Faculty basketball rankings: Probably the most underrated and overrated groups within the 2022-23 preseason AP Prime 25 ballot

When the preseason AP Prime 25 ballot dropped this time final yr, I got down…

When the preseason AP Prime 25 ballot dropped this time final yr, I got down to rain on as many parades as attainable. I declared UCLA overrated. I mentioned Kentucky was overrated. Ditto for top-15 preseason staff Oregon.

And, by golly, I used to be proper on all counts. 

UCLA, ranked No. 2 within the preseason, completed exterior the highest 10 of the ballot. Kentucky, ranked No. 10 within the preseason, did not win the SEC and misplaced within the first spherical of the NCAA Event to No. 15 seed Saint Peter’s. And Oregon, which was ranked No. 13, completed the season unranked and missed its first NCAA Event since 2018.

It brings me no pleasure a lot pleasure to say “I advised ya so.”

So who will I inevitably be proper about once more this yr after Monday’s launch of this season’s preseason AP Prime 25? Which groups are too excessive within the preseason or too low? I’ve consulted my crystal ball. I am able to crash some preseason events earlier than they start.

Overrated

North Carolina

AP Prime 25 preseason rating: No. 1

North Carolina is an excellent basketball staff and simply ranks top-10 for me subsequent season. Simply not No. 1. Like UCLA final yr, the magical NCAA Event run it’s coming off of has skewed the truth of what it actually was final season: which was a just-OK staff that obtained actually sizzling finish of yr. Keep in mind: UNC at one level final season did not even appear to be it might be a tourney staff. It needed to catch fireplace down the stretch and finally obtained in as a No. 8 seed. The return of 4 of 5 starters from its NCAA runner-up roster makes UNC a straightforward choose right here, however UCLA’s comparable trajectory during the last two years ought to function a cautionary story for the Tar Heels and expectations surrounding them this season. Good staff, not the No. 1 staff.

Kansas

AP Prime 25 preseason rating: Tied for No. 5

To rank Kansas No. 5 within the AP ballot — a Kansas staff that’s coming off an NCAA championship — appears completely cheap. However to contemplate the context of this staff, it is a smidge too excessive. KU misplaced not solely Ultimate 4 MOP Ochai Agbaji (and the true Ultimate 4 MOP, David McCormack), but additionally Christian Braun and Remy Martin. It has some good incoming items led by Gradey Dick and Texas tech switch Kevin McCullar, however I am not satisfied that is undoubtedly a top-two staff within the Large 12 — a lot much less a top-five staff nationally. 

Indiana

AP Prime 25 preseason rating: 13

Somebody has to step up within the Large Ten this season and there’s no clear and apparent choose, therefore an uncommon quantity of preseason Hoosiers love. Whereas Indiana would possibly very effectively be the very best of the league, No. 13 within the AP ballot feels extraordinarily beneficiant. Sure, Trayce-Jackson Davis is again, as are a lot of the staff’s starters. (Plus, freshman Jalen Hood-Schifino has star potential.) However this staff simply narrowly made the NCAA Event final season as a 12 seed. Anticipating them to make the leap to No. 1 within the Large Ten is sort of the ask. It is more likely IU finishes the season unranked than it finishes because the winner of the Large Ten.

Underrated

Kentucky

AP Prime 25 preseason rating: 4

The damage (and subsequent surgical procedure) for reigning nationwide participant of the yr Oscar Tshiebwe is a priority price monitoring, but when wholesome, Kentucky is the clear No. 1 preseason staff for me. UK added a ton of capturing to handle issues from final yr (Antonio Reeves and Cason Wallace can ball) and it ought to have some breakout vets who may very well be difference-makers like Jacob Toppin, CJ Frederick and Daimion Collins. 

Baylor

AP Prime 25 preseason rating: Tied for No. 5

Baylor is the very best staff within the Large 12. Interval. The final two seasons, that distinction has led to 2 NCAA Event titles — first with Baylor and most not too long ago with Kansas. It might undoubtedly return Baylor’s means in 2022-23. Coach Scott Drew has a famous person freshman in Keyonte George, a solid of returning studs in LJ Cryer and Adam Flagler and a solid of supporting vets who may lead the Bears again to the promised land. 

Creighton

AP Prime 25 preseason rating: 9

The addition of Baylor Scheierman this offseason for Creighton may need been the singularly most underrated in faculty hoops. The reigning Summit League Participant of the 12 months is a difference-making backcourt presence who can rating it, deal with it and distribute it. He joins a Creighton staff that brings again Ryan Nembhard, Trey Alexander and Arthur Kaluma — all prospects who’ve professional potential. Oh, and Ryan Kalkbrenner? He is our preseason Large East Participant of the 12 months choose. This staff has the weaponry to be the very best within the Large East and will end the common season as a No. 1 seed come tourney time.