As the season concludes, it might be useful to see where we have come from. So here’s a review of the season through nine notable predictions made on this site over the past year, some on the money, some so far off I wonder why anyone comes here:
Good: September 20, 2004. It is interesting that [Wake Forest is] getting a little more press than a team in their own conference, North Carolina, who also returns everyone from last season and has the only impact recruit between the two teams. Nobody would dispute that UNC was the better of the two this season. But back in September, a majority favored Wake to have the better season, which didn’t make sense to me at the time.
Not so good: November 4, 2004. It’s ridiculous to read anything into an exhibition game, but it’s not ridiculous to point out that [Kentucky] losing an experienced backcourt is a recipe for failing to meet high expectations. As it turned out the backcourt of Rondo/Sparks with supporting roles provided by Moss and Bradley was easily capable of guiding the Cats to an SEC championship and on a trip deep into the tournament.
Good: August 11, 2004. Sure, the ‘Cuse will be better this year. But if they prove to be a top 5 team, it would be a better coaching job by Jim Boeheim that the national championship run of two years ago. This was a result of a post on Pythagorean records from 2004 which showed that Syracuse’s performance from that season was not as good as it looked. Turns out Syracuse never could meet pre-season expectations for ’05.
Not so good: November 17th, 2004. How can Missouri’s Linas Kleiza not lead the Big XII in rebounding this season? In my defense, in the same post I said this: [Increased posting] will often result in some stupid things in this spot. But also in my defense, Kleiza posted huge rebounding numbers in ’04, averaging over eight boards in about 23 minutes a game. His rebounding percentage was 20.9%. By comparison, Wayne Simien’s figure for this season is 18.2%. This season, Kleiza developed a fear of the paint. His rebounding percentage dropped to 14.1% and despite more playing time, his average dropped to 7.6 and was fifth in the conference.
Good: January 5, 2005. There’s no way KU or its fans can have the same energy for this game [against Texas A&M] that they had for Georgia Tech. Predicting individual games is a foolish exercise, but for some reason I decided to do that with the Texas A&M at Kansas game on January 5th. Kansas was a heavy favorite, but the game wasn’t decided until the final minute in the classic letdown scenario.
Downright bad: August 6, 2004. Florida State was viewed as somewhat of a disappointment last year after having a great recruiting year. But even while losing Tim Pickett I would be shocked if they don’t make it to the dance in ’05. FSU finished tied for last in the ACC. Enough said.
Good: April 12th, 2004. George Karl launched his own campaign for the [UNLV] job and would have been a better choice. If there’s one thing I learned about the NBA from reading Basketball on Paper, it was that George Karl was an underappreciated coach. UNLV selected Lon Kruger, and had another lackluster season. Meanwhile, the then 17-25 Denver Nuggets hired Karl in mid-season and have gone 21-6 since. This doesn’t speak to how well Karl would run the off-the-court aspects of a college program, but clearly he knows how to manage talent.
Absolutely pathetic: January 9, 2005. Nobody likes an "I told you so," but I’ll say it in nine weeks when the Sun Devils are the Cinderella pick du jour to go to the Final Four. This was written after ASU had completed a Bay Area sweep of Stanford and Cal to improve to 13-2. The Sun Devils went 5-12 the rest of the way, concluding their season with a first round loss in the NIT. For the record, Arizona State was the only Pac-10 team to win at Cal and at Stanford. It goes to show you that judging a team based on two games can be hazardous to your credibility. As Ryan illustrated yesterday, my zeal for Diogu was overdone.
This sort of makes up for it: November 10th, 2004. I picked six teams that I thought would get at-large bids. The common bond among those teams was that they did not get a single vote in either of the preseason polls. Four of them got in the dance:Villanova, West Virginia, Saint Mary’s, and UCLA. (Actually, UCLA got four votes in the AP poll which I missed at the time.) Villanova and West Virginia made it to the second week of the tourney (that’s more than you can say for any team in the pre-season AP top 3) before getting reluctantly knocked out. One of the misses wasn’t disgraceful: Mew Mexico got a 12-seed after winning the Mountain West’s automatic bid. TCU was the only pick that was a total miss, though they did make the NIT quarters. There were four other teams that were at-large worthy (11-seed or higher) but did not get a pre-season vote: Minnesota, Iowa, Northern Iowa, and Nevada.