Last week, we asked our B/R app users which ranked men’s college basketball team you think is most likely to lose in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
This week, we wanted to flip that “overrated” question on its head and find out who you feel is the most underrated team in the country.
Within the first eight hours or so after that question hit the app, no one had even mentioned my pick (Providence), but there were a bunch of great choices.
Let’s dive into them by first addressing the most unpredictable team of them all.
@Fauci: Alabama. Unranked with the second-most Quad 1 wins in the nation. … This team can beat anyone. And consequently also lose to anyone.
I’ll say this much about the Crimson Tide: I have no clue what to do with them in bracketology from one week to the next.
Not only do they have a bunch of Quadrant 1 wins, but they have a bunch of really damn good Quadrant 1 wins. They won what was effectively a road game in Seattle against NET No. 1 Gonzaga. Can’t do any better than that. Alabama also has home wins over NET No. 2 Houston, No. 6 Baylor, No. 13 Tennessee and No. 14 LSU.
At the start of play Tuesday, all five of those wins were in Quadrant 1A, which is home games against the top 15, neutral games against the top 25 and road games against the top 40. And the only other teams in the country with at least four Q1A wins are Baylor (five) and Providence (four).
But the Crimson Tide must have made some sort of deal with the devil in which they have to suffer a bad loss for every great win, because they have horrible defeats to Missouri and Georgia, as well as less than stellar losses to Memphis, Mississippi State, Iona and Davidson. That is, of course, the reason they are ranked outside of the AP Top 25.
I agree that they are underrated, though, and pretty much all of the metrics support that stance. Alabama entered Tuesday at No. 22 in the NET and was ranked higher than that in each of KenPom.com (18), BPI (19), Sagarin (19), SOR (21) and KPI (6).
Are they wildly inconsistent? Absolutely.
Do I trust them to win multiple games in the NCAA tournament? No, I don’t, and neither do you.
But should they at least be ranked? You betcha.
Is Arkansas (Razor)Back?
@jrmontgo: Arkansas after its most recent run
While Alabama has been all over the map from one game to the next, Arkansas’ season has had three distinct chapters.
The Razorbacks started out 9-0 with decent wins over Kansas State and Cincinnati.
They then lost five of their next six games, including tournament-resume killers at home against Vanderbilt and at a neutral site against Hofstra.
But they’ve bounced back to win six straight since then, including a great road win over LSU and home wins over bubble teams Texas A&M and West Virginia.