Updated: Sep 9, 2022
The start of the 2022-23 men's college basketball season is approaching an eight week countdown in the coming days, and things are ramping up from analysts and college hoops experts about predictions and projections for the upcoming season.
One of my favorite parts of preparing for college basketball tipping off is projecting my top underrated and overrated teams for the entire season. Last season, one of my underrated teams from the beginning of the 2021-22 season was Miami (FL), who was led by Isaiah Wong and Kameron McGusty to the Elite Eight, only to get blown out by the soon-to-be 2022 National Champions, Kansas Jayhawks. I leaned towards underrating Miami (FL) because nobody was talking about them in the ACC and, from what I saw from Isaiah Wong in the 2021 ACC Tournament, he is a pure hooper that can lead a team deep in the tourney.
Five underrated college basketball teams for 2022-23
5. Stanford Cardinal
Stanford is returning four of their five starters from last season's 16-16 campaign, where the Cardinal team took down a 15th-ranked USC Trojans team on the road and competed with Texas, UCLA, and Arizona, who were all ranked in the Top 25. The Cardinal roster was quite young last season and gained tremendous experience, especially taking No. 2-ranked Arizona down to the wire in the Pac-12 conference tournament quarterfinals, ultimately losing 84-80.
Stanford basketball has been projected to finish middle of the pack in the Pac-12. But besides UCLA and Oregon, don't expect the Cardinal team to finish lower than third or fourth in the regular season for Pac-12 play.
Stanford has gained another year of experience for five of their top six scorers from last season, including Harrison Ingram, who should be in for an All-Pac 12 performance this season, as he's looking to improve his draft stock. Watch out for Stanford in the Pac-12 and look for them to be competitive in the NCAA Tournament come March.
4. Dayton Flyers
The return of DaRon Holmes II and the rest of the starting five for the Dayton basketball program bodes well for the Flyers as they come in with high hopes to win the Atlantic 10 in 2022-23. While winning the A-10 would be a big moment for Flyer nation, most analysts and experts don't believe they will make much of an impact beyond that. ESPN's Joe Lunardi has Dayton as a 5-seed in his latest bracketology update, and most "college basketball experts" have hardly included Dayton as a top 25 program heading into the 2022-23 season.
After a pretty successful 24-11 season, despite not playing the toughest schedule, Dayton basketball took down the 2022 National Champs, Kansas Jayhawks, 74-73, early in the season, which ended up being the only ranked opponent they would face all season.
Dayton is returning seven of their top eight scorers from last season, and with a sophomore big man like DaRon Holmes II, who could become a double-double machine this season, and a sophomore guard like Malachi Smith, who became a key to the Flyers' offense later last season, Dayton is in for surprising many teams and analysts in 2022-23.
3. Texas A&M Aggies
Texas A&M and Coach Buzz Williams were the talk of college basketball at the end of the 2021-22 regular season and conference tournaments because of their impressive run at the end of the season where they won seven straight games, including three games against top-25 opponents, then ultimately lost in the SEC Championship game to No. 9-ranked Tennessee, 65-50. When the Aggies didn't hear their names called for an NCAA Tournament at-large bid, it seemed to be set in stone that in 2022-23, Texas A&M is out for blood.
What did Texas A&M do to show that they belonged in the tournament? They marched right through the NIT Tournament all the way to the championship game to lose on a buzzer beater to Xavier, who probably should've also made the NCAA Tournament.
Focusing on 2022-23, Texas A&M basketball is returning three of their top four scorers from last season, including Henry Coleman III, but losing their leading scorer, Quenton Jackson, to the NBA. Despite losing Jackson, Buzz Williams added Dexter Dennis from Wichita State (averaged 10.8 PPG in 2021-22) and Julius Marble from Michigan State (averaged 6.4 PPG and 3.3 RPG in 2021-22).
2. Virginia Cavaliers
Where would the Virginia basketball program be without their head coach, Tony Bennett? Since taking over in 2007, Bennett and the Cavaliers have made the NCAA Tournament eight times and won a National Championship in 2019. While they missed the tournament last season, Virginia basketball is looking to finish atop the ACC in the upcoming 2022-23 season.
In 2021-22, the Cavaliers beat just one top 25 opponent (No. 7-ranked Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium) and struggled to find offense at times. But with all five starters returning for another season and all six of their top scorers from 2021-22, along with adding Ben Vander Plas from Ohio (14.3 PPG, 6.8 RPG, and 3.1 APG in 2021-22), Virginia basketball and their upperclassmen filled with experience are set up for an exciting 2022-23 season.
Most "college hoops experts" hardly have Virginia ranked in their preseason top-25, and the Cavaliers are a 5-seed in Lunardi's bracketology. Expect Virginia basketball to compete for an ACC title this season against North Carolina come March.
1. Creighton Bluejays
This is where the controversy will kick in. How can Creighton be considered an underrated college basketball program for the 2022-23 season if they're ranked in the top 10 for most college basketball analysts? I'll tell you how.
Coach McDermott and Creighton are returning four of their top six scorers from last season and, if not for an injured Ryan Kalkbrenner and Ryan Nembhard late in the season, I believe the Bluejays could have given the eventual 2021-22 national champions, Kansas Jayhawks, a run for their money in the second round.
As of right now, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, Creighton has the 11th best odds in college basketball to win the 2023 National Championship, which is shocking as by the end of the 2022-23 season, I expect the Bluejays to be a top-5 team, win the Big East, and be one of the top four favorites to win the title. More confusion, Lunardi placed Creighton as a 4-seed in his latest bracketology update, which would equate to the Bluejays being ranked worse than 12 other teams in college hoops.
Adding fuel to the already well-built roster, McDermott added Baylor Sheierman from South Dakota State, who averaged 16.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 2.4 three-pointers per game. Sheierman plus a healthy Nembhard and Kalkbrenner is a recipe for a national championship for the Bluejays in 2022-23.