While the common and courteous thing to do when writing about Sports, in general, is to compliment teams when they are up while saying little to no bad things about those teams that you might believe are overrated. That said, there are all sorts of overrated teams in the sports landscape and there will be plenty in College Basketball throughout this season. With that, I am launching an official fraud power rankings, where I’ll put to writing which teams are being overrated, being fake good or however you would want to explain it. These will come out around once a week, I’m not sure the exact timeline but it will look at the current frauds in College Basketball. I will dive into why I think said team is on the fraud power rankings and what people are saying about that team that has me questioning common belief. This list will include at a bare minimum of five teams who are on the list, while the list could have more teams on it depending upon whether or not there deserves to be more teams or not. Now let’s get into the Preseason Fraud Power Rankings.
Let’s lead off right at the top with maybe the biggest fraud heading into this season, the Virginia Cavaliers. Yes, Tony Bennett is a great coach, but that doesn’t mean a roster as bad as this one deserves to be anywhere near the Top-25. It doesn’t help that the three most important players on last year’s team have left the program, but that gives no reason to rank this team. Simply put, I don’t think people aren’t looking at the actual roster. Kihei Clark is a fine role player but he’s not a quality scorer, Armaan Franklin was the second-best player on a non-NCAA Tournament team, while Jayden Gardner is an inefficient scorer on a bad East Carolina team, and those are the three best players. I’ll slot Virginia in the NCAA Tournament Bracket, simply because Tony Bennett is great but for what it’s worth, KenPom has Virginia ranked 45th and Torvik has them ranked 68th heading into this season, so the analytical projections indicate that this team will have some struggles.
While Virginia was probably the least deserving team in the AP rankings, I do believe UConn is the second least deserving of their AP spot. Let’s just look at last season, the Huskies were a borderline Top-25 team with James Bouknight in their lineup. So now without Bouknight, they are supposed to improve, I don’t buy it, especially given the Huskies didn’t add any players that appear to be high-level scorers. Sure the defense will be Top-10 in the sport, but this team will still have to score in order to win. Maybe Adama Sanogo or RJ Cole can take a step forward into being those All-Conference level players, but I need to see it first and will not be giving them a Top-25 vote anytime soon.
Tennessee is kind of an oddball on the fraud power rankings, the team has a lot to like but is getting too much praise as compared to skepticism early in the season. Kennedy Chandler is going to be fun to watch, and pairing him next to Powell, Josiah-Jordan James, among others will be a fun setting. My major concern comes at the wing and forward spot, while Powell and James are both 4 man-size, but are lacking the physicality you would want at that spot, John Fulkerson and Brandon Huntley-Hatfield both can’t play the 4 and neither project as great options at the five either, so that’s the one concern. The Volunteers should still be a back-end Top-25 team throughout the season but some people have said that this is an SEC favorite and that is where I draw the line. They’ll be good but color me shocked if they are in the league title race with a week left in the season.
The Ramblers have been a fun story in the past few years, from making the Final Four, to winning the battle of the state of Illinois. They have been extremely fun to watch as a program, that said why exactly are we giving this program the Valley title over Drake as if it is a mere formality. Drew Valentine replacing Porter Moser should be a good fit, but also he has never coached a game, so it would be hard to expect things to be smooth sailing from the season. More importantly, they lost Cameron Krutwig, who was as important to his team as any player. Krutwig dominated in the post was great at passing and was the reason why the Ramblers were able to be as good offensively as they were. Yes, the defense is still going to be elite but the offense will take a step back. I still think Loyola-Chicago makes the NCAA Tournament but it will come only after they finish second in their league behind Drake, who should be the league preseason favorite.
While last year’s run was one of the more impressive runs in College Basketball history, while one of the more improbable ones as well. Should Jules Bernard have made both free throws in a PAC-12 quarterfinal, the Beavers season ends right then and there. Instead, he goes 1 of 2, and Oregon State beats UCLA in overtime, wins the PAC-12 Tournament, and makes it to the Elite Eight. I really didn’t want to include the Beavers in the fraud power rankings, but the PAC-12 preseason poll left me no choice whatsoever. They are on the list because the PAC-12 preseason media poll had Oregon State finishing 4th, tied with Arizona. I think Oregon State is going to be decent and probably a 70th ranked team in the sport but they should be nowhere near Arizona in the poll and preseason Top-5 is madness. Ethan Thompson just isn’t walking through that door and the team will be average this season. This is nothing personal against the Beavers and more of a discussion as to how bad the PAC-12 media poll was.