Preseason Hoops Rankings Horrible

Handicapping Tips From Legendary High Roller TONY SALINAS!


The preseason rankings often set the tone for a season. If the media expects a team to play well, theyll keep telling you theyre playing well even when its obvious the team isnt that great. If the media has no expectations for a squad, theyll keep telling you the balloon is about to burst even if that squad really does have the goods.

It took forever to pundits to realize that North Carolina was a shadow of last years team. It took them just as long to accept Syracuse as a serious national championship contender.

I went back and grabbed the AP preseason top 25 so you can see what Im talking about. I think the very heart of the HUGE campaign Im having can be traced to bad Vegas lines created by a dumb media. People believe what they read. Lines are based on what people think rather than reality. If you can figure out reality, youre way ahead of the game.

Let me run through the top 25. Ill start with the Top Ten. The early polls werent actually horrible here. Its not that hard to figure out who the elite programs are going to be in a given season. There may be a couple of surprises...but the usual suspects usually stay pretty good. Ive also included the rankings from this past weekend in parenthesis. Because of publication deadlines, I had to use the rankings at the time we went to press.

PRESEASON TOP 10 (current rankings in parenthesis)
1...Kansas (1)
2...Michigan State (10)
3...Texas (14)
4...Kentucky (3)
5...Villanova (4)
6...North Carolina (NR)
7...Purdue (6)
8...West Virginia (5)
9...Duke (8)
10...Tennessee (12)

North Carolina is the only true disaster. The media assumed a bunch of big name freshman would be great. It hasnt turned out that way yet. For the most part, we see that the projected powers have been pretty good. I still think this group will be overpriced come March on neutral courts. The public always assumes the top ten are better than they really are as compared to everyone else.

11...Butler (18)
12...Connecticut (NR)
13...California (NR)
14...Washington (NR)
15...Michigan (NR)
16...Ohio State (13)
17...Oklahoma (NR)
18...Mississippi State (NR)
19...Louisville (NR)
20...Georgetown (7)

Look at all the teams who were supposed to be top 20 caliber who arent even ranked right now! Talk about a bad job of prediction-making. Only three of those 10 eams are in the rankings. Georgetown is MUCH better than expected. Ohio States on the way up the ladder in recent weeks after getting healthy. For the most part, its a list of very big disappointments.

*In the Big East, Connecticut and Louisville are in danger of missing the NCAA tournament after making several deep runs in recent seasons. The media just penciled in numbers instead of really studying what was going on with those teams.

*In the Pac 10, California and Washington have struggled pretty badly. Cal has picked up the pace lately, and may soon get back into the rankings. Washingtons been particularly bad in road games this year, outside of this past weekends win over Stanford.

*Michigan won the NIT last year, and was supposed to be a serious threat in the Big 10. They play well about once every two weeks.

*Oklahoma? Didnt anyone hear that Blake Griffin had gone to the NBA?!

Finishing out the Preseason Top 25...

21...Dayton (NR)
22...Georgia Tech (20)
23...Illinois (NR)
24...Clemson (NR)
25...Minnesota (NR)

Basically a group of blind guesses. Outside of Georgia Tech (who is in danger of dropping out after losing to Wake Forest this past Saturday), you have teams who werent even in the top 40 of the most recent rankings if you count the 'others getting votes' list. In fact, believe it or not, there are A DOZEN teams on this list who arent ranked right now, and ALL 12 OF THEM failed to crack the top 40 in the most recent AP poll!

I mentioned above that perceptions from the rankings last all season. I took advantage of that this past weekend with my ATLANTIC 10 GAME OF THE YEAR on Saint Louis (+5) over Dayton (preseason #21) in an outright 68-65 victory.


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