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The Straw Men

February 13, 2010

Tired of discussing what's wrong with North Carolina with anyone and everyone who wants to talk basketball with me, I'm going to talk about what's wrong with UConn, Louisville, UCLA, Oklahoma, and Arizona. ESPN flashed up these teams on the screen during today's UNC-NC State game, and I believe they speak to the up and down cycles forced onto college programs by early departures and graduation.

Last season, UConn, Louisville, UCLA, Oklahoma, and UNC all entered the NCAA Tournament as number one or two seeds hoping to cut down the nets in Detroit. This year all five might miss the Tournament. Throw in Arizona, who has the longest current streak of consecutive NCAA's, and this year's field looks drastically different than the traditional March guest list.
UConn
Jim Calhoun returned to coach the Huskies today against Cincy, but the result was a 60 to 48 loss. The Huskies have not been able to overcome the early departure of Hasheem Thabeet and the graduations of A.J. Price and Jeff Adrien, causing a 27-3 team from a year ago to sit at 14-11.

Louisville
A year ago, Louisville won the Big East Tourney and became a trendy pick to win it all. This season, after losing Terrance Williams and Earl Clark to the NBA, the Cardinals are 15-9 and only 6-5 in conference play.

UCLA
UCLA were a consummate pick to make the Final Four almost every year this past decade because no matter who left early for the NBA this team played stingy defense. At this point last season, the Bruins started an NBA backcourt in guards Darren Collison and Jrue Holliday. The team also started Josh Shipp, who now plays professionally overseas, but the train of players leaving Bill Walton's alma mater throughout the decade has finally made its way out of the station entirely; the giants of the Pac-10 are currently 6-5 in conference and an even worse 11-12 overall.

Oklahoma
The whole team left with Blake Griffin, who many thought this time last year was prepping to do his best Carmelo impersonation. Now, the Sooners are 13-11 and 4-6 in conference. Today they lost by 21 points to in state rival Oklahoma St., who was on a three-game losing streak.




In a strange twist of fate, this fall from grace does allow these traditional powers to clear the bandwagon, take on the role of the underdog, saddle up anew, and regain their punk edge, or they'll fall into a Wonderful World of syndicated abyss, like this long forgotten Disney classic.

14 comments:

Langston said...

Sorry Teach. If I had known I wouldn't have breached the subject. We only ask because they are a terribly interesting team no matter what their record is.

February 13, 2010 at 7:10 PM
Teach said...

I know. I may just be running out of material or ways to analyze them.

February 13, 2010 at 7:11 PM
Teach said...

Just don't bring up the fact that Pitt lost Blair, Sam Young, and LeVance Field and has still found a way to be ranked #23 in the nation

February 13, 2010 at 7:17 PM
Iceman, AD said...

This is depressing. Just give it a year fellas.

February 13, 2010 at 11:18 PM
berndon4 said...

at least Carolina won today...you're right though about Pitt, that's the same thing I was thinking when I saw their game Friday night.....Jamie Dixon must be a helluva a coach to lose what he did and still keep them relevant.

February 14, 2010 at 1:48 AM
舞台 said...

Make hay while the sun shines.........................................

February 14, 2010 at 2:19 AM
Teach said...

I love the quality spam that this desperate post attracted. Awesome.

February 14, 2010 at 10:02 AM
オテモヤン said...

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February 14, 2010 at 10:52 AM
Teach said...

seriously, i was joking...no more spam

February 14, 2010 at 1:14 PM
Iceman, AD said...

Asian Characters are not spam. You're a racist. Oops, 手コキ just gave me 6 viruses.

February 14, 2010 at 2:40 PM
reclining beach chair said...

Great post. I bookmarked it on reddit and digg!

February 15, 2010 at 6:11 AM
Deckfight said...

didn't villanova lose a whole bunch of people? they're still doing alright. (or did they lose a bunch of people the year before?)

February 15, 2010 at 9:16 PM
Langston said...

Deckfight: You are right, after last season they had to replace three starters and what was thought to be their best players.

February 15, 2010 at 10:20 PM
Teach said...

'Nova still has Scottie Reynolds though, which would be like UNC having Ellington this year. People always talk about Lawson and Hansbrough, but Ellington would have this team in the NCAA's. Anyway, in today's game, this happens to programs. Runs like Dean Smith had for thirty years are almost impossible now. Look at where Florida is after having won back to back titles.

February 15, 2010 at 10:47 PM

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