If you thought AP Top 25 poll voters had a propensity for being wrong about preseason college basketball rankings -- and believe me, I have plenty of bones to pick with them -- then, boy, will you be surprised [heavy sarcasm!] to learn that I've got some serious beef with how coaches rank college basketball teams in the preseason.
The 2022-23 preseason Coaches Poll dropped on Tuesday and of course at the top, coaches mostly had it right. North Carolina landed at No. 1, just as it did in the AP Top 25 and reflected in the national title odds from Caesars Sportsbook. Gonzaga, Houston and Kentucky slotted in at Nos. 2, 3 and 4, also reflecting the AP Top 25 with only slight deviation from the CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 and betting market.
But as the rest of the Coaches Poll went down through 25, there were some I had to disagree with. Some major misses. Some minor misses. So to put it on record, I've laid out a few teams I think are overrated -- and a few that I think are underrated.
Let's jump into them.
Coaches Poll preseason ranking: No. 13
The betting public seems to be high on Arizona -- Caesars Sportsbook has the Wildcats right now with the 10th-best odds to win the national title -- and coaches generally seem to be more in lockstep with oddsmakers than experts. Arizona is 17th in the CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 and 17th also in the AP poll. That's about where I'd rank them, too. No beef with having the Wildcats ahead of every other Pac-12 team, but some beef with having them ahead of TCU, Virginia and Auburn. No. 13 feels just a tad too generous for a team that lost two first round picks and an early second round pick, even if it recovered quite well overall with a solid transfer class and freshmen haul.
Coaches Poll preseason ranking: No. 19
Teams I would rank over Alabama that were ranked below Alabama in the Coaches Poll: Michigan, Illinois, San Diego State, Oregon, maybe Purdue. Could make a case this isn't a preseason top-25 caliber team. Nate Oats is of course a wizard, wand and all, so by season's end if this is a top-15 team, it wouldn't be one bit shocking. But the Tide lost leading scorer Jaden Shackelford, second-leading scorer Jahvon Quinerly is still recovering from an ACL tear, third-leading scorer Keon Ellis is off to the NBA, and same for fourth-leading scorer JD Davison. This team has a way of unearthing underrated talent out of the transfer portal and has two incoming five-star freshmen, so the talent should be pretty solid, but this isn't a top-five team in the SEC like coaches ranked them.
Coaches Poll preseason ranking: No. 10
You could make the same argument for Arkansas that I just made for Alabama -- most of its top scorers from last season are gone, so it's hard to have too lofty of expectations -- but in the case of the Hogs I just wouldn't buy that. It'd be hogwash. [Heh.] Arkansas might legitimately have two of the best freshmen in the country with Nick Smith, the No. 1 recruit in 2022, and Anthony Black, the No. 15 recruit in 2022. This team's talent and upside rocks. Hard to bet on youth in college hoops with so much experience dominating the top of the rankings this year, but I think Arkansas' talent warrants the love and more. This is a top six preseason team for me. In Eric Musselman we trust, folks. Watching the Hogs this season is going to jam.
Coaches Poll preseason ranking: No. 12
Texas' just-OK 2021-22 season in the first season under Chris Beard, in which it went 22-12, has thrown everyone -- including coaches, apparently -- off the scent of the Longhorns. And wow what a mistake that is. People forget Beard might well be the best tactician in the entire sport. And he has a team that's clearly better than his first one in Austin. Top two scorers are back, they added a defensive stalwart in Tyrese Hunter and they signed the No. 3 recruiting class in America. In my view Baylor is the class of the Big 12 this season but Texas -- yes, over Kansas -- isn't far behind.
Comparing 2022-23 preseason rankings, odds
| ||AP Top 25||Coaches Poll||Top 25 And 1||Caesars Sportsbook|
|1||North Carolina||North Carolina||Gonzaga||North Carolina +800|
|2||Gonzaga||Gonzaga||North Carolina||Gonzaga +900|
|16||Villanova||TCU||Virginia||Texas Tech +4000|
|19||San Diego St.||Alabama||Texas A&M||Alabama +5000|
|20||Alabama||San Diego St.||Michigan||Auburn +6000|
|21||Oregon||Oregon||San Diego State||UConn +6000|
|22||Michigan||Michigan||Oregon||Michigan State +6000|
|24||Dayton||Texas Tech||Purdue||Oregon +6000|
|25||Texas Tech||Dayton||Dayton||Virginia +6000|
|26|| || ||Ohio State||San Diego State +7000|