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More College Basketball

College Basketball Surprises

By Shawn Siegel

February 20th, 2005


College Basketball Surprises


Providence? Florida State? UNLV?  Why did we think these teams were good at the beginning of the year?  Who knows, but we do know that each year there are dozens of teams that fail to expectations.  Here are a list of the Top 10 most disappointing teams in the country.  Check back later in the week for the Top 10 teams who have exceeded expectations.


Top 10 Worst Surprises


10 – Illinois-Chicago

The Flames were great last year, running off 24 wins and 12 in the Horizon League.  With star guard Cedrick Banks back for his senior year, big things were again expected in Chi-town.  An opening day 1-point loss to Georgia Tech had fans optimistic.  Now we just realize that Georgia Tech was overrated and that the Flames have been an average HL team.  Banks' game has been particularly off, as his FG% has dropped from .440 to .383 and his 3P% has dropped from .431 to .337.


9 – Indiana

Regardless of what the talking heads on ESPN tell you, this team does not deserve to be within 1,000 miles of an NCAA Tournament site in March.  The Hoosiers have one road win all year, and that came over lowly Purdue.  And even if they beat struggling Michigan on the road today, they’ll still be on this list.


8 - Florida State

Perhaps FSU is only this list because we here at CHN mistakenly thought the ‘Noles might be one of the country’s surprise teams of the year.  Well, they were surprising.. surprisingly bad.  At least FSU wasted no time showing they’d disappoint, losing to Texas A&M Corpus Christi back in November.



You might be wondering how a team with 22 wins who at one point ran off 13 in a row could be on this list.  The answer is that I thought Syracuse was a serious National Title contender, but their recent play has been that of a middling Big East team.  The Orange are 2-4 in their last 6 Big East games, and Gerry McNamara has been in a major funk.  He’s 12 for 46 from three in his last 5 games, and you don’t need a calculator to realize that’s barely over 25%. 


6 – St Louis

This pick might surprise you, but the Billikens have historically been a solidly overachieving team that finishes in the upper half of the CUSA. Forget that.  After winning 18 games last year, SLU has struggled to a 7-17 record behind a putrid offensive attack.



With a new big name coach (Lon Kruger) and some highly respected seniors (like Odartey Blankson) we thought UNLV was primed for a big year following their 18-win 03-04 campaign.  Unfortunately, the Rebels have only recently been able to get above .500 thanks to a 3-game winning streak.



4 – Princeton

We thought Princeton would be right there competing for another Ivy League title.  Competitive early losses on the road at Duke, Syracuse, and Temple still had us believing.  But suddenly, the Tigers got off to a surprisingly bad 1-5 start in the Ivy League, including an embarrassing collapse at Penn.


3 – Providence

The Friars are not nearly as bad as their conference record suggests.  But, lots of close losses still adds up to a shockingly bad 1-11 Big East record.  Gomes solid 22 and 9 have gone to waste.  Was it a mistake for him to return to school?


2 - Georgia Tech

Sure, injuries have hurt this team, but the Jackets have one conference win of note (at home over Wake Forest) and no non-conference wins of note.  Before beating ACC doormat Clemson last week, GT’s only other road win on the season was a 1-point squeaker at UIC.


1 - Rhode Island

The Rams are simply awful.  After winning 20 games and making the NIT in 2004, Rhode Island is 4-18 right now.  To make things worse, they lost to lowly Saint Bonaventure, who has just 2 wins on the season!


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