NCAAB: Overrated or Underrated

NCAAB: Overrated or Underrated

Overrated or Underrated
By Joe Nelson

Each week we will take a look at a few teams that may be undervalued or overvalued based on the national rankings with an eye to the postseason. Keep in mind the actual rating listed is from last week, we are projecting where the teams will be in the next poll to judge whether they will be overrated or underrated.

OVERRATED:

AP #9 Michigan State:
The Spartans are still the de-facto top team in the Big Ten but consider they only have faced Purdue, Wisconsin, and Illinois once each. MSU barely survived in a big comeback against the Badgers last weekend and face Illinois and Purdue in two of the next three games. If the Spartans win out they deserve this spot but they will still be a risky team to support in the Big Ten tournament and the NCAA tournament. Michigan State has lost four non-road games and got creamed by 18-points on the road against the #2 team in the league.

AP #21 Washington: At #21 the Huskies look about right but coming off a huge OT win at home over Arizona State the Huskies are sure to make a serious rise in the standings barring a loss at home against Arizona on Saturday. The Huskies will finish the season with four straight home games and if an upset is avoided along with a nice conference tournament run, the Huskies could receive a nice seed from the selection committee. There will be some favorable venues for Washington but this team struggled against quality teams in non-conference play and did not play well away from home in several Pac-10 games. Depending on the venue this could be an early upset-victim in March.

AP #25 Texas: The Longhorns figure to make a big jump in the rankings with the big win over Oklahoma but the victory should have an asterisk by it with the injury to Blake Griffin. Losses to Nebraska, Notre Dame, and Arkansas look ugly at this point in the season, not to mention two home losses in Big 12 play to Kansas State and Missouri. Texas also barely squeaked by in recent games against Texas Tech and Colorado. Early season wins over UCLA, Villanova, and Wisconsin will inflate the resume for the Longhorns but the Big 12 season has exposed a lot of issues of this team and the season should not extend far into March for a team that gets a lot of undeserved acclaim.

UNDERRATED:

AP #10 Villanova:
The other teams in the Big East have received more publicity all season but the Wildcats have a team that will be capable of a deep tournament run. All five losses this season came against high quality teams and this is a veteran team with a great deal of big game experience. The Wildcats will not win the Big East and winning the Big East conference tournament will be difficult given all the quality teams and the prospect of facing several teams that may be in more desperate situations but this will be a very dangerous team that will likely end up as a #3-5 seed in the Big Dance and will be a very tough out for any opponent.

AP #18 LSU: The SEC is way down this year but winning 12 straight games in a major conference that features some tough venues is an impressive feat. Quality non-conference wins do not exist for this team with the best victory coming over Washington State but the Tigers are a young team that had a lot of player turnover and a coaching transition to deal with and are now starting to come together. Even if the Tigers win out and take the SEC tournament they will not likely garner a well-protected seed but that could be motivational fuel for a team that has momentum and a coach that has had postseason success.

NR South Carolina: The Gamecocks are having a hard time getting recognized in the watered-down SEC but this is a team on the rise that can make a case for inclusion in the NCAA tournament with a solid finish. At 9-4 South Carolina now has moved into the #2 spot in the SEC in terms of record and a sweep over Kentucky as well as a win over Florida should carry some weight. A win over Tennessee next week will be critical but the Gamecocks have not lost a home game all season long.

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