|Readers' List: Disappointing teams|
Page 2 staff
After Page 2 ranked its choices for the 10 most disappointing teams of the past year, we asked you to submit your suggestions. Our readers came through with more than 900 e-mails, and apparently you're mostly a bunch of frustrated college hoops fans.
Check out the readers' list below and then vote in the poll at right to crown the No. 1 disappointing team of the past year.
This was a team that many picked to contend for the Big Ten conference crown. Even ESPN had them at No. 11 in their preseason poll. They were returning two Wooden semifinalists and were bringing in the runner-up to Eddy Curry for Illinois' Mr. Basketball award. The coach was highly touted as one of the new guard, stylish young coaches on the brink of greatness.
During the course of the season, the team seemed destined for greatness, beating Memphis and being eight seconds from beating Missouri in the Guardians' Classic. They actually climbed as high as No. 9 in the ESPN/USA Today poll after defeating then-No. 3 Missouri. Then the collapse occurred. They lost seven of their final nine games going into the conference tournament. Then, in an effort to rub salt into the wounds of fans that had believed this might be "the year," they staged an improbable second run through the Big Ten tournament, playing like every analyst thought possible for four days, coming up just short of a second conference championship and automatic bid to the dance.
Iowa finished 19-15 and mustered only five regular-season conference wins. Because of such an unfortunate collapse by a team that was so highly touted, I think Iowa is easily the most disappointing team this season.
Once ranked in the top ten, they started the Big Ten season with an 11-3 record (two of the losses by a combined three points and the other to Duke). They go a disappointing 8-12 in the conference to finish 19-15, get a generous invite to the NIT, and get bounced in the first round by LSU in a home game, for crying out loud.
I just named my new puppy Hawkeye, but am now thinking maybe it should have been Hoosier ...
2. North Carolina men's basketball (52 letters)
UNC might have been better off putting one of the school's intramural teams on the floor. After every loss, I expected Dean Smith to demand his name be taken off the arena.
Despite the losses of Joseph Forte, Brendon Haywood, Ronald Curry, and Julius Peppers, I still thought this team would earn an NCAA bid. But to finish 8-20 is a disappointment and for that program, a disgrace.
How could it be anything else? I don't think I really knew what to expect when the basketball season started up, but what I was being told was that UNC still had Lang and Capel, had a very good incoming class of freshmen, and that the Tar Heels were preseason top 25.
Then the reality started to set in. And it set in pretty fast, when the EA Sports All Stars (huh?) crushed North Carolina by more than 20. Then home losses to Hampton and Davidson. Then a narrow one-point survival vs Binghamton ...
8-20. Dear God, the North Carolina Tar Heels went 8-20.
This isn't the most disappointing team just because they were a preseason top 25 or anything like that. It's because it's the Tar Heels. I'm 25 years old. I had never in my lifetime seen UNC miss the NCAA tournament. Never seen a sub 20-win season. Never seen a losing record. It was so painful to watch. It was devastating to all North Carolina fans. That's why it's the most disappointing.
Dean Smith would be rolling over in his grave if he were dead.
3. Washington Capitals (49 letters)
Silver Spring, Md.
When they signed Jagr, they were supposed to be destined to be a championship caliber team. Yeah, whatever, at least this year they won't be beaten in the first round of the playoffs by the Penguins, because neither team made it. Year after year, they're supposed to be one player away from making a great run. They got a great player and they've failed miserably.
4. Virginia men's basketball (37 letters)
Sweet 16? Final 4?
Oh, no. They failed to even make the NCAA Tournament, finished 7-10 in the ACC (including their loss to N.C. State in the first round of the ACC tournament), and disappointed fans nationwide. They even made Joe Lunardi look like a genius.
Start season 14-2
Classic Virginia sports.
5. Boston Red Sox (28 letters)
Nomar goes down in spring training, Pedro's shoulder again hits the skids and Manny's torrid spring curbs off to a subpar second half of the year. Add all that together with the fact their clubhouse made the Bunker household look like an open-minded, caring and nurturing environment and you have the most disappointing season.
Most Red Sox fans don't even want to talk about last year, let alone remember it.
6. Duke men's basketball (24 letters)
Aside from that, they should be the most disappointing team just for losing at FSU.
With three of the top five players in the country on one team this has to be the most disappointing season for the Blue Devils ever. It's almost comparable to the Lakers having Kobe, Shaq and Kevin Garnett and not winning it all. Very sad indeed.
7. Cincinnati men's basketball (19 letters)
The tourney committee should go ahead and give a bye to the No. 7 or No. 8 seed in the second round and spare us the misery.
If only they had the heart of crosstown rival Xavier -- oh, wait a minute, they do.
They fight their way to a 30-3 regular season record, C-USA title, and No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament -- only to flame out in the second round to UCLA with befuddled looks on their faces as Steve Lavin ran coaching rings around Bob Huggins, which gave Donald Little time to plan his latest appearance on "Cops."
8. Oregon State football (18 letters)
9. Minnesota Vikings (15 letters)
And Randy Moss, well, what can you say that hasn't already been said? I almost wish the Eagles had drafted him, just because I would have loved to hear the reactions of the Philadelphia fans and media to that arrogant, disrespectful clown's "I'll play when I want to" comments.
I always thought they choked during the postseason, not during the regular season.
10. New York Mets (13 letters)
Sure, they had a nice quasi-comeback at the end of the year, but for all intents and purposes they were out of the race in a weak NL East in which the Braves had to fend off the Phillies by mid-August! How does that happen?
Others receiving votes