College basketball rankings: The most underrated and overrated teams in the 2022-23 preseason AP Top 25 poll – CBS Sports

College basketball rankings: The most underrated and overrated teams in the 2022-23 preseason AP Top 25 poll - CBS Sports

When the preseason AP Top 25 poll dropped this time last year, I got going rain on so many parades as possible I stated UCLA overrated I said Kentucky was overrated. Ditto for a top-15 preseason team Oregon.

And, out loud, I was right on every count.

UCLA, ranked No. 2 in the preseason, finished outside the top 10 of the poll. Kentucky, ranked number 10 in the preseason, did not win the SEC and lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to number 15 seed Saint Peter’s. And Oregon, which was seeded No. 13, finished the season unseeded and missed its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2018.

It brings me no joy so much joy to say “I told you so.”

So which I’m inevitably right about again this year after Monday’s release of this season’s preseason AP Top 25? Which teams are too high in the preseason or too low? I consulted my crystal ball. I’m ready to crash some pre-season parties before they start.

Overrated

North Carolina

AP Top 25 preseason ranking: No. 1

North Carolina is a very good basketball team and easily ranks top-10 for me next season. Just not No. 1. Like UCLA last year, the magical NCAA Tournament run it’s coming off of distorted the reality of what it really was last season: which was just an OK team that got really hot at the end of the year. Remember: UNC at one point last season didn’t even look like it would be a tourney team. It had to catch fire down the stretch and then came in as a No. 8 seed. The return of four of five starters from its NCAA runner-up roster makes UNC an easy pick here, but UCLA’s similar trajectory over the past two years should serve as a cautionary tale for the Tar Heels and expectations surrounding them this season. A good team, not the #1 team.

Kansas

AP Top 25 preseason ranking: Tied for No. 5

To rank Kansas No. 5 in the AP poll — a Kansas team coming off an NCAA championship — seems perfectly reasonable. But considering the context of this team, it is too high. KU lost not only Final Four MOP Ochai Agbaji (and the actual Final Four MOP, David McCormack), but also Christian Braun and Remy Martin. It has some nice incoming pieces led by Gradey Dick and Texas Tech transfer Kevin McCullar, but I’m not convinced this is a definite top two team in the Big 12 — let alone a top five team nationally.

Indiana

AP Top 25 preseason ranking: 13

Someone has to step up in the Big Ten this season and there is no clear and obvious choice, so an unusual amount of preseason Hoosiers love. While Indiana could very well be the league’s best, No. 13 in the AP poll feels extremely generous. Yes, Trayce-Jackson Davis is back, as are most of the team’s starters. (Plus, freshman Jalen Hood-Schifino has star potential.) But this team just narrowly made the NCAA Tournament last season as a 12 seed. Expecting them to make the jump to #1 in the Big Ten is pretty asking. It is much more likely that IU finishes the season unranked than it is to finish as the winner of the Big Ten.

Underrated

Kentucky

AP Top 25 preseason ranking: 4

The injury (and subsequent surgery) to reigning national player of the year Oscar Tshiebwe is a concern worth monitoring, but if healthy, Kentucky is the clear #1 preseason team for me. UK has added a lot of shooting to address concerns from last year (Antonio Reeves and Cason Wallace can ball) and it should have some breakout vets who could be difference makers like Jacob Toppin, CJ Frederick and Daimion Collins.

Baylor

AP Top 25 preseason ranking: Tied for No. 5

Baylor is the best team in the Big 12. Period. The last two seasons, that distinction has led to two NCAA Tournament titles – first with Baylor and most recently with Kansas. It could certainly go Baylor’s way again in 2022-23. Coach Scott Drew has a superstar freshman in Keyonte George, a cast of returning studs in LJ Cryer and Adam Flagler and a cast of supporting vets who could lead the Bruins back to the promised land.

Creighton

AP Top 25 preseason ranking: 9

The addition of Baylor Scheierman this offseason for Creighton may have been the single most underrated in college hoops. The reigning Summit League Player of the Year is a difference-making backcourt presence who can win it, handle it and distribute it. He joins a Creighton team that brings back Ryan Nembhard, Trey Alexander and Arthur Kaluma — all prospects who have pro potential. Oh, and Ryan Kalkbrenner? He is ours preseason Big East Player of the Year selection. This team has the weaponry to be the best in the Big East and could finish the regular season as a number 1 seed in tournament time.

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