2010 Hoops & Helmets - Notable Misses

Posted Mar 16, 2010

Which top-programs and traditional powers had problems in one or both of the major sports?

Hoops & Helmets 2010

The Notable Misses

By Richard Cirminiello

- Hoops & Helmets 2010

- Hoops & Helmets 2009
- Ooops & Helmets 2009
- Hoops & Helmets 2008

- Ooops & Helmets 2008 - The Worst BCS School Combinations
- Hoops & Helmets 2007

…and then there are the 8 notable schools still pining for a big postseason game and something to cheer about.

8. Arizona State – Yeah, the basketball team won a bunch of games over the winter, but it mostly feasted on a weak schedule that included participating in a down year for the Pac-10. Welcome to the NIT, Sun Devils. Enjoy your stay. Dennis Erickson's team should be so lucky to compete in a second-tier postseason event. Arizona State continues to plummet in football, sinking to a 4-8 mark that was capped by an ugly season-ending six-game losing streak. Not only did the program lose regularly, but it was also boring, averaging a measly 18 points over the final 10 games.

7. Illinois – Had the enigmatic Illini basketball team nabbed one of the final at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament, this could have been avoided. It didn't, however, limping to the end of the regular season, finishing a mediocre 19-14, and settling for a spot in the NIT. At least Bruce Weber's kids kept things interesting from start to finish. Ron Zook's squad? Not so much. Despite what appeared to be enough offensive firepower for a rebound season, Illinois got off to a 1-6 start and didn't have enough in the tank to change the theme of the season. Since getting invited to the 2008 Rose Bowl, Illinois has 8-17 and 5-11 in Big Ten play.

6. NC State – The Wolfpack football team began the year as a trendy choice to sneak up on the rest of the ACC. It ended the season losing six of the final eight games and missing out on the postseason. Only Maryland and Virginia kept State from being the league's worst program, a far cry from where the bar had been set in August. The basketball team's best moments came in November and December, when the schedule included names, such as New Orleans and Georgia Southern. When the league portion of the schedule began, however, the Pack was exposed, never fully recovering from a slump in January and February. At 19-15 and 5-11 in the conference, an NIT bid awaits.

5. Michigan – These are, to put it mildly, lean times in Ann Arbor. Under Rich Rodriguez, the Wolverines are trying to dig out of their worst two-year stretch ever in football. A year after going 3-9, Michigan went a deceptive 5-7 that included an unthinkable last place tie with Indiana in the Big Ten. If a turnaround doesn't happen immediately, the program could be interviewing Coach Rod's successor in December. The situation was no more encouraging at Crisler Arena, where Michigan finished below .500 and out of postseason contention. For a team that began the year ranked and with high expectations, it was a disappointment that'll linger for a while.

4. Virginia – What in the world has happened in Charlottesville? Usually the home of steady, solid programs, both basketball and football have flopped again in 2009-10. Tony Bennett's first team has been streaky throughout the season, getting fat on the likes of Rider and Cleveland State early on before being schooled once ACC play started in January. The program is stuck in its worst three-year stretch in more than a decade. Al Groh finally overstayed his welcome with the football program, winning just three times, and much like the Cavalier cagers, ran out of gas and completely collapsed toward the end of the season. After evening its record at 3-3 on Oct. 17, Virginia failed to win another game.

3. Colorado – There appears to be no end in sight for the Buffs' hoops and helmets troubles. Making a perennial appearance in this area, neither program had much to crow about in the fall or winter. Dan Hawkins' football team finished below .500 for the fourth consecutive year, winning just three times and laboring to mount much of an offensive attack. In basketball, Jeff Bzdelik's young and thin team made some strides, but still hovered around break-even all season and failed to elevate out of the bottom half of the Big 12. Hope for the future centers around freshman and second-leading scorer Alec Burks.

2. Indiana – This is becoming an all-too-familiar occurrence for the Hoosier athletic program in March. The once-mighty Hoosier basketball program continues to struggle badly, wallowing near the bottom of the Big Ten and losing to the likes of Boston U. and Loyola (Md.) en route to going 10-21. Bill Lynch's football squad wasn't much better, finishing 4-8 overall and a league-worst 1-7 to join Michigan in the basement. After feasting on soft competition in September, IU got exposed in October and November, even getting bombarded, 47-7, by a bad Virginia team.

1. Washington State – The Cougars are mired in an unusually awful stretch in both major sports. It used to be that the basketball team could provide a boost to sagging fans looking for something to holler about. Not lately. Wazzu spent most of the season jostling with Oregon and Stanford for the cellar in a mediocre Pac-10. The Washington State football team was even worse, going 1-11 and ranking 119th and 120th nationally in total offense and total defense, respectively. Hey, at least women's volleyball made its return to the NCAA tourney for the first time since 2002.