In order to properly grade teams this season, I had to take the hype out and put in my own realistic expectations.
The most difficult thing to do is to not fully invest all of our end-of-the-season analysis on whether or not a team made the NCAA tournament or even how it did in March. Instead, much like the selection committee, I tried to take the entire body of work in determining grades.
Injuries are noted and tourney games played a role, but here is the most accurate depiction of how I thought your team performed throughout the season.
Temple: (29-6, 14-2) -- Grade: A- Phenomenal season that culminated in an A-10 tourney title. But the bad taste from the drubbing by Cornell in the NCAA tournament continues to drag the Owls down. Fran Dunphy, who has resurrected yet another Philly program, has done everything except find success in the tournament.
Xavier: (26-9, 14-2) -- Grade: A What began as a group of players led by a selfish star and an inexperienced coach became a very good team led by a confident, not arrogant player and a solid, developing young coach. Chris Mack found his voice and used his staff well to communicate, and though X lost in the Sweet 16 in double-OT to Kansas State, it was arguably the game of the tournament.
Richmond: (26-9, 13-3) -- Grade: A- A very solid year ended with an exposing loss to Saint Mary's in the NCAA tournament. With a ton of talent and coach Chris Mooney back, Richmond must find a way to stop a quality big man or else it could face a similar fate in the future. However, the Spiders were outstanding throughout most of the season.
Saint Louis: (23-13, 11-5) -- Grade: B You can expect this team to make a run in 2010-11. SLU had zero upperclassmen and got better and better as the season progressed.
Rhode Island: (26-10, 9-7) -- Grade: C There's talent to play in the big tourney, but the Rams' February collapses have become as commonplace as their January explosions.
Charlotte: (19-12, 9-7) -- Grade: D They are Rhode Island without the NIT run, and their coach was fired.
Dayton: (25-12, 8-8) -- Grade: B- If not for shoddy guard decision-making and an inability to score down the stretch, Dayton may have made a Sweet 16 run. But then the Flyers would not have won what's possibly the last NIT and their coach might be at Iowa.