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Old 01-28-2008, 05:59 PM   #1
ChrisKreager
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Default Underachievers

Which college team that had a string of good teams but never won a single title would you consider to be underachievers?

I'm looking for teams that never won the big one- not great teams that won one title and had some close calls. In other words, close but no cigar type of teams that were considered to be a bridesmaid.
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Old 01-28-2008, 06:14 PM   #2
NastaMaverick
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Talking Re: Underachievers

the Michigan Fab Five comes to mind.
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Old 01-28-2008, 06:19 PM   #3
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Default Re: Underachievers

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Originally Posted by NastaMaverick
the Michigan Fab Five comes to mind.

I think he meant no titles throughout the school's entire history.

St. John's is the first to come to mind.
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Old 01-28-2008, 06:48 PM   #4
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Default Re: Underachievers

Illinois, I guess. Always had good teams, but cannot get over that National Championship hump.

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Old 01-28-2008, 07:29 PM   #5
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Default Re: Underachievers

This is kind of an unfocused thread. Underachieving and not winning the title are two different things, so I don't really know what you're asking. And do you mean a specific era, or throughout a program's history?

Back to my first point....not winning a national title- be it a specific era for a program, or even throughout its entire history- isn't necessarily underachieving. With Maryland and Syracuse winning titles this decade, that leaves Illinois as the clear leader for best program without a national title.

You could argue that, considering the talent base in Chicago and throughout the state, that Illinois has slightly underachieved throughout its history even though it would rank in the top 20 for all-time best programs. But winning a national title involves a good deal of sheer luck in addition to talent. The '89 and '05 Illini teams are two of the best ever to not win a title. It took Sean May having the best game of his life and James Augustine having the worst game of his life for UNC to win the '05 title. It took Nick Anderson not boxing out on Sean Higgins for Michigan to beat Illinois in '89 at the last second.

If you're talking teams in a specific era, that's still hard to do. I guess Kansas losing in the Sweet 16 and 2nd round in '97 and '98, with Paul Pierce and Raef LaFrentz on the roster, qualifies. But they were great teams each year that simply got outplayed in a single-elimination format. It happens.
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Old 01-28-2008, 08:33 PM   #6
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Default Re: Underachievers

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Originally Posted by TheGame414
This is kind of an unfocused thread. Underachieving and not winning the title are two different things, so I don't really know what you're asking. And do you mean a specific era, or throughout a program's history?

I meanr a specific era.

That guy who mentioned the Fab Five- that will count. They should have won one.

I'll also throw in the Arizona teams from 2000-2003- IMO, those teams were better than the 1997 team that won it all.
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Old 01-29-2008, 12:07 AM   #7
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Default Re: Underachievers

Why should the Fab Five have definitely won a title? They weren't the better team either time. Duke was one of the greatest teams ever in 1992, against a Michigan team that was a No. 6 seed starting five freshmen. It was an unbelievable feat that they even made the title game that year.

I don't think they were better in 1993 than UNC, either. I don't think they were worse, necessarily, just not better. Michigan had the more talented starting lineup, but UNC was deeper and more balanced. (Statistically, the '93 Tar Heels compare very favorably with the '92 Duke team, even though they aren't historically considered as good.)

You mention the Arizona team from 2000-2003 and say those teams were better than the '97 team that won the title. Sure, a couple of those teams were. The 2001 team definitely was, the 2003 team may have been.

Why does it follow that they underachieved because they didn't win titles, while a supposedly lesser team did win one? The '97 Arizona team played a completely different set of opponents in a completely different tournament that featured a completely different set of circumstances.

These tournaments didn't happen in a vacuum.

So if Mike Dunleavy doesn't hit those three straight 3-pointers in the 2001 title game, that means Arizona is suddenly not underachievers? They were really, really good in 2001. They just happened to lose to an even better Duke team that had just as much NBA talent, if not more. Hell, 'Zona was fortunate to get past a really good Illinois team in the Elite Eight that had already beat them once that season.

Or the 2003 Arizona team. Very good team. Deep, talented, athletic, the pick of a lot of people to win it all from the very beginning of that season. They lost in the Elite Eight to an excellent Kansas team that had two lottery picks, the two best players on the floor, in Hinrich and Collison.

The other two Arizona teams in that era you mentioned, the 2000 and 2002 teams, were very young teams that actually far surpassed expectations for them entering those seasons, even though they ended up losing early in the tournament both years (I believe they lost in the 2nd round both years, though the '02 team may have gone to the Sweet 16...not sure). If I recall correctly, 'Zona was pretty banged up going into the 2000 tournament also.

This isn't the NBA playoffs. Lose once, you're done. It does stand to reason that the best team will win it all more often than not, but by a slight margin. Winning a national championship- not becoming a great team, winning 30+ games over a whole season, winning your conference, getting a No. 1 seed, all that stuff, but rather specifically winning six straight games in a single-elimination tournament to win the championship- involves as much luck as it does skill.

So not winning a national championship doesn't equate to underachieving. We're getting teams mentioned in here that were Top 5, Top 10 at bare minimum teams that WENT TO THE NATIONAL TITLE GAME. That isn't underachieving.

Teams that underachieve are the teams with the talent to contend that never come together, that have lots of talent but don't come close.

Last edited by TheGame414 : 01-29-2008 at 02:11 AM.
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