Top Hoops Programs In Trouble - Part 2

Two weeks ago, in an effort to point out how many "top" programs are having difficult seasons, I went through 10 programs that I think belong in the top 50 of the country over the last 25 years and show how they, like the Gators are struggling to make this year's NCAA Tournament.

Now, after the Valentine's Day weekend, we update the records of those programs, acknowledging that only one, Louisville has a legit resume that would seem to warrant inclusion in the field of 65.

Here's a rundown of the programs with their records, conference records and averaging RPI. I used and InsideRPI for this analysis. If the average is a .5, I round it up in each case. Keep in mind that teams in the top 50 are in pretty decent shape. Also for some reason all of these teams have a better ranking with than the Inside RPI Daily.

Right now Florida is 17-8 (6-4), No. 59.

Louisville ---- 16-9 (7-5), No. 37 --- A Sunday win at Syracuse puts Rick Pitino and company in very good shape for the post-season, but it's still hard to believe they lost consecutive games to Charlotte and Western Carolina.

Connecticut --- 14-11 (4-8), No. 57 --- The return of Jim Calhoun has not created any magic at all for the second best basketball team in Storrs. UConn has lost 8-of-10.

North Carolina --- 14-11 (3-7), No. 70 --- It seems unthinkable to have the Tar Heels in this category but it's precisely where Roy Williams' team belongs. Other than College of Charleston they have no terrible losses, but they have no impressive wins either.

Arizona --- 13-12 (7-6), No. 85 --- The Wildcats recent four game winning streak has given way to a couple of bad losses which has its RPI plummeting. Amazingly the Pac-10 could be a one-bid league.

Oklahoma --- 13-11 (4-6), No. 91 --- Oklahoma has lost to VCU, San Diego, Houston, UTEP and Nebraska and it's getting worse. It's over for them.

Michigan --- 12-12 (5-7), No. 97 --- The one saving grace for the Wolverines is a ridiculously tough schedule, but that's not enough to make up for a .500 overall record. Losing to Northwestern twice and Indiana really hurts.

UCLA --- 11-13 (6-6), No. 123 --- The Bruins have simply lost too many guys to the pros to overcome. (Sound familiar?) They appear to be an NIT long shot at best which is amazing for a team that has spent most of this decade in the top ten.

Stanford --- 11-14 (5-6), No. 138 --- If a mighty tree falls on its face on the West Coast and no one seems to notice does it really matter? Pre-conference losses to Oral Roberts and San Diego lowered expectations significantly, but the Cardinal hasn't even gotten that high.

Indiana --- 9-15 (3-9), No. 172 --- OK, Indiana has been in a down cycle for a few years, but that doesn't change the fact that this is one of the historically great programs in college basketball history. Boston, George Mason and Loyola of Maryland are but three of their embarrassing losses. Xavier's Jordan Crawford would have done the Hoosiers (and the Gators) a favor by staying there.

LSU --- 9-16 (0-11), No. 206 --- This is the only team on this list to go winless in the last two weeks. The defending SEC Champion is having a nightmare of a season and no one is suffering more than all-everything forward Tasmin Mitchell who chose to return. There are no humiliating non-conference losses for the Tigers, but an oh-fer in league play is hideous.


We'll probably do another update on this list heading into conference tournament play or close to it. What this rundown clearly shows is that many other programs, some with better histories than Florida are experiencing the same sort of pain that the Gators are going through.

It's not likely to make anyone feel better about the Gators apparently heading to the NIT for the third year in a row, but it should add a touch of perspective. As frustrating as things may have been lately that it could be worse. Florida has more wins and fewer losses than any team on this list. Only Louisville and Connecticut boast a better combined RPI. There are two good things about all of this. First, it opens the door for other programs to perhaps make a move. Second, it could create the most star-studded NIT field since olden days when the NIT was bigger than the NCAA.

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