Which team had most disappointing November?
At the College Basketball Roundtable each week, we ask each member of the coverage staff for his opinion about a current topic in the sport.
Today’s question: We’re finished with November, so who has been the most disappointing team thus far?
Pat Forde’s answer:
Cincinnati. The Bearcats arranged a schedule that guaranteed 6-0 at this point – except they’re 4-2. They opened with six consecutive home games against inferior opponents, yet still managed to drop a shocker to Presbyterian (go, Blue Hose!) and another game to Marshall. In both cases, Cincy blew late leads – a 15-point advantage with less than nine minutes left against Presbyterian, and a seven-point lead with six minutes left against the Thundering Herd. (In fact, Cincinnati somehow turned that seven-point lead into a five-point deficit in fewer than four minutes against Marshall before rallying and forcing overtime.) Those lapses in poise shouldn’t happen to a team playing three seniors and a junior more than 30 minutes per game. Now the schedule gets tougher, with consecutive road games against Georgia and Xavier, and we all know about the Big East meat-grinder to come. For a team that began the season ranked in the top 25, this was not a November to remember.
[Radio: Forde’s take on scandals]
David Fox’s answer:
A program such as UCLA should never start a season 2-4 with losses to Loyola Marymount and Middle Tennessee. The Bruins’ only wins are over Division II Chaminade and Pepperdine, a bad West Coast Conference team. This should be a tournament team. The reasons for UCLA’s struggles are clear: the guards aren’t that good, Josh Smith’s conditioning is an issue and Ben Howland vs. Reeves Nelson has turned into the Bruce Weber vs. Demetri McCamey coaching tug-of-war of the year. I understand all the reasons UCLA is struggling now, but UCLA is too good of a program to have this kind of a start.
Mike Huguenin’s answer:
UCLA should be embarrassed by its start. But I’m still going with Drexel. The Dragons were the preseason pick in the Colonial. They didn’t really play anyone of note in November, yet still lost three times, to Norfolk State, Virginia and Saint Joseph’s. Drexel plays excellent defense, but the offense is a disaster. Coach Bruiser Flint always places a premium on defense, but the Dragons scored 140 points total in the three losses, including a 39-point outing against Virginia – a Cavs team that los to TCU, by the way. A team this challenged offensively is not going to win the Colonial.
[The Dagger: Utah State fans stage silent protest]
Steve Megargee’s answer:
UCLA was ranked 17th by The Associated Press and 20th in the coaches’ poll at the start of the season. The Bruins promptly opened with an 11-point loss to Loyola Marymount and a 20-point loss to Middle Tennessee. UCLA has since fallen to Kansas and Michigan. A team that opened the season with legitimate Sweet 16 aspirations staggered into December with a 2-4 record that included only one win over a Division I program. UCLA still has plenty of time to turn things around, but the first month of the Bruins’ season has been an absolute disaster.
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