State of '08: Washington
Duke or Carolina? BC or UMASS? Gonzaga or Washington.. or Washington State? What is the best program in each state? While there's not much competition in Hawaii.. there are great debates to be had in loaded regions like California, North Carolina, and Texas. The State of '08 is a ranking of every program in every state.. based mostly on recent success (the last five years) mixed in with subjective factors such as conference prestige, historical success, and overall program direction.
For more info, check out the State of '08 introduction.
GONZAGA - While NCAA Tournament wins have been more elusive than some Gonzaga fans would like, the Bulldogs run over the last decade is nothing short of spectacular. 10 straight NCAA Tournaments, 10 straight seasons with at least 23 wins, 9 of 10 seasons winning the WCC, multiple Sweet Sixteen trips, and multiple seasons finishing in the Top 25. And big shock, most pundits predict this year's squad will finish in the Top 10.
WASHINGTON - In '05 or '06, it looked like Lorenzo Romar's Huskies were about to become a basketball juggernaut (they finished 2005 with a Top 5 RPI). But after three straight tourneys, including two Sweet Sixteens, the program has regressed as Washington State has emerged. This year, the Huskies are merely looking to at least make the NIT for the first time in three seasons.
WASHINGTON STATE - Dick Bennett kick-started the new age of WSU basketball in 2003, and since taking over for pops, Tony Bennett has taken the program to another level. Back to back NCAA Tournament trips, let alone a Sweet Sixteen run last year, is shocking for a program that went 50 years without being decent. Still, WSU has to sustain the success before moving up this list.
EASTERN WASHINGTON - Earlier in the decade, EWU dominated Washington State in the RPI, surpassing the Cougars from 2000 to 2004. But outside of some Rodney Stuckey excitement, the last five years since EWU made the '04 tourney have been rather weak.
Last: Virginia - Next: Wisconsin (the last one!)
State of '08: The Introduction (& State list/links)