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College basketball levels: TCU, New Mexico among top teams


When it comes college basketball the term, or really, any sport for that matter, a “sleeper” known as a player or team under the radar that has the potential to outperform its older counterparts. it.

When thinking back to some of the best teams in recent memory, teams like Peter (2021-22) and Loyola-Chicago (2017-18) comes to mind. Could there be a team that is taking the college basketball universe by storm again this season?

Here’s a look at the teams that are dozing off so far this season. Some of the teams on this list are ranked in Top AP 25. But that doesn’t matter to you. They still don’t get love. Now it’s time to shine some light on them.

Here are my college basketball team levels.

Andy Katz’s Tiers: Top Teams

Level 1: Leaders

Miami, Fla.: The Hurricanes made it to the Elite Eight last season and were given little consideration for a return. Yes, they are ranked (currently 14th), but this team has every reason to believe they can do it again. Isaiah Wong was a star, averaging 17.2 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game, and the Canes had previous wins. Providence, State of NC and the number 13 Virginia.

TCU: The Horned Frogs have had injury problems this season, but Jamie Dixon’s team has persevered as a real threat to finish third in the league. large 12. TCU will be tested throughout January, with six games against teams currently ranked in the AP Top 25.

New Mexico: Richard Pitino has combined the transfers and comfort level of his second year into a top 25 team and an unbeaten start. Jaelen’s house, Morris Udeze and Jamal Mashburn Jr. formed an impressive trio and all three started their college careers at other schools. The Pit is back in action and you’ll love to watch it.

Xavier: Sean Miller 2.0 is doing pretty well. The Musketeers were 11-3, and those three losses went to the college basketball powerhouse trio in India, Duke and Gonzaga. They started 3-0 in the match Big East and perhaps the greatest threat to UConn.

Tier 2: Next in line

Mississippi State: Chris Jans has this security team and is on the hunt to be one of the surprise teams in the SEC. Bulldogs are holding the opponent only 54.5 points per competition, ranked sixth nationally. Upcoming match with number 7 Tennessee should be an epic defense battle.

Missouri: The tigers beat on Illinois and Kentucky. Sure enough, they lost Kansas, but that’s the only flaw in their resume so far. It will be interesting to see if this group of Mizzou can compete with the likes of Arkansas, Alabama and Tennessee in the SEC. Take this team seriously.

LSU: The tigers used to Murray State Head coach Matt McMahon took the helm, and he brought his best player in KJ Williams, who are thriving in Baton Rouge. LSU also added Illinois transfer Adam Miller, who is averaging 13 points per competition. This lineup is legit.

Penn State: Jalen Pickett is a star. The 6-foot-4 keeper ranks in the top 8 in the Big Ten in terms of goalscoring, clearance and assists. The Nittany Lions are getting ready to host the NCAA Tournament under the leadership of Micah Shrewsberry. The team’s victory at Illinois was a sign that they were real.

Tier 3: Hard to keep them this low

Memphis: win golden brown is a signal that the Tigers are a real threat to being championship contenders in the USA Conference. They also play Alabama especially good on the road.

Rugers: The Scarlet Knights had Ohio State beat on the road but lost on one controversial buzzer-beater. However, victory India and Awaken the forest are signals that Rutgers is back in the NCAA Tournament. They are doing that with an excellent defense, drawing the opponent with only 54.3 points/match, ranking 5th in the country.

Awaken the forest: Demon Deacons have two of the better wins this season than any ACC team with a home win first. Duke and a win line at Wisconsin. While the ACC isn’t as heavy as it was in years past, it’s an in-depth conference with multiple teams that can beat you to any night. This Wake Forest group is definitely one of those groups.

Providence: Brothers have a star in Kentucky transfer Bryce Hopkins, who is scoring 16.7 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. Ed Cooley’s team started 3-0 in the Big East, which should send an announcement to the rest of the league.

Level 4: Go up

Marquette: Shaka Smart got the Golden Eagles off to a 10-4 start and 2-1 in the Big East game. This team is starting to play his style of basketball, and it’s clearly working. Victory is over baylor, Notre Dame and Creighton is proof.

USC: Andy Enfield’s team never seemed to get the respect it deserved. When. Yet here they are, with a final score of 10-3 and one of the top three in the standings. Pac-12. It’s time to start giving this show the respect it deserves.

West Virginia: The climbers weren’t ready for the most important time in Portland, but they’ve finally found their place. Bob Huggins’ team has won six of its last seven games, including an impressive 84-55 victory over Florida. This looks like a team that could make a return to the NCAA Tournament.

San Francisco: Chris Gerlufsen replaced Todd Golden and Dons didn’t miss a beat. Victory by 97-60 State of Arizona should have been a sign that USF should be vying for third place in the WCC again.

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Andy Katz is a longtime college basketball writer, analyst, and host. He can be seen on the Big Ten Network, as well as March Madness and NCAA.com, and he hosts the podcast “March Madness 365.” Katz has worked at ESPN for nearly two decades and before that nine years at newspapers.


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