State of '08: Massachusetts
Duke or Carolina? BC or UMASS? Gonzaga or Washington.. or Washington State? What is the best program in each state? While there's not much competition in Hawaii.. there are great debates to be had in loaded regions like California, North Carolina, and Texas. The State of '08 is a ranking of every program in every state.. based mostly on recent success (the last five years) mixed in with subjective factors such as conference prestige, historical success, and overall program direction.
For more info, check out the State of '08 introduction.
BOSTON COLLEGE - No other team in Massachusetts can boast of a Sweet Sixteen trip or multiple Top 25 finishes in the past decade. While BC is by no means a BCS power, the Eagles finished.500 or better in the ACC or Big East (prior to 06) from 2001 to 2007.
HOLY CROSS - From 2001 to 2007, Holy Cross was one of the nation's best mid-major programs, as the Crusaders made 4 NCAA Tournaments and were a close 4-point loss away from making a 5th. While there are definite signs of slippage, it will take another couple of bad seasons before they move down from this position.
UMASS - It's been a decade since UMASS last made the NCAA Tournament in 1998. That team was still a remnant of John Calipari's tenure, and there's only been minimal success in the following years. Travis Ford did a great job getting the program back on track in just three seasons, winning an A10 regular season title in 2007, and almost making the Big Dance last year with an RPI of 42. But Ford has bolted for T Boone's Oklahoma State money, so the future is once again a bit murky.
NORTHEASTERN - Ron Everhart did a solid job transforming Northeastern basketball, as the program won at least 19 games from 04 to 06. While Everhart never led the Huskies to the postseason, he helped them move up to the more competitive CAA, and put the program in position for future success. Current third year coach Bill Coen might finally get the Huskies over the postseason hump, as this year's squad should be one of the better teams in the conference (according to CHN'd preview).
BOSTON UNIVERSITY - After enjoying a nice stretch from 2002 to 2005, BU has fallen on lean times. Since that run of four postseason trips in a row (including one AE title in 02), the Terriers have failed to finish above 200th in the RPI. This year's team should be a little better, but a return to the postseason will have to wait.
6. HARVARD - Harvard hasn't been good in forever, and the odds of Tommy Amaker making a huge turnaround are slim. The program's biggest accomplishment in the past decade is merely finishing .500 in Ivy play (in 99,00,01,02 & 05). There's a good chance the 2009 squad will match that feat.
Last: Maryland - Next: Michigan
State of '08: The Introduction (& State list/links)