College Basketball Betting: Overrated Teams
by Trevor Whenham - 11/10/2010
Every year when the preseason college basketball polls come out there are a few teams that inevitably end up ranked higher than they probably deserve to be. It’s not that they may not end up where they are ranked, or that they aren’t good teams. It’s just that people give a lot of teams more credit than they deserve because of the names on their jersey. Here are three teams that are, at this point, overrated. What this proves more than anything else is just how ridiculous and meaningless preseason rankings are.
Duke - This one is tough - they are the defending champion, and I feel like they have the potential to cut down the nets again this year. The reason I have to question the ranking, though, is because of the changes the team is making.
They have lost three starters from the National Champion team. More significantly, the change in personnel is leading to a monumental change in style. Last year rebounding was crucial thanks to guys like Brian Zoubek and Lance Thomas. They are gone, and replaced with young, flashy potential superstars.
The key piece is Kyrie Irving, a point guard that is all but certain to be one-and-done. He has the chance to be another flashy point guard who goes at the top of the draft - a truly special talent. The thing is, though, that his presence is leading Duke to entirely change around the offense.
This year the team will be running much more and pressing much harder. If it works then it will be impressive and effective.
Handing the keys over to a freshman is a huge risk, though. Coach K isn’t as used to one-and-done guys as other coaches, either, so there is the potential for tension there.
Success also depends on other players stepping in and stepping up - like Seth Curry making the transition from starring at Liberty to starring at Duke.
Duke can be the best team in the country, but right now people are giving them more credit for what they can be than what they have proven.
North Carolina - Like Duke, North Carolina has some spectacular young talent coming in - small forward Harrison Barnes is rated even higher than Irving.
Just think about it this way, though - if a team called Central Nowhere State was coming off a lousy season that saw them underachieve all year and head to the NIT, and then had an offseason which saw them lose three starters to graduation and two valued young players to transfer - all of which forced them to essentially blow things up and start over - do you think there would be any chance at all of them being ranked as high as No. 8 in the country? No chance - there is a definite North Carolina bias to this ranking.
Do I think the Tar Heels have the potential to be good thanks to Barnes and the others? Absolutely. Do I feel really confident that they are a Top 10-caliber team? Not at all. I don’t even feel like they are the second best team in the ACC thanks to where Virginia Tech is at.
Kentucky - It’s no surprise that this is the third blue-chip, big name, highly public team on this list - those are the ones that are most likely to be over-ranked and overrated.
Kentucky is the 11th best team in the country right now according to AP. As much as I respect John Calipari for what he can do on the court, I just don’t see how this is justified.
The five best players on this team last year were drafted in the first round of the NBA Draft, so there is a bigger turnover in talent than any other team in the country has to deal with. On top of that, the best incoming player - Enes Kanter - has not been made eligible by the NCAA yet because of issues about being paid for playing in Europe, and there is no guarantee that he will be eligible at all.
Further, Calipari has to hope that lightning strikes twice - or four times. For the fourth year in a row Calipari is relying on a very impressive freshman point guard to lead his team - Brandon Knight follows in the shoes of Rose, Evans, and Wall.
Cal can obviously handle players like this, but sooner or later he is going to struggle. Really, there has been issues every year at the start of the year before the player learns his role and gets comfortable. Without Kanter, Knight won’t have quite as much talent around him as Wall did last year, either - and that more talented squad struggled when the stakes were highest.
This team could be highly ranked by the end of the year, but they should have to earn the rankings way more than they have had to - and they would have to if they weren’t named Kentucky.
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