Somehow, someway, the unpredictable nature of NCAA basketball never fails to entertain basketball enthusiasts across the country.
So far, this year’s college basketball season has been defined by several massive upsets, in which teams like Georgetown have shown the potential to blow out some of the highest-ranked teams in the country. Parity in college basketball has grown over the past few years, and this is conveyed by the fact that #15 and #14 seeds in the NCAA Tournament have proven their ability to beat high profile teams such as Duke and Georgetown. This year has been no different, with the notable exceptions of Kentucky and UVA, two teams which have both been consistently dominant throughout their respective campaigns. However, there are still some teams that are hyped up more because of their names rather than what they prove on the court and other teams that are not recognized simply because they aren’t considered perennial basketball powerhouses.
Here are the three most overrated and three most underrated teams in college basketball:
Most Overrated #1: Ohio State Buckeyes
Before Big 10 conference play began, Ohio State beat up on cupcake teams such as High Point and NC A+T, finishing 11-2 in the non-conference. The Buckeyes played only two legitimate teams in Louisville and UNC, and the Buckeyes lost both games, giving doubters reason to hate on the team’s resume. The Buckeyes’ current conference play has lent credence to the haters, as Ohio State lost once to Iowa at home and then again on the road and also fell to Indiana. This team has not yet achieved an impressive, quality win yet this season, yet they were in the top 25 every week from Week 1 to Week 10.
Only recently have analysts and fans started to realize that this is a squad that probably deserves to be on the bubble for an NCAA tournament big until it gets a real quality win.
Most Overrated #2: Syracuse Orange
Syracuse was expected to be much better than they have been this year, but they are still considered a contender to make it into the NCAA tournament. During their non-conference play, they suffered losses to California and Michigan that didn’t look bad at the time, but look awful now that Michigan has collapsed and Cal has lost 5 straight in PAC12 conference play. They also had an atrocious late game collapse against Villanova at the Carrier Dome that would have given them a marquee win that they desperately needed. Currently, they have only one win against a quality team (Iowa), and they have lost three times in the Carrier Dome, where they have historically been unbeatable. The Orange desperately needs to prove itself and pick up a win against a good team in order to validate an NCAA tournament berth.
Most Overrated #3: Colorado State Rams
Not many people expected the Rams to be as good as they have been this year. To start the year, they ripped off 14 straight wins in a row. After that hot start, they dropped two in a row to New Mexico and Wyoming, but have not lost since. However, Colorado State has not beaten a single team in the RPI Top 50 and was defeated by the two legitimate teams that they have played so far this season. I have not been impressed by their resume or body of work thus far, as they padded their win total at the start of the year by playing subpar teams and they reaped the subsequent rewards for it. I will only believe in this team after they pull off a good win against a quality team.
Most Underrated #1: Stanford Cardinal
Stanford made some noise in the tournament last year by upsetting Kansas as a 10-seed. They return many of the same players from last year’s team, including dynamic scorer Chasson Randle, who has averaged 20.2 points per game this season. Stefan Nastic anchors the Stanford defense down low, averaging 7.2 rebounds per game. Stanford is a very smart team that is coached well and has the ability to play with anybody in the country. They have quality victories over Texas on the road and Washington at home. Their only bad loss is really their loss to UCLA on the road in double overtime. Stanford played a tough non-conference schedule, playing teams like Duke, BYU, and Texas and they will also play tough teams in the PAC12 such as Arizona and Washington. Beware of this veteran team once they get into the NCAA tournament.
Most Underrated #2: Miami Hurricanes
This team is a terrifying combination of seniority and skill, led by transfer point guard Angel Rodriguez. Recently, Miami demolished Duke 90-74 at Cameron Indoor even though they entered the contest as a 15.5-point underdog. They also have impressive wins over Syracuse at the Carrier Dome, NC State, and Florida at the start of the year. The one reason that they don’t get more recognition is that they lost to mid-major power Green Bay and Eastern Kentucky. They also have forgivable losses against Providence, UVA, and Notre Dame this season. This team deserves more recognition, and hopefully they will get it by the end of the year.
Most Underrated #3: Tulsa Golden Hurricanes
Tulsa, who moved to the AAC this year, started off the year abysmally. They lost to Oral Roberts and Southeastern Oklahoma State, and the Golden Hurricanes were blown out by the likes of Oklahoma St., Wichita St., and Oklahoma. Since their last loss to Oklahoma, however, they have won 9 games in a row and they are 7-0 in conference play. This team features some veterans from last year’s tourney team, and they are beginning to gel at the right time, as Tulsa recently beat both UCONN and Memphis in impressive fashion. It will be interesting to see if Tulsa can keep up their recent success or if they will fall apart at the end of the season.
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