One month into the new college basketball season, some teams have surprised and others have underwhelmed. Here's a look at the five who have been most disappointing so far.
1. Boston College (3-6)
Thanks to the return of its three top players from a team that won six of its last nine ACC games last spring, Boston College entered the new season amid optimism the program was poised for a breakthrough. Only a month later, however, that optimism has long since faded. Boston College is off to a disastrous 3-6 start because of a defense that lacks the physicality or athleticism necessary to force turnovers, guard the 3-point line or keep opponents off the offensive glass. In all but two of Boston College's nine games this season, its opponent has scored 78 or more points and averaged more than 1.1 points per possession. The Eagles are also the worst rebounding team in the ACC, allowing opposing teams offensive rebounds on almost 37 percent of their misses. The duo of Olivier Hanlan and Ryan Anderson is a nice one-two punch on offense, but it hasn't been nearly enough to overcome the problems on the other end of the floor. Among Boston College's six losses are setbacks against mediocre Toledo, USC, and Purdue.
2. Maryland (5-4)
It's a sure sign of how poorly things have gone for Maryland this season when the Terps are grasping at moral victories after a loss to George Washington. Coach Mark Turgeon was quick to praise his team's effort even though Maryland needed a full court press-fueled comeback in the final four minutes just to make it interesting against the Colonials. The biggest reason for Maryland's four early-season losses are the point guard issues that have emerged since Seth Allen broke his foot in the preseason. Neither wing Dez Wells nor freshman point guard Roddy Peters have been able to set up their teammates for easy buckets, a problem reflected by the fact Maryland has 18 more turnovers than assists this season. All Maryland's problems wouldn't be solved by improved point guard play, though. The defense has only been mediocre so far and highly recruited Nick Faust and Shaquille Cleare aren't producing enough at either end.
3. UNLV (3-4)
For all the progress UNLV showed in their narrow loss at Arizona this past weekend, the Rebels still make this list because of their poor performances prior to their trip to Tuscon. They lost three home games, two respectable setbacks against Illinois and Arizona State and one shocker by 21 against UC Santa Barbara. UNLV lost Anthony Bennett, Mike Moser and Katin Reinhardt from last year's NCAA tournament team, but the hope for the Rebels entering the season was that better chemistry could help this team could match last year's accomplishments. So far that hasn't happened largely because the Rebels haven't been good enough offensively. They're 11th in the Mountain West in 3-point shooting (33.3 percent), 11th in free throw shooting (58.4 percent) and 11th in points per possession (0.97). Were it not for the offensive rebounding of Khem Birch and Roscoe Smith, the offense would be even worse. With Birch and Smith in the paint and Bryce Dejean-Jones and Kevin Olekaibe on the wings, UNLV has the talent to contend for an NCAA bid. The Rebels need improved point guard play and more perimeter scorers to emerge to take the pressure off Dejean-Jones late in games.
4. Marquette (5-4)
Four times, Marquette has had a chance this season to notch a marquee win. Each time, the Golden Eagles have come up short. Losses against Ohio State, Arizona State, San Diego State and Wisconsin have exposed the fact that Marquette is not yet at the level expected when the Golden Eagles were anointed preseason favorites in the Big East. They have not been quite as formidable as usual defensively and they're not getting nearly enough perimeter scoring to complement a strong frontcourt. With Vander Blue turning pro a year earlier than expected and highly touted freshman Duane Wilson out with a stress fracture, Marquette has lacked scoring punch. Derrick Wilson is a solid defensive-minded point guard better suited for the backup role than a starting job and Todd Mayo remains erratic and prone to mistakes off the floor that land him in the dog house. Jake Thomas is the team's lone outside shooting threat, but he doesn't bring much else and he hasn't been hitting consistently from behind the arc either. All hope is not lost since Marquette has faced a challenging schedule, but the backcourt play must improve for the Eagles to get where they hope to be by March.
5. Washington (4-4)
Nobody expected Washington to challenge for a Pac-12 title this season, but the Huskies at least figured to improve on a disappointing 18-16 record from a year ago. That looks far from certain now, however, with Washington having lost to the likes of UC Irvine and Boston College already this season in addition to barely escaping against Montana and Long Beach State at home. The problems for the Huskies are easy to diagnose. They're too reliant on their guards offensively and they neither have a rim protector nor guards who can stop dribble penetration on defense. The result is the Huskies are surrendering a staggering 84.1 points per game and are allowing teams to shoot 50.8 percent from the floor and 37.8 percent from behind the arc. C.J. Wilcox is one of the best scorers in the Pac-12, Nigel Williams-Goss has performed well at point guard as a freshman and Perris Blackwell is doing his best to provide interior scoring, but none of it will matter unless the Huskies improve dramatically defensively.
Others who have been disappointing: Georgia, Georgia State, La Salle, VCU, Virginia and Temple