Ranking CBB’s Biggest Disappointments
5. North Carolina (13–6)
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Each of the following five teams had high expectations at the start of the 2012–2013 season, but things haven’t gone according to plan at all. We rank College Basketball’s Biggest Disappointments based on the hopes that each team harbored and how far short of them they’ve fallen.
The Tar Heels rank ninth in the country in scoring (78.9 PPG) but have averaged just 65.2 in their six defeats. Five of which have been to teams with strong resumes for the Big Dance: Butler, Indiana, Virginia, Miami (FL) and NC State (the sixth loss came at Texas).
Some folks are even calling for the head of Roy Williams in spite of UNC’s two national titles since 2005. That’s a bit harsh, but we agree that North Carolina is much too talented to look so frequently exposed.
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4. Kentucky (13–6)
It would have been asking a lot for the Wildcats to duplicate their dominant national championship campaign from a year ago. But with another batch of uber-talented recruits — Nerlens Noel, Archie Goodwin, Alex Poythress and Willie Cauley-Stein — we didn’t expect John Calipari’s squad to regress this much.
Yet entering Tuesday night’s must-win game at Ole Miss, Kentucky has already lost three times as many games as it did all of last season. This includes the end of its 55-game home winning streak (on Dec. 1 vs. Baylor) and a 12-point loss in embarrassing fashion to Texas A&M.
Forget living up to a way-too-high No. 3 preseason ranking. What these Wildcats hope to do is claw their way into the NCAA tournament. Currently rocking a tedious RPI ranking of 61, the reigning national champions could very well miss the Big Dance just one year later.
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3. Texas (9–10)
Those whispers that longtime coach Rick Barnes can’t maximize the talent he recruits to Austin have gotten noticeably louder. At the rate his Longhorns are going, Barnes is going to miss out on the Big Dance for the first time in 15 years at Texas.
Perhaps we should have seen this coming after the Longhorns dropped a 13-point decision to Division II Chaminade in their third game of the season. Their win over Texas Tech on Sunday brought a merciful end to a five-game losing streak to open up Big 12 play.
Yes, the year-long suspension of star guard Myck Kabongo is crushing and this is the youngest team in the country, but there’s no excuse for a losing season at a program as proud as Texas. Barnes could soon find himself as a former longtime Texas coach if he doesn’t turn things around soon.
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2. Florida State (11–8)
Normally so stout under Leonard Hamilton, the Seminoles have regressed to the middle of the defensive pack this season; their 66.8 PPG is tied for 192nd in that category. And FSU, the preseason No. 25 team, only goes as far as its defense can carry it.
The absence of burly forward Bernard James — now a member of the Dallas Mavericks — has made the team far more reliant on guard Michael Snaer, who hasn’t delivered (40.7% FG). And the losses have been ugly. Upset defeats at the hands of South Alabama, Mercer and Auburn; a 25-point blowout at home to intrastate rival Florida; and perhaps worst of all, a 36-point output in a Jan. 19 loss at Virginia.
Only if Florida State rediscovers its defensive mojo can it hope for a third straight Big Dance after winning the ACC tournament just last season.
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1. Old Dominion (2–17)
Though lacking the luster of CAA rivals VCU and George Mason, Old Dominion has perennially been a contender in the conference, having made the NCAA tournament four times in the past eight years and averaging 24 wins season in that span. ODU was once again projected to finish near the top of the conference, all of which makes the Monarchs’ disaster of a season rather shocking.
ODU’s offense has been ... well, offensive. It ranks near the bottom of the college rankings in PPG (308th at 60.8) and field goal percentage (332nd at 38.8%). Head coach Blaine Taylor made matters worse with a rambling Martin Luther King Day radio show that left fans utterly speechless.
For this season at least, these Monarchs have played more like peasants.
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