Never make too much --good or bad -- of one game.
They're words to live by in the world of college hoops, where radio and Internet bloviators are far too quick to bury any team or player that has one off night. This isn't college football, folks, and Duke's
With that in mind, here are four teams that were labeled "disappointments" after November losses but are now showing why we thought they'd be good in the first place:
The Spartans' lone defeat (to national-title contender UCLA) came after
The Vols' blowout loss to Texas got everyone (including the 'Bag) down on
Siena? You're right: no excuse. Don't look now, though, but the Cardinal could be a real player in the loaded Pac-10. Granted, the schedule has been weak (Stanford's best win was a virtual road game against Texas Tech on Saturday), but the Cardinal are a completely different team with 7-footer
Well, consecutive home losses to Boston College, Ohio and American (Ohio and American!?!) have certainly put Terps fans into a foul mood, and the five-year grace period following Williams's 2002 national title has ended. But I would still be surprised if Williams's job was in real trouble this season unless his team just quits on him during the ACC schedule (which I highly doubt will happen). Next season? That's another story.
The Terps' problems this season are pretty clear: they can't shoot and they don't take care of the ball. According to kenpom.com, Maryland's effective field-goal percentage (37.9) ranks 233rd in the nation, and its turnover percentage (23.9) is even worse, ranking 264th. (General)
Williams has also been a victim of his own success, losing three quality assistants to head-coaching jobs since the 2002 national title run:
2002: National Champion
2003: NCAA Regional Semis
2004: NCAA Second Round
2005: No NCAA bid
2006: No NCAA bid
2007: NCAA Second Round
Is help on the way in College Park? I'm not so sure. Williams has never been known as a workaholic recruiter, and while that hardly hurt him in the earlier part of this decade (the '02 champs didn't have a single high-school All-America), the renowned player-development program that produced Baxter,
It'll be up to them to make the Comcast Center a place that opponents fear again. Right now that's not the case.
Readers: help me out here. Send in your examples. I know that Georgetown's
I have to admit, I've always thought it was strange that
It might sound crazy for a team that has lost five straight, but give Cronin another year or two and Cincy will be a player in the Big East. It won't happen this season, not least because Cronin's quick-fix guys
We got plenty of response from Ole Miss fans after we gave
And let me get this straight: We're supposed to think Ole Miss is some sort of powerhouse now that it's beaten another dubiously undefeated team (Clemson)? As for some of the previous Soufflé winners reaching the Round of 16, look: decent teams sometimes put together horribly weak schedules. (
• We don't generally criticize referees here at the 'Bag (the fans make too big a deal over the zebras anyway), but the absurd technical foul whistled on Tennessee's
• Junk-defense alert: Texas brought out the box-and-one against Michigan State on Saturday (with the one on
• Raiders of the Lost Art: we've found the sky-hook! It's being used by Georgetown's
• Perhaps even more impressive than his points and rebounds against Duke were
• Is anyone else worried that
• Movies we're still hoping to see:
We're off next week, but make sure to send in plenty of questions for the next column. Happy new year!