In Massachusetts, it has not been a great college basketball season, the Globe has learned. I can’t say what the future holds for the most part either. Expectations should remain low.
Realistically, Harvard is the only team left with a chance to make this season’s NCAA Tournament because the Ivy League is conducting its first conference tournament. The Crimson will still have to upset Princeton to make it. However, Harvard will be an Ivy League contender for years to come with its core of talented young players.
Boston College finished the season with 14 straight losses and lost 15 of its last 16, and although it’s not reflected in the record, the Eagles were an improved team. However, Jim Christian needs more players like freshman Ky Bowman. A bunch more.
UMass still has the Atlantic 10 tournament to play but the Minutemen are not going to win five straight games in Pittsburgh. Derek Kellogg does have some decent young talent in Luwane Pipkins, DeJon Jarreau, and Rashaan Holloway, so things should improve next season.
Boston University lost a tough, double-overtime game to Lehigh in the Patriot League tournament, and now Joe Jones loses his top three players. He’s facing a rebuilding job.
Northeastern loses its top two scorers and coach Bill Coen will need some of his young players, such as Bolden Brace, Jeremy Miller, and Anthony Green, to improve significantly.
The Billy Carmody/Princeton smart ball effect has not been realized at Holy Cross yet; next season – his third – should show some developments.
I’m not sure UMass Lowell is ready to break into the top of America East.
A look back at the final week of regular-season college basketball:
Elevator going up:
Jacksonville State: Of course everyone thinks this school is in Florida but it’s in Alabama; about 65 miles northeast of Birmingham. The most famous graduate is probably the lead singer of the group Alabama, Randy Owen. The Gamecocks won the Ohio Valley Conference title Saturday night and will be playing in their first NCAA Tournament.
Providence: The Friars are charging hard as the regular season ends, winning six in a row.
Seton Hall: Winning at Butler Saturday was the definition of grit as the Pirates fought to overcome a mild deficit, and now they’ve won seven of their last nine.
Wake Forest: It was a landmark week for the Danny Manning era in Winston-Salem as the Deacons upset Louisville and then beat Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. He has a chance to get Wake to the tournament ahead of schedule.
Western Michigan: The Broncos have won eight straight and nine of 10 to win the West Division of the Mid-American Conference. They’ve emerged as the biggest danger to Akron in the MAC.
Vanderbilt: A late surge, winning five of their last six, has pushed the Commodores to the cusp of the NCAA Tournament.
Escalator going down:
Belmont: After winning the OVC regular-season title by five games, the Bruins completely blew it by losing to Jacksonville State in the tournament semifinals and will now head to the NIT.
Cal: What a disastrous trip to the mountains for the Bears, who were paddled by Utah, 74-44, and followed that up with another dismal offensive performance, falling to Colorado, 54-46.
DePaul: There is never any improvement in Chicago as the Demons lost 13 of their last 14 games and finished the Big East regular season at 2-16.
Florida: The Gators finished on a bad note, dropping two of their last three, including a bad one to Vanderbilt Saturday.
Georgetown: There’s plenty of talk about how John Thompson III could be in trouble, but the school can’t replace him because his father is still very much involved in the program. Meanwhile, the Hoyas finished the regular season at 14-17 with a five-game losing streak.
Michigan State: A dismal regular season ended badly as Sparty lost their last two, at Illinois, 73-70, and at Maryland, 63-60 (when victimized by a Melo Trimble 3-pointer right at the end).
Missouri: A 7-23 season with a 2-16 SEC record ended with six straight losses. All that’s left is a probable loss in the first round of the SEC tournament followed by serious discussion of the direction of a once-proud program with the firing of coach Kim Anderson.
North Carolina State: Firing Mark Gottfried had no immediate impact as the Wolfpack lost three of four and finished the regular season at 15-16, 4-14. The 14 ACC losses are the most for the program since the 1992-93 team went 2-14.
TCU: The Frogs have lost seven straight, including consecutive home games by 1 point. They suffered a tough road lost at Oklahoma Saturday, falling, 73-68.
This week’s Final Four: Kansas, Villanova, Gonzaga, UCLA.
This week’s national champion: Kansas.Joe Sullivan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeSullivan