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tokyohenry
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bigblackNbeautiful
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Here is one

While it's easy to get caught up in the excitement and results of the NCAA tournament, a college basketball team deserves to be evaluated at season's end on the entirety of their work. So with this in mind, we're dishing out grades for every team based not only on what they did in March, but in the four months of play that preceded it.

We began Friday with the "Big" conferences -- East, Ten, 12 -- and Tuesday we've got the ACC, SEC, Pac-10 and a handful of top schools from outside the six major conferences for you.

Pac-10

Washington Huskies: B+
Great finish, but inconsistency on the road led to their usual third-place finish in the conference. Additionally, the off-court issue with Venoy Overton is not good for karma in Seattle. UW did win the Pac-10 tourney again, but was beaten twice by Washington State and blew several opportunities to beat UNC in the tournament.

UCLA Bruins: B+
On the strength of a good, solid bounce-back year, the Bruins came close to winning the league. On the other hand, they did get beaten badly in some road games and still cannot beat Florida.

Arizona Wildcats: A-
Tremendous finish to a solid season. The Wildcats clearly got better as the year went along.Derrick Williams became a household name by tournament's end and MoMo Jones went from a player they might run off to a go-to scoring guard. Sean Miller continues to establish himself as one of the top coaches in the game.

California Golden Bears: B
Lost entire starting five from the previous season, snuck into the NIT and actually won a game. Allen Crabbe was the Pac-10 freshman of the year, Jorge Gutierrez might have been the most improved player in the league and Cal was decent in what was supposed to be a down year.

USC Trojans: B
An up-and-down year that had high highs and low lows. USC did get into the NCAA tourney, but was VCU's first victim in the first four. Jio Fontan was never as lethal as his reputation, but Nikola Vucevic turned the corner with his consistency.

Arizona State Sun Devils: D-
Their drivers could not shoot, their shooters were not good enough athletes and this was the first bad year for Herb Sendek in a long time.

Stanford Cardinal: D+
Jeremy Green had a very good year, but the Cardinal's younger players never really contributed as often as they should have. Josh Owens had some big nights, but failed to give them enough down low to get into postseason play.

Washington State Cougars: C
Despite some on-court success, three different players had run-ins with the law involving marijuana during the season. Most notably, Klay Thompson was suspended for the Cougars' season finale, in which they lost at home to UCLA in overtime. If not for that loss, Wazzu might have reached the NCAA tourney. Thompson had some stellar moments, but a bizarre home loss to Stanford, a no-show in the NIT Final Four and the arrests leave a bitter taste in what should have been viewed as a solid season.

Oregon Ducks: A
They won a low-level postseason tourney (the CBI), and were ultra-competitive during the season despite losing six players when Dana Altman got the job. Joevan Catron really came into his own after losing weight and finding his role within their offense.

Oregon State Beavers: D
After more erratic play coming from Corvallis, the Beavers need to make next year a big one. They lost 14 of their last 18, and 10 of those losses were by double digits. OSU struggled to rebound and defend, while losses to Seattle and Texas Southern started them off poorly as well.

ACC

[+] EnlargeKendall Marshall
Andrew Shurtleff/US PresswireKendall Marshall's emergence made all the difference for UNC this season.

North Carolina Tar Heels: A
Won the league, got to the Elite Eight and returned to prominence as soon as Larry Drew II left. Now Tyler Zeller andJohn Henson are coming back to play with Kendall Marshall? They are a jump shooter away from being a national championship hopeful.

Duke Blue Devils: B+
Won ACC tourney for the 10th time in 13 years, but Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith did not return to make the Sweet 16. Additionally, Duke struggled in road games all year and probably was not as elite as the name or reputation would allow you to believe.

Florida State Seminoles: A-
Took VCU to overtime, survived the loss of Chris Singleton, beat Duke and generally improved as the season went on. Based on expectations and its run in the NCAAs, FSU had a very successful season.

Virginia Tech Hokies: C-
Injuries derailed the Hokies from the start, but their bubble status was all but eliminated after beating Duke … that is, until they dropped their last two down the stretch and missed The Dance yet again.

Clemson Tigers: B+
After an early season filled with strife as he learned to deal with his players, Brad Brownell found a style that worked and the Tigers played their best basketball late to sneak into the tourney. Maybe their legs gave out as their quick turnaround had them lose to WVU in the second round of The Dance, but still, Clemson won in March, something we rarely heard in the Oliver Purnell era. Good year.

Boston College Eagles: B+
Solid first year under Steve Donahue in that they just missed the NCAA. On the other hand, they did lose at home in the NIT, they did not reach the Dance and they did have an easy ACC schedule.

Maryland Terrapins: C-
They should have beaten several of the top teams they played, but point guard play and poor free throw shooting really hurt their chances. Losing four of five down the stretch displays just how disappointing their season was.

Virginia Cavaliers: C+
Year 2 under Tony Bennett featured a young team that looked improved late, as it won four of its last six. With Mike Scott back next year, postseason play is a must, but as far as 2011 goes, it was fine but nothing special.

Miami Hurricanes: C-
They did win seven of their last 12, but had the talent for so much more, like when they beat West Virginia. No true point guard and low field goal percentage killed them. Also, the U has no home-court advantage, unlike so many teams in the ACC.

North Carolina State Wolfpack: F
There were several near-upsets, but nothing of substance despite talent and the energy of a lot of youth. Tracy Smith getting injured disrupted them early, and Ryan Harrow was not ready to lead as had been presumed. NC State once again is trying to wake up the echoes of the past.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: D-
The positives included that they were not Wake Forest, and they did beat UNC. On the other hand, they were so bad that Paul Hewitt was paid $7 million to walk away.

Wake Forest Demon Deacons: F
Horrible. One of the worst teams in the history of the ACC. Jeff Bzdelik was a bizarre hire who was a massive flop in Year 1.

SEC

Kentucky Wildcats: A
This was a whole new team that won the SEC tourney and went to the Final Four. Some more road wins in conference would have been nice, but we can give youth a pass.

[+] EnlargeFlorida's Billy Donovan
AP Photo/Phil SandlinBilly Donovan's Florida Gators returned to elite status this season.

Florida Gators: A
Won the SEC and came within a bucket of going to the Final Four. Could their guards have used their big men better? Sure. And Chandler Parsons, you can come out now, the Butler game is over. Still, their nonconference wins, league championship and postseason success put them back among the elite in college basketball.

Vanderbilt Commodores: C
Another year, another early exit. Vandy was fun to watch, but it did not have the ability to make the big kill in the nonconference, on the road in conference, or in the NCAA tourney.

Tennessee Volunteers: D
For dysfunctional. This team was a mess, but somehow made the tournament, then was blown out by Michigan (which did not make a free throw in the win) and then Bruce Pearl was fired.

Mississippi Rebels: C-
Chris Warren and Ole Miss got off to such a bad start, there was little recovery possible, and an NIT first-round exit showed just how very average they were.

LSU Tigers: D
Trent Johnson finally has some guys coming in next season, but this season was just bad.

Mississippi State Bulldogs: D-
From not having their two best talents half the year to never being a cohesive team the rest of the year, MSU was a hot mess that showed faint signs of life toward the end of the season. Did I mention the team captain left school after he and Renardo Sidney got into a fight on national TV?

Arkansas Razorbacks: D
They did beat Kentucky, but when your coach is fired and no one shows up to what used to be the toughest place to win a game on the road in the SEC, something is wrong.

Alabama Crimson Tide: B+
Anthony Grant did a nice job of getting Alabama in contention to be on the bubble and then end up in MSG for the NIT. Defensively they were excellent, and Grant gets bonus points for recruiting VCU's guys who made their Final Four run.

Auburn Tigers: F
A terrible team that somehow beat Florida State. Not much to work with in Year 1 of the Tony Barbee era; the Tigers can only get better next season.

South Carolina Gamecocks: D
The luster is clearly gone from the star, as USC's player exodus has Darrin Horn searching for answers. Sam Muldrow gave them some big moments, but they were few and far between.

Georgia Bulldogs: B
Talent and defense got them to the NCAA tournament, but Trey Thompkins wanted to settle for jumpers too much and the rest of the team lacked both the ball handling and the shooting ability to truly compete.

Mid-majors of note

Butler Bulldogs: A
While it's true that we cannot judge a team based purely on the NCAA tournament, Butler did win its conference postseason tournament and a nonconference tournament, and finished in a three-way tie for the league championship. Matt Howard had an amazing year and Shelvin Mack continued to build his résumé as one of the greatest college guards of all time.

Gonzaga Bulldogs: A-
Maybe a little disappointing at times in the nonconference, and they were beaten really badly in the tourney, but the Bulldogs won their league, their tournament and won a game in the NCAAs.

Xavier Musketeers: A-
Hard to find fault with a completely dominant conference season and a late-season win over Georgia as well. There was some exposure against Marquette, but like the Zags and Butler, we cannot dismiss their conference success, and unlike the other two, they won their league outright.

Saint Mary's Gaels: B+
Fell apart late, starting with their stunning loss to San Diego, but had a very solid year before that. An early exit from the NIT confirmed that their season went south in March, but they still got a lot of use and production this season from Mickey McConnell, who had a great career.

San Diego State Aztecs: A
Won their league, conference tourney and went to the Sweet 16. Could we nitpick and point out the BYU loss at home? Sure. They went toe-to-toe with UConn before a laughably bad call against LaBradford Franklin changed that game forever, but the Huskies hit the gas and left them behind. Still, a magnificent year on the hill.

Brigham Young Cougars: A
Jimmer was national player of the year and they made the Sweet 16 after winning their league and surviving a huge suspension to Brandon Davies.

Virginia Commonwealth Rams: A
A Final Four run does override any ineptitude they may have had during the regular season.

Old Dominion Monarchs: A
Won their BracketBuster, lost on a buzzer shot to Butler in the tourney. This is a phenomenal program that has quietly been built by Blaine Taylor.

Utah State Aggies: A
Won their league and league tourney, was the picture of consistency, deserved a higher seed but couldn't come up with a first-round win.

bigblackNbeautiful
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Joined: 02/08/2010
Posts: 462
Points: 685
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Here is one

While it's easy to get caught up in the excitement and results of the NCAA tournament, a college basketball team deserves to be evaluated at season's end on the entirety of their work. So with this in mind, we're dishing out grades for every team based not only on what they did in March, but in the four months of play that preceded it.

We began Friday with the "Big" conferences -- East, Ten, 12 -- and Tuesday we've got the ACC, SEC, Pac-10 and a handful of top schools from outside the six major conferences for you.

Pac-10

Washington Huskies: B+
Great finish, but inconsistency on the road led to their usual third-place finish in the conference. Additionally, the off-court issue with Venoy Overton is not good for karma in Seattle. UW did win the Pac-10 tourney again, but was beaten twice by Washington State and blew several opportunities to beat UNC in the tournament.

UCLA Bruins: B+
On the strength of a good, solid bounce-back year, the Bruins came close to winning the league. On the other hand, they did get beaten badly in some road games and still cannot beat Florida.

Arizona Wildcats: A-
Tremendous finish to a solid season. The Wildcats clearly got better as the year went along.Derrick Williams became a household name by tournament's end and MoMo Jones went from a player they might run off to a go-to scoring guard. Sean Miller continues to establish himself as one of the top coaches in the game.

California Golden Bears: B
Lost entire starting five from the previous season, snuck into the NIT and actually won a game. Allen Crabbe was the Pac-10 freshman of the year, Jorge Gutierrez might have been the most improved player in the league and Cal was decent in what was supposed to be a down year.

USC Trojans: B
An up-and-down year that had high highs and low lows. USC did get into the NCAA tourney, but was VCU's first victim in the first four. Jio Fontan was never as lethal as his reputation, but Nikola Vucevic turned the corner with his consistency.

Arizona State Sun Devils: D-
Their drivers could not shoot, their shooters were not good enough athletes and this was the first bad year for Herb Sendek in a long time.

Stanford Cardinal: D+
Jeremy Green had a very good year, but the Cardinal's younger players never really contributed as often as they should have. Josh Owens had some big nights, but failed to give them enough down low to get into postseason play.

Washington State Cougars: C
Despite some on-court success, three different players had run-ins with the law involving marijuana during the season. Most notably, Klay Thompson was suspended for the Cougars' season finale, in which they lost at home to UCLA in overtime. If not for that loss, Wazzu might have reached the NCAA tourney. Thompson had some stellar moments, but a bizarre home loss to Stanford, a no-show in the NIT Final Four and the arrests leave a bitter taste in what should have been viewed as a solid season.

Oregon Ducks: A
They won a low-level postseason tourney (the CBI), and were ultra-competitive during the season despite losing six players when Dana Altman got the job. Joevan Catron really came into his own after losing weight and finding his role within their offense.

Oregon State Beavers: D
After more erratic play coming from Corvallis, the Beavers need to make next year a big one. They lost 14 of their last 18, and 10 of those losses were by double digits. OSU struggled to rebound and defend, while losses to Seattle and Texas Southern started them off poorly as well.

ACC

[+] EnlargeKendall Marshall
Andrew Shurtleff/US PresswireKendall Marshall's emergence made all the difference for UNC this season.

North Carolina Tar Heels: A
Won the league, got to the Elite Eight and returned to prominence as soon as Larry Drew II left. Now Tyler Zeller andJohn Henson are coming back to play with Kendall Marshall? They are a jump shooter away from being a national championship hopeful.

Duke Blue Devils: B+
Won ACC tourney for the 10th time in 13 years, but Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith did not return to make the Sweet 16. Additionally, Duke struggled in road games all year and probably was not as elite as the name or reputation would allow you to believe.

Florida State Seminoles: A-
Took VCU to overtime, survived the loss of Chris Singleton, beat Duke and generally improved as the season went on. Based on expectations and its run in the NCAAs, FSU had a very successful season.

Virginia Tech Hokies: C-
Injuries derailed the Hokies from the start, but their bubble status was all but eliminated after beating Duke … that is, until they dropped their last two down the stretch and missed The Dance yet again.

Clemson Tigers: B+
After an early season filled with strife as he learned to deal with his players, Brad Brownell found a style that worked and the Tigers played their best basketball late to sneak into the tourney. Maybe their legs gave out as their quick turnaround had them lose to WVU in the second round of The Dance, but still, Clemson won in March, something we rarely heard in the Oliver Purnell era. Good year.

Boston College Eagles: B+
Solid first year under Steve Donahue in that they just missed the NCAA. On the other hand, they did lose at home in the NIT, they did not reach the Dance and they did have an easy ACC schedule.

Maryland Terrapins: C-
They should have beaten several of the top teams they played, but point guard play and poor free throw shooting really hurt their chances. Losing four of five down the stretch displays just how disappointing their season was.

Virginia Cavaliers: C+
Year 2 under Tony Bennett featured a young team that looked improved late, as it won four of its last six. With Mike Scott back next year, postseason play is a must, but as far as 2011 goes, it was fine but nothing special.

Miami Hurricanes: C-
They did win seven of their last 12, but had the talent for so much more, like when they beat West Virginia. No true point guard and low field goal percentage killed them. Also, the U has no home-court advantage, unlike so many teams in the ACC.

North Carolina State Wolfpack: F
There were several near-upsets, but nothing of substance despite talent and the energy of a lot of youth. Tracy Smith getting injured disrupted them early, and Ryan Harrow was not ready to lead as had been presumed. NC State once again is trying to wake up the echoes of the past.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: D-
The positives included that they were not Wake Forest, and they did beat UNC. On the other hand, they were so bad that Paul Hewitt was paid $7 million to walk away.

Wake Forest Demon Deacons: F
Horrible. One of the worst teams in the history of the ACC. Jeff Bzdelik was a bizarre hire who was a massive flop in Year 1.

SEC

Kentucky Wildcats: A
This was a whole new team that won the SEC tourney and went to the Final Four. Some more road wins in conference would have been nice, but we can give youth a pass.

[+] EnlargeFlorida's Billy Donovan
AP Photo/Phil SandlinBilly Donovan's Florida Gators returned to elite status this season.

Florida Gators: A
Won the SEC and came within a bucket of going to the Final Four. Could their guards have used their big men better? Sure. And Chandler Parsons, you can come out now, the Butler game is over. Still, their nonconference wins, league championship and postseason success put them back among the elite in college basketball.

Vanderbilt Commodores: C
Another year, another early exit. Vandy was fun to watch, but it did not have the ability to make the big kill in the nonconference, on the road in conference, or in the NCAA tourney.

Tennessee Volunteers: D
For dysfunctional. This team was a mess, but somehow made the tournament, then was blown out by Michigan (which did not make a free throw in the win) and then Bruce Pearl was fired.

Mississippi Rebels: C-
Chris Warren and Ole Miss got off to such a bad start, there was little recovery possible, and an NIT first-round exit showed just how very average they were.

LSU Tigers: D
Trent Johnson finally has some guys coming in next season, but this season was just bad.

Mississippi State Bulldogs: D-
From not having their two best talents half the year to never being a cohesive team the rest of the year, MSU was a hot mess that showed faint signs of life toward the end of the season. Did I mention the team captain left school after he and Renardo Sidney got into a fight on national TV?

Arkansas Razorbacks: D
They did beat Kentucky, but when your coach is fired and no one shows up to what used to be the toughest place to win a game on the road in the SEC, something is wrong.

Alabama Crimson Tide: B+
Anthony Grant did a nice job of getting Alabama in contention to be on the bubble and then end up in MSG for the NIT. Defensively they were excellent, and Grant gets bonus points for recruiting VCU's guys who made their Final Four run.

Auburn Tigers: F
A terrible team that somehow beat Florida State. Not much to work with in Year 1 of the Tony Barbee era; the Tigers can only get better next season.

South Carolina Gamecocks: D
The luster is clearly gone from the star, as USC's player exodus has Darrin Horn searching for answers. Sam Muldrow gave them some big moments, but they were few and far between.

Georgia Bulldogs: B
Talent and defense got them to the NCAA tournament, but Trey Thompkins wanted to settle for jumpers too much and the rest of the team lacked both the ball handling and the shooting ability to truly compete.

Mid-majors of note

Butler Bulldogs: A
While it's true that we cannot judge a team based purely on the NCAA tournament, Butler did win its conference postseason tournament and a nonconference tournament, and finished in a three-way tie for the league championship. Matt Howard had an amazing year and Shelvin Mack continued to build his résumé as one of the greatest college guards of all time.

Gonzaga Bulldogs: A-
Maybe a little disappointing at times in the nonconference, and they were beaten really badly in the tourney, but the Bulldogs won their league, their tournament and won a game in the NCAAs.

Xavier Musketeers: A-
Hard to find fault with a completely dominant conference season and a late-season win over Georgia as well. There was some exposure against Marquette, but like the Zags and Butler, we cannot dismiss their conference success, and unlike the other two, they won their league outright.

Saint Mary's Gaels: B+
Fell apart late, starting with their stunning loss to San Diego, but had a very solid year before that. An early exit from the NIT confirmed that their season went south in March, but they still got a lot of use and production this season from Mickey McConnell, who had a great career.

San Diego State Aztecs: A
Won their league, conference tourney and went to the Sweet 16. Could we nitpick and point out the BYU loss at home? Sure. They went toe-to-toe with UConn before a laughably bad call against LaBradford Franklin changed that game forever, but the Huskies hit the gas and left them behind. Still, a magnificent year on the hill.

Brigham Young Cougars: A
Jimmer was national player of the year and they made the Sweet 16 after winning their league and surviving a huge suspension to Brandon Davies.

Virginia Commonwealth Rams: A
A Final Four run does override any ineptitude they may have had during the regular season.

Old Dominion Monarchs: A
Won their BracketBuster, lost on a buzzer shot to Butler in the tourney. This is a phenomenal program that has quietly been built by Blaine Taylor.

Utah State Aggies: A
Won their league and league tourney, was the picture of consistency, deserved a higher seed but couldn't come up with a first-round win.

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