College Basketball

The Lost Season – Why We’ll Want to Forget 2005

I can see the headlines already:  “March Madness Ratings Hit 10 Year Low,”  “Dick Vitale Falls Asleep During Sweet 16 Broadcast,” “JJ Redick Vows to Shoot From Halfcourt Only.”

Last March saw the clash of two titanic teams in the championship game.  The Illinois juggernaut against the star studded Chapel Hill globetrotters.  It was the dream matchup that fans hoped for all season, praying the teams made it to the big game.  Fans got their wish and the game did not disappoint.  

For obvious reasons, this year’s recent Illinois-Carolina game was slightly less electrifying.  As fans look at the desolate college landscape, many are asking themselves, What is there to hope for this year?This year fans are supposed to look to the other end of 15-501 for basketball exclellence, but the early season struggles of Duke and other favorites may indicate that 2005-06 will be a season we’d all rather forget.

It’s good to be excited about the regeneration of the sport, but this seems to be a rebuilding year for just about everybody. It has been well documented that the defending national champions lost 91% of their scoring from last year, including their top 7 players.  Slightly less well known is the turnover at Illinois, which lost 5 contributors and returns only one impact player in Dee Brown (One and a half if you count James Augustine).

Even the top teams are counting on young guns who are only just beginning to develop.  Three proud programs, Texas, Kentucky, and UConn, are depending on the so-called “experience” of sophomores Daniel Gibson, Rajon Rondo, and Rudy Gay, respectively.  These three are clearly precocious talents, but anyone labeling them “veterans” should wait a year, or two.

It’s true that SOMEBODY has to have bonafide veterans, but this year’s upperclassmen are less than inspiring.  Michigan State boasts 4 Junior or Senior starters from a Final Four squad a year ago.  However, most experts agree last year’s team overachieved.  Their early losses seem to support that case.

UConn’s big Junior Josh Boone is heir to the throne of Okafor and Villanueva, but has yet to mature.  His offensive game will need at least another year to become dominant, or even functional.  Right now his moves are about as fluid as an oak tree.

That leaves Duke, the pillar of strength upon which the whole season hinges.  Their stars are back.  The planets are aligned.  The ring is theirs to lose.  

So let’s go ahead and get it over with.  Hang their banner and we can think about next year.  I have the headline for that one already too:
College Basketball 2006 – Can Anyone Stop Drexel?

6 replies on “The Lost Season – Why We’ll Want to Forget 2005”

Are you kidding? How can you possibly write an article like this on the heels of a game like Gonzaga vs. Michigan State?  

Outside of North Carolina and Illinois, most other teams are returning tons of veteran leadership.  Duke, UConn, Michigan State, Gonzaga, Arizona, Nevada, Maryland, West Virginia, Oklahoma, I can list off more names, but there’s not enough room in this comment box.

Are you kidding… First of all, I hate Duke as much as anybody (see the name?) but I would hardly say they have had early season struggles.  I thought they were undefeated?  Was there a game I missed where they lost?  Just because they haven’t won every game by 20 doesn’t mean they are struggling.  Also I cite Trevor’s comment about the MSU-Gonzaga game. Furthermore, I fail to see how you’re ready to give up on Michigan State already.  Sure they had a bad loss to Hawaii in their first game, but it’s early.  If you are going to bash all of college basketball, at least write an article that is longer than 400 words explaining why.  I will now return to watching the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.  Thank You.

Boy, I’m good Good job by me of naming my comment the same as Trevor’s. Sorry guys, didn’t realize.  I will now hang my head in shame.

Sorta Duke’s not as great as everyone says. Williams and JJ are only two players people…

and I agree with Duke’s “early season struggles” to a certain degree. Excluding the game against St. Joe’s, Duke has not been winning by large margins. They are relying on last second game-winning shots. While it’s better to come away with a win, Coach K’s boys are fighting tooth and nail to the last second.

97-66 Yeah, they aren’t that good, that’s why they just beat Texas by 31 points.  Duke plays as well as they need to in order to win.  Just like they have for years, when they play better competition they show up big.  I still hate them.

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