We have reached the point in the season where, on an annual basis, the team that holds the No. 1 ranking in those silly news-service polls inevitably loses after ascending to that spot (sorry, Louisville). Then comes the just-as-annual lament that there are “no dominant teams.”
Remember when North Carolina lost two of its first three conference games in 2008-09? Probably not, because what you remember is the Tar Heels crushing their NCAA Tournament opponents like merlot grapes.
Remember when Syracuse lost at Notre Dame last season and no longer held an unbeaten record? No dominant teams, right? Except Kentucky was right there waiting to pick up the No. 1 ranking, and the Wildcats kept building toward dominance until they’d claimed the school’s eighth national title.
You may remember Indiana finished unbeaten in 1976, the last perfect NCAA champion. But the Hoosiers won their first Big Ten road game by only a basket over Ohio State, and in mid-January the Hoosiers only won by four at home over Purdue. Wonder if they were saying then: no dominant team.
Dominant teams are not revealed in January. They are revealed in March.
They are built in January.