State of '08: Michigan
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.
MICHIGAN STATE - Since Tom Izzo took over in 1995, Michigan State has never finished below .500 in Big East play, and has made the postseason for thirteen straight seasons. This year's squad has the look of Izzo's seventh team that advances to the Sweet Sixteen or beyond.
MICHIGAN - Its amazing how little success Michigan has had in the last decade under Brian Ellerbe and Tommy Amaker. One of the country's top programs from the 80's into the 90's hasn't been to the NCAA Tournament in 10 years, a streak which will certainly continue in 2009. John Beilein's rebuilding project will take some time.
WESTERN MICHIGAN - The best of Michigan's directional MAC programs, WMU has finished above .500 in conference play for the last seven seasons. This seven-year run includes four 20-win seasons, three postseason trips, and wins over quality programs such as Davidson & SIU last year, and Virginia Tech and San Diego State the previous season. We project the Broncos to make another run at the postseason in 08-09.
OAKLAND - Longtime coach Greg Kampe continues to do a great job at Oakland. He oversaw the move up from DII to D1 a decade ago, a transition that was surprisingly smooth. The Grizzlies made their first NCAA Tourney in 2005.. and were just a few baskets away from a return trip in 2007. OU will once again be a serious Summit League contender in 2009.
DETROIT - For much of the 90's, and up to as recently as 2005, Detroit was a consistent Horizon League power under long-time coach Perry Watson. But in part due to health problems, Watson has now been replaced by Ray McCallum, who hopes to return the Titans to that high level of play. It will take some time though as Detroit is coming off one of the worst season's in the programs history (just 6-23 against D1 opponents).
6. CENTRAL MICHIGAN - Outside of an amazing 2003 season, CMU hasn't had much to cheer about over the last twenty seasons. But third year coach Ernie Ziegler has brought an air of respectability to the program, as the past two seasons have seen improved play. 2009 could be the Chippewas best season since 2003's freak 2nd round NCAA Tourney run.
7. EASTERN MICHIGAN - The Eagles were one of the MAC's better teams in the 90's, but the last decade has been dismal. EMU hasn't finished above 200th in the RPI since 2000, and CHN projects another such season in 08-09.
Last: Maryland - Next: Mississippi
State of '08: The Introduction (& State list/links)