Overrated Teams

One way to determine "overrated" teams is to compare preseason rankings with final rankings. The AP Poll started releasing a preseason poll in 1961. Preseason polls are scoffed at by many college fans and coaches as an indication of how much hype teams have coming into the season, not really based on actual ability (because how will you know until the teams play?). Teams that consistently end the season lower in the Final AP Poll compared to their Preseason AP Poll ranking are "overrated".

Below are four tables broken out by year. I calculate the average differential (Avg Diff column) for all the teams in the preseason and final poll since the year indicated (e.g., Since 2000). I subtract the final rank from the preseason rank (i.e., preseason - final). A negative number means the team finished lower in the final poll than the preseason poll. I use 26 as the final ranking if a team in the preseason poll did not make the final poll. See Underrated Teams for teams with a positive differential.

The number of seasons the team was ranked is contained in the Seasons column. More seasons with a large negative average differential indiciates a team is consistently overrated. The Season by Season Diff column contains the preseason - final calculation for each season the team was ranked. Click on a column header to sort the table.

Final note: If you think the outcome of the NCAA Tournament should help determine whether a team is overrated, the Coaches Poll would be a better poll to use. The Final Coaches Poll comes out after the NCAA Tournament unlike the the Final AP Poll, which is released before the NCAA Tournament. In some cases, highly ranked teams fall several positions in the Final Coaches Poll if they have a poor showing in the NCAA Tournament. (I don't have historical Preseason Coaches Polls so I can't include those results here yet.)


Overrated Since 2000

* Teams must be ranked in at least 4 out of 7 seasons to be included.

RankTeamSeasonsAvg DiffSeason by Season Diff
1Michigan State7-12.10, -11, -17, -23, -2, -22, -10
2Alabama5-6.216, -18, -3, -11, -15
3Arizona8-5.5-4, 19, -1, -18, 1, -16, -16, -9
4Indiana5-4.46, -4, -5, -2, -17
5UCLA6-3.52, -21, -12, 12, -1, -1
6Tennessee4-1.8-17, 8, 0, 2
7Syracuse7-1.79, -5, 13, -13, -5, -5, -6
8Maryland7-1.6-6, -2, -4, 7, -11, -3, 8
9USC4-1.5-3, 2, 3, -8
10Connecticut8-1.5-12, 16, -8, -6, -5, 1, -8, 10
11Georgetown5-1.45, -12, 3, 0, -3
12Kansas8-1.2-5, 5, -4, -10, -11, 14, 1, 0
13Kentucky8-1.13, -12, 16, 9, 2, -17, -4, -6


Overrated Since 1990

* Teams must be ranked in at least 7 out of 17 seasons to be included.

RankTeamSeasonsAvg DiffSeason by Season Diff
1Michigan State14-5.6-22, 12, -6, 9, 10, 3, 1, 0, -11, -17, -23, -2, -22, -10
2Georgetown11-5.5-17, -6, -14, -11, -7, 1, 5, -12, 3, 0, -3
3Alabama8-5.1-12, 4, -2, 16, -18, -3, -11, -15
4Iowa9-4.3-5, -2, -13, -3, -11, 5, 2, -17, 5
5UCLA16-3.9-5, 7, -2, -4, 5, -10, -2, -13, -3, -14, 2, -21, -12, 12, -1, -1
6Michigan7-3.65, -2, -6, -10, -9, -17, 14
7Georgia Tech9-3.6-10, -3, -4, -12, -3, 13, 12, -22, -3
8Missouri8-3.5-6, 10, 21, 3, -12, -18, -5, -21
9Indiana14-3.25, -3, 3, -6, -17, -3, -9, 3, 4, 6, -4, -5, -2, -17
10Arkansas11-2.40, -6, 14, 1, -5, -10, -13, 9, 2, -11, -7
11Louisville13-1.9-3, -1, -2, -3, -12, 1, -1, 12, -10, 10, -19, 10, -7
12North Carolina17-1.61, -10, 3, 0, -2, -5, 4, 3, -2, -20, 0, -7, -9, 2, 16, -2, 0
13Duke17-1.30, 0, -7, -2, -18, 2, 0, 0, 9, 1, 0, -1, -4, 8, 0, -14, 4
14Arizona18-1.3-5, -5, 5, 9, -10, 15, 4, -3, 6, 5, -4, 19, -1, -18, 1, -16, -16, -9
15Florida11-1.212, -16, 3, -5, 3, -9, -3, -18, 7, 15, -2
16Connecticut17-1.2-9, -11, -10, 22, 11, 3, 6, -1, -19, -12, 16, -8, -6, -5, 1, -8, 10
17Syracuse17-1.26, 5, -8, 5, -13, 11, -14, 5, -6, 1, 9, -5, 13, -13, -5, -5, -6
18Kansas18-1.214, 10, -7, -4, 6, -2, 1, 0, -14, -15, -5, 5, -4, -10, -11, 14, 1, 0
19Memphis9-1.1-18, -3, -14, 7, 2, -2, 8, 9, 1


Overrated Since 1980

* Teams must be ranked in at least 10 out of 27 seasons to be included.

RankTeamSeasonsAvg DiffSeason by Season Diff
1LSU11-6.98, -9, -15, -6, -12, -17, -8, -19, 16, 7, -21
2Iowa16-5.51, -7, -15, -19, 4, -6, -7, -5, -2, -13, -3, -11, 5, 2, -17, 5
3Louisville23-5.2-9, -16, 6, -20, -9, 2, -24, -13, -8, -4, -3, -1, -2, -3, -12, 1, -1, 12, -10, 10, -19, 10, -7
4UCLA22-4.6-4, -17, 0, -17, 11, -13, -5, 7, -2, -4, 5, -10, -2, -13, -3, -14, 2, -21, -12, 12, -1, -1
5Georgetown21-4.4-10, -1, -18, 2, 0, -5, 14, -10, 0, -3, -17, -6, -14, -11, -7, 1, 5, -12, 3, 0, -3
6Indiana24-3.8-4, -14, 4, -7, -22, 10, 0, -20, 18, -12, 5, -3, 3, -6, -17, -3, -9, 3, 4, 6, -4, -5, -2, -17
7Michigan State17-3.6-14, 8, 23, -22, 12, -6, 9, 10, 3, 1, 0, -11, -17, -23, -2, -22, -10
8Georgia Tech15-3.414, -5, -20, -8, -13, 13, -10, -3, -4, -12, -3, 13, 12, -22, -3
9Florida14-2.8-12, -11, -3, 12, -16, 3, -5, 3, -9, -3, -18, 7, 15, -2
10Alabama13-2.77, -14, 4, 6, 3, -12, 4, -2, 16, -18, -3, -11, -15
11NC State10-2.00, -3, -9, -9, 12, -1, -7, 9, -7, -5
12Temple11-1.96, 18, 11, -7, -11, -7, -4, 0, -19, 2, -10
13Maryland16-1.8-14, -3, -7, -3, -11, 4, 6, 1, 9, -6, -2, -4, 7, -11, -3, 8
14Kentucky26-1.8-7, -12, -8, -1, -8, 8, -15, -1, 17, -2, 3, -5, 2, -1, -2, 3, -4, -5, 3, -12, 16, 9, 2, -17, -4, -6
15Missouri15-1.7-15, 10, 5, 12, -18, 8, 0, -6, 10, 21, 3, -12, -18, -5, -21
16Michigan12-1.724, -2, -1, -7, -9, 5, -2, -6, -10, -9, -17, 14
17North Carolina27-1.37, 0, -5, 0, 19, -6, -1, -4, 1, -19, 1, -10, 3, 0, -2, -5, 4, 3, -2, -20, 0, -7, -9, 2, 16, -2, 0
18Kansas24-1.3-9, 6, 3, -12, -19, 21, 14, 10, -7, -4, 6, -2, 1, 0, -14, -15, -5, 5, -4, -10, -11, 14, 1, 0
19Syracuse25-1.3-7, 8, -3, -5, 5, -8, 1, -3, 6, 5, -8, 5, -13, 11, -14, 5, -6, 1, 9, -5, 13, -13, -5, -5, -6


Overrated Since 1961

* Teams must be ranked in at least 16 out of 46 seasons to be included.

RankTeamSeasonsAvg DiffSeason by Season Diff
1Louisville36-4.63, -6, 11, -11, 5, -6, -17, 4, -18, -10, 1, -9, 8, -9, -16, 6, -20, -9, 2, -24, -13, -8, -4, -3, -1, -2, -3, -12, 1, -1, 12, -10, 10, -19, 10, -7
2Georgetown22-3.88, -10, -1, -18, 2, 0, -5, 14, -10, 0, -3, -17, -6, -14, -11, -7, 1, 5, -12, 3, 0, -3
3Iowa18-3.519, 6, 1, -7, -15, -19, 4, -6, -7, -5, -2, -13, -3, -11, 5, 2, -17, 5
4Indiana34-3.2-10, 9, 20, -6, 0, 0, -21, 13, -16, -6, -4, -14, 4, -7, -22, 10, 0, -20, 18, -12, 5, -3, 3, -6, -17, -3, -9, 3, 4, 6, -4, -5, -2, -17
5UCLA39-3.025, 0, -25, 0, -1, 0, 2, 0, 0, 0, -1, 1, -3, 2, 4, 0, -18, -4, -17, 0, -17, 11, -13, -5, 7, -2, -4, 5, -10, -2, -13, -3, -14, 2, -21, -12, 12, -1, -1
6NC State18-2.716, -7, 6, 1, -6, -13, -11, -14, 0, -3, -9, -9, 12, -1, -7, 9, -7, -5
7Maryland24-2.6-8, -5, 0, -1, -8, -18, -12, 18, -14, -3, -7, -3, -11, 4, 6, 1, 9, -6, -2, -4, 7, -11, -3, 8
8Alabama19-2.24, -1, 6, 2, -11, -7, 7, -14, 4, 6, 3, -12, 4, -2, 16, -18, -3, -11, -15
9Kansas36-2.1-8, 4, 23, -21, -14, 10, -12, 6, -20, 16, -21, -6, -9, 6, 3, -12, -19, 21, 14, 10, -7, -4, 6, -2, 1, 0, -14, -15, -5, 5, -4, -10, -11, 14, 1, 0
10Michigan23-2.06, 0, -7, -13, -7, 20, -2, 7, 0, -13, -18, 24, -2, -1, -7, -9, 5, -2, -6, -10, -9, -17, 14
11Kentucky45-2.023, -23, 5, -15, 25, -23, 21, -4, 1, -5, -8, -4, -16, 14, -20, 3, 1, -15, -2, -7, -12, -8, -1, -8, 8, -15, -1, 17, -2, 3, -5, 2, -1, -2, 3, -4, -5, 3, -12, 16, 9, 2, -17, -4, -6
12Arizona26-2.0-11, -7, -4, -16, -7, 15, 10, -8, -5, -5, 5, 9, -10, 15, 4, -3, 6, 5, -4, 19, -1, -18, 1, -16, -16, -9
13Michigan State19-1.822, 4, -14, 8, 23, -22, 12, -6, 9, 10, 3, 1, 0, -11, -17, -23, -2, -22, -10
14North Carolina42-1.5-13, 5, 0, -2, -19, 13, 0, 15, -7, 2, -3, -2, -15, 7, -9, 7, 0, -5, 0, 19, -6, -1, -4, 1, -19, 1, -10, 3, 0, -2, -5, 4, 3, -2, -20, 0, -7, -9, 2, 16, -2, 0
15Memphis20-1.113, -1, -6, -11, -7, 17, -11, -11, 3, 3, -2, -18, -3, -14, 7, 2, -2, 8, 9, 1
16Duke36-1.1-3, 0, 1, -5, 1, -22, 16, -9, -13, 19, -10, -11, 12, -4, 5, 9, 10, -8, -5, 0, 0, -7, -2, -18, 2, 0, 0, 9, 1, 0, -1, -4, 8, 0, -14, 4