CBS Sports: Arizona men’s basketball ‘overrated’ in preseason coaches poll

Oct 30, 2022, 6:05 AM
FILE - Arizona forward Azuolas Tubelis (10) puts up a shot next to TCU center Eddie Lampkin, left, ...

FILE - Arizona forward Azuolas Tubelis (10) puts up a shot next to TCU center Eddie Lampkin, left, during the first half of a second-round NCAA college basketball tournament game, Sunday, March 20, 2022, in San Diego. Arizona is a bit of an unknown entity, a key returning core surrounded by talented newcomers who hope to make up for the loss of NBA talent. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy, File)

(AP Photo/Denis Poroy, File)

Following a Sweet 16 appearance as the nation’s No. 2 team, Arizona men’s basketball ranks No. 17 in the preseason Associated Press Top 25.

However, the coaches poll ranks them 13th, with aligns with FanDuel Sportsbook’s higher outlook, as it has the Wildcats with the 10th-best odds to win the national championship.

Kyle Boone of CBS Sports lists Arizona as one of two overrated teams in the preseason coaches poll, along with No. 19 Alabama.

Arizona is 17th in the CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 and 17th also in the AP poll. That’s about where I’d rank them, too. No beef with having the Wildcats ahead of every other Pac-12 team, but some beef with having them ahead of TCU, Virginia and Auburn. No. 13 feels just a tad too generous for a team that lost two first round picks and an early second round pick, even if it recovered quite well overall with a solid transfer class and freshmen haul.

Boone mentioned the Wildcats’ losses to the NBA draft: Bennedict Mathurin (sixth overall), Dalen Terry (18th) and Christian Koloko (33rd).

Mathurin led the team in scoring and three-point efficiency with a minimum of 25 attempts. Terry was second in assists per game, as well as making an impact defensively and in the locker room.

Koloko also was a defensive stalwart, particularly as a rim protector. He led the team in blocks per game, where he ranked 14th nationally.

Three Wildcats were voted to preseason All-Pac-12 teams in the media poll — F Azuolas Tubelis, G Kerr Kriisa and G Pelle Larsson — while C Oumar Ballo was recognized as an honorable mention.

They’ll all need to take a leap to keep Arizona at the top of the college basketball pecking order.

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