Which college basketball teams have had the best years after opening unranked? Here are five:
5. No. 12 Marquette » After graduating Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder, the Golden Eagles received 23 points in the preseason poll and were picked to finish seventh in the Big East, which sounded just about right at the time.
4. No. 15 New Mexico » The Lobos were the overlooked team of the Mountain West, receiving only nine points in the preseason poll, while UNLV (No. ?18) and San Diego State (No. 20) were ranked, but why? Steve Alford returned five of his top six scorers from a 28-7 team that won the conference and added 7-foot redshirt Alex Kirk (12.1 ppg, 8.2 rpg).
3. No. 11 Kansas State » The Wildcats received only 12 points in the preseason poll. Why this happened with eight of its top nine scorers back from an NCAA team that won 22 games is uncertain, though a coaching change from Frank Martin to Bruce Weber was a contributor.
2. No. 9 Miami » Despite Miami's celebrated size and experience and a promising first year under Jim Larranaga (20-13), few saw the ACC regular season champion Hurricanes coming. Miami had just eight points in the preseason poll.
1. No. 5 Georgetown » After losing their top three scorers in Jason Clark, Hollis Thompson and Henry Sims and falling to a double-digit seed in the NCAA for the third straight year, the Hoyas were justifiably dismissed, receiving nine points in the preseason AP poll and none in the coaches poll.
- Kevin Dunleavy