Tuesday, February 02, 2010
In 2009 UConn and UNC battled for the #1 rank in the country. They battled for the nation's collective spot as NCAA Tournament Favorite. They eventually both found their way into the Final Four and North Carolina eventually took home the crown. In 2009 these two Elite NCAA Programs were the cream of the crop. In 2010, however, things are quite different.
With just over a month before we start sorting out the bubble teams to NCAA Tournament fringe members to NIT favorites, both North Carolina and UConn find themselves squarely on this bubble with momentum pulling them towards the NIT.
North Carolina started off the season strong. In their out of conference play they knocked off both Michigan St. and Ohio State while they were highly ranked. Sure they lost to Texas, Kentucky and Syracuse but those are all Top 5 teams and they all were on the road. No big deal right? Well then they lost to the College of Charleston. Just a bump in the road something easily moved on from. Since that College of Charleston loss the Tarheels have lost 4 of their their next 6 games (all ACC games) and sit just 1/2 game out of the ACC basement.
To UConn's credit this year they scheduled some big heavy hitters. The Huskies played Duke, Kentucky, Michigan and Texas this season. The problem? They lost to Michigan (whose terrible), Duke and Kentucky and while the win against Texas was huge, it isn't making up for their conference woes. The Huskies are 3-6 in Big East play (good for 13th in the conference) with several close losses and a few unacceptable ones. This poor conference record could get significantly worse as the Huskies are still slated to play # Nova, #3 Cuse and #6 WVU. And with the illness of Coach Calhoun this ship isn't showing any sign of turning around.
So here we sit just one year removed from UConn and UNC being #1 seeds and tournament favorites and both may not be present in your Bracket. Quite an amazing regression from two of the most storied universities in College Basketball.