SEC, with trips to LSU & Kentucky still on the docket. The Gators are in danger of no post-season play, unless they get red hot, right now. Good luck….
Watch for more of the Superfan’s looks at the game of college basketball, right here on TheBasketballChannel.net