ESPN has it's college basketball analysts discussing the current state of college basketball. As with any discussion, top-ten lists are the order of the day and they're ranking the Top 10 programs of the last decade, the underrated programs, those primed for success now and in the future and the biggest underachievers. Lion in Oil took a look at the results of the ballots and found some shady business going on in the voting for underachievers. Four of the five voters ranked Michigan as the biggest failure in D-1, rightfully so given the size of the school, the athletic history and budget and the astounding lack of NCAA bids over the last decade. The fifth voter, Jay Bilas, sees things differently, however.
1. Arizona State
2. Oregon State
3. St. John's
4. Florida State
9. Kansas State
Bilas' old college teammate Tommy Amaker was the coach of the Wolverines until he was fired following this season. Do you think that may have contributed to Bilas leaving Michigan off the ballot while finding room for UCLA, which you may remember from the past two Final Fours. Surprisingly Bilas left Harvard, Amaker's new employer, off the list of underrated programs although he found room for national runner-up Ohio State on that ballot. He also resisted the temptation to include the Crimson as a program primed for success although that may have just been a case of an overzealous editor trying to protect some semblance of legitimacy.
His support of Amaker has been as unwavering as George Bush's support of the war in Iraq. After the Blue hired John Beilein as coach, Bilas gave an interview to the Detroit Free-Press and said he thought Beilein would be successful because Amaker "put (the program) in really solid footing, and I think Michigan owes him a debt of gratitude for doing that." In the same interview he says that Michigan hasn't done much of national relevancy in the last 40 years, a nice idea if you ignore the fact that they won a title and went to two other Final Fours in the last 18 years. He writes off their success because they cheated with the Fab Five. That's certainly not the case for such squeaky clean programs as Connecticut and Kentucky, two of his top-10 programs, right?