Wednesday, April 10, 2002 Updated: April 19, 2:20 PM ET
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.
Luke Recker, left, and his Hawkeyes went in the opposite direction than Jared Jefferies' Hoosiers.
1. Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball (63 letters)
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. Jeff Utech
North Liberty, Iowa
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 ... John Seusy
Denver2. North Carolina men's basketball (52 letters)
I'm shocked that UNC basketball failed to make the list at all. It's bad enough to have a losing season, it's worse to finish tied for dead last in the ACC standings, it even worse to finish 8-20, it's terrible to lose to Hampton and Davidson, but it's unspeakable to lose to Hampton and Davidson on your home floor.
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. Ben Storer
College Park, Md.
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. Andrew Tarkowski
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. Richard Dixon
Dean Smith would be rolling over in his grave if he were dead. Steve Maughan
Nutley, N.J.3. Washington Capitals (49 letters)
Jaromir Jagr did not make the Capitals any better.
The city went nuts last summer with all of the Jordan rumors and then Jaromir Jagr coming to the Caps. People thought automatic Stanley Cup. Bondra and Jagr were supposed to be Jordan and Pippen. Lot of good he did, they can't even win the weakest division in the NHL. Not even a playoff berth. Tim Grisham
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. JT Warner
Boston4. Virginia men's basketball (37 letters)
The Virginia Cavaliers men's basketball team. This is a team that beat the No. 1 team in the country at the time in Duke, held an eight-point lead over eventual national champion Maryland with two minutes remaining, started 9-0 and was ranked No. 5 in the nation at one point.
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. John Conroy
Start season 14-2
Classic Virginia sports. Tyler Dick
Charlottesville, Va.5. Boston Red Sox (28 letters)
Not only did the Red Sox come into the 2001 season with the second-highest payroll in MLB, but they probably came into the season with the second-highest expectations. This was to be Boston's year with Nomar, Pedro and the addition of Manny.
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. John T
Brighton, Mass.6. Duke men's basketball (24 letters)
I've been a Duke fan my entire life, and there is no excuse why they didn't win it all this year. Sure you can blame the refs for not calling the mugging on Carlos Boozer as time ran off, or J-Will for missing the free-throw to send the game into OT; but the fact remains that when you are up by 17 in the second half to a team that you are supposed to dominate, you can't let them back into the game.
Aside from that, they should be the most disappointing team just for losing at FSU. Glenn Schneck
Winter Park, Fla.
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. Matt
New York7. Cincinnati men's basketball (19 letters)
If anything, Cincy should get it for the many years accumulating disappointment. Every March the swallows return to Capistrano, the buzzards return to Hinckley, and the Bearcats manage to boot it in an early round to Western A&T Teachers College or some other stiff.
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. Keith Naughton
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." Scott Gamel
Cincinnati8. Oregon State football (18 letters)
How does a team that's a national title contender before the season not even make one of the 300,000 bowl games? Come on. From the cover of SI to sub .500, that's disappointing. John Butchko
Morris Plains, N.J.9. Minnesota Vikings (15 letters)
Perennial playoff contenders; they essentially had the same team that made the NFC Championship game a year earlier (and got humiliated) and they didn't even come close to making the playoffs this time.
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. Chris
Bethlehem, Pa.10. New York Mets (13 letters)
They went from losing Game 5 in the 2000 World Series to just about winning every fifth game of the 2001 season. They couldn't find the offense that proved to be so timely during their postseason run.
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? Fahad Akhtar
New YorkOthers receiving votes