CBB Top 25: Most Overrated & Underrated
by Scott Spreitzer
Each week throughout the college basketball season, Scott will dissect the new top-25 rankings on Monday evenings and post what he feels is the week's most overrated top-25 team, along with the most underrated ranked team, and an unranked squad that he feels should be in the AP top-25.
MOST OVERRATED RANKED TEAM: Indiana Hoosiers
The Hoosiers picked up a couple of close, but big wins over Ohio State and Michigan recently, but their play on the defensive end of late has us questioning their #11 ranking. Indiana has allowed 70 or more points in 6 straight games. They gave up an average of 76.7 ppg in those outings on 49.4% shooting, including 36% from the arc. The Hoosiers have not been forcing turnovers, yet are averaging 4 more turnovers per game than assists per game, themselves. It's a serious problem at both ends of the floor right now. One of the biggest question marks with the improving, but not quite there yet Hoosiers is who was going to step it up on the defensive end on a consistent basis. That wasn't a problem in non-conference action, but their shortcomings are getting exposed in conference action. Indiana also needs to learn how to win away from home before they take a top-15 rating. The Hoosiers won on the road just twice in 3 years before this season and they're 1-2 SU on the Big-10 road as they head to Lincoln on Wednesday. Tom Crean said this past off-season that his team wasn't "tough enough to finish" last season. They look like they have the same problem in 2012 conference action. We expected some growing pains this season with the "next step" a season away. While we feel Indiana certainly belongs in the top-25, they're not quite ready for their current lofty ranking. Indiana is this week's Most Overrated ranked team.
MOST UNDERRATED RANKED TEAM: St. Mary's Gaels
The WCC entry makes it into the top-25, but at 24, we feel they're still being under-valued. No Mickey McConnell (graduated), no problem for Randy Bennett's squad. Last season, the Gaels were shorthanded when it came to depth and size...neither is a problem in 2012. SMC proved themselves in their blowout win over Gonzaga last time out. It is arguably the deepest team in the last decade - and even without McConnell and Patty Mills, their most talented top to bottom. Ten players have appeared in at least 17 of their 19 games this season and 9 are averaging over 11 minutes played per game. Matthew Dellavedova (15.4 ppg) is back and leads 6 players who score over 7 ppg. SMC has 10 games left on the schedule and probably can't afford going any worse than 8-2, or they may have to win their conference tourney to get a bid. While rematches with BYU and Gonzaga could put them over the top - both of those opponents will be in double-digit revenge spots. But before those games take place, SMC must avoid losing to a very athletic Loyola-Marymount team on January 26. SMC gave championship contending Baylor all they could handle earlier this season, but faded in the second half. That loss looks more like a badge of honor considering Baylor just lost their first game of the season on Monday night at Kansas. SMC is in the rankings, but belong about 5-6 spots higher.
UNRANKED TEAM THAT SHOULD BE RANKED: Harvard Crimson
We could easily have posted Wichita State in this spot for the second straight week. Instead, we'll call this a "co-should be ranked" spot (if you will). After posting the Shockers here last week, they won 3 games in 6 days in Mo-Valley play, including a 10-point win in Terre Haute over Indiana State. WSU could be in for a tough one on Wednesday playing at Northern Iowa after the Panthers left all MVC watchers scratching their heads following a loss to Bradley last time out. The other team in the "should be ranked" spot is the Harvard Crimson. I could have placed a few teams in this spot, but Harvard simply keeps on winning, while teams like Gonzaga, Seton Hall, and Wisconsin, all lost or looked vulnerable in wins this past week. Vandy is another squad that could have made the list, and if they get past Alabama on the road this week, they'll almost surely jump into the top-25. The Commodores have been inconsistent, good enough to crush Marquette in Milwaukee, but still find ways to lose at home to Indiana State and Cleveland State...both good teams, but shouldn't beat a ranked SEC team on the road. As far as the Crimson are concerned, they beat ranked Florida State earlier this season and were #25 in the polls when they lost to UConn on Dec 8...nothing to be ashamed of. But even at 15-2 SU, when you're in the Ivy League, you are going to have to impress - and then some - to get back in the top-25. We had Harvard and they won in blowout fashion over a weak George Washington squad. Get past Yale and there's a good chance they could be 6-0 in the Ivy League when they play at Penn on February 10.
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