School basketball rankings: Most underrated and overrated groups within the preseason AP High 25 and Coaches Ballot

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Final 12 months, I accurately labeled North Carolina — then preseason No. 1, and later the primary preseason No. 1 in historical past to overlook the NCAA Match — a staff that on paper was overrated after sifting via the preseason polls. The 12 months earlier than, UCLA earned that very same label from yours really earlier than parlaying a preseason No. 2 rating right into a end outdoors the highest 10.

So which staff’s desires am I right here to sprint right now, you ask?

Properly, as a part of my annual overrated/underrated evaluation of the preseason AP High 25 and Coaches Polls, I come bearing excellent news and dangerous information. The excellent news: solely three groups landed as overrated by the voters within the polls. However the identical variety of groups additionally landed in my underrated bucket, that means by my estimation that the final consensus round them relative to how I view them is just not giving them their correct due.

These groups and their respective designations are beneath — led by a two groups ranked within the prime 10 in each the preseason AP High 25 and Coaches Ballot.

Overrated

Marquette

  • AP High 25 rating: 5
  • Coaches Ballot rating: 7

Marquette had a 29-win season final 12 months beneath then-second 12 months coach Shaka Good led by one of the crucial excessive octane offenses in faculty basketball. And whereas Tyler Kolek and Kam Jones are each again, two key items from a roster that nearly is completely the identical, I feel we could also be underestimating how important a loss O-Max Prosper is whenever you take away him from the equation. The time period “overrated” may be doing slightly an excessive amount of heavy lifting right here — I would rank Marquette someplace between 8 and 10 — however I can not spare the Golden Eagles, even when it is solely a marginal qualification.

Tennessee

  • AP High 25 rating: 9
  • Coaches Ballot rating: 10

Have we not discovered our lesson right here with Tennessee? This Vols staff led by coach Rick Barnes is nearly sure to have one of the crucial deadly defensive items within the sport. It’s also inevitably going to wrestle scoring the basketball. With Julian Phillips and Olivier Nkamhoua gone, amongst others, even the returning items of Zakai Zeigler, Josiah Jordan-James and Santiago Vescovi in all probability will not be sufficient to assist forestall this staff from being one of many least entertaining watches in faculty hoops. My guess right here is the protection is sweet, the offense is just not so good, and the staff falls someplace in between as a mid-to-upper-tier SEC squad. 

Gonzaga

  • AP High 25 rating: 11
  • Coaches Ballot rating: 12

Gary Parrish has Gonzaga ranked No. 19 in his newest High 25 (and one) and I are inclined to fall nearer to his aspect of issues with Gonzaga than the aspect of voters within the AP High 25 and Coaches Polls who had the Zags as a borderline prime 10 staff. Individuals in WCC land view Saint Mary’s as the highest canine within the land this season, not Gonzaga, and whereas the addition of Ryan Nembhard mixed with the return of Anton Watson ought to assist, shedding the likes of Julian Strawther and Drew Timme will undoubtedly present a much bigger problem than voters appear to be taking into consideration for coach Mark Few. 

Underrated

Kentucky

  • AP High 25 rating: 16
  • Coaches Ballot rating: 16

Kentucky is among the most polarizing groups perennially, and that’s very true this 12 months when you think about how broad the hole is between how voters view this staff and the way the betting markets view this staff. UK landed at No. 16 in each the preseason polls, however in betting markets, its odds to win the 2024 NCAA championship is 12-1 — tied for the second-best odds amongst all faculty hoops groups. 

Sure, shedding to No. 15 seed Saint Peter’s within the first spherical of the NCAA Match two years in the past was a disappointment not possible to overstate for a proud program like Kentucky, and sure, 22 wins and failing to make the second weekend of the NCAA Match final season is underperforming, however John Calipari together with his again to the wall has assembled one of the crucial electrical rosters of his tenure in Lexington led by the potential No. 1 choose within the 2024 NBA Draft in Justin Edwards. I feel we could also be factoring current failures an excessive amount of into projecting this UK staff. On paper this can be a clear top-10 roster from a expertise perspective, and I am not prepared to write down Calipari off. … but.

FAU

  • AP High 25 rating: 10
  • Coaches Ballot rating: 9

If Florida Atlantic was named as a substitute, say, Indiana, then I feel you possibly can make a case that the Hootin’ Owls might be preseason No. 1. After advancing all the best way to the 2023 Ultimate 4 and ending with 35 (!!) wins, FAU locked its coach all the way down to a long-term deal after which managed to safe all 5 starters from its staff again for an additional run. That must be sufficient to warrant top-five respect. As an alternative, it is barely within the top-10 in each polls. Disgrace, disgrace!

USC

  • AP High 25 rating: 21
  • Coaches Ballot rating: 22

The staff best-equipped to offer Arizona matches on the prime of the Pac-12 this season is probably going USC, which enrolls No. 2 general recruit Isaiah Collier and a top-three recruiting class so as to add to a roster that brings again All-Pac-12 performer Boogie Ellis in addition to Vincent Iwuchukwu, Kobe Johnson and Joshua Morgan. Even with heralded prospect Bronny James nonetheless in limbo as he works his manner again from a cardiac arrest this summer season, the Trojans have the products inside and outside to be harmful on each ends of the ground.





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