With so, so, so much talk happening about the NCAA tournament this week (it's our time to shine, baby!) certain trends emerge. Talking points are hammered home. Certain teams become chic picks and others are completely overlooked. A fun argument to hash up is just what teams are completely overrated. A little rabble-rousing on the Monday after is all part of the process.
So when we say the five teams below are overrated, the criteria we've used is pretty simple: said team is seeded too high or they are generally predicted to go further than we expect them to. Feel free to show your utter disagreement in the comments.
Cornell (27-4, 12-seed). Oh, the horror! How dare we go against the lovable Ivy League! In case you missed it, Jay Bilas picked this team to reach the ELITE FREAKING EIGHT Sunday night on ESPN, and that's enough to label it overrated. But it goes beyond Bilas' pick. Peek at the resúmé and you'll see Cornell beat only one team this season that made the tournament: 16th-seeded Vermont. While being slated at a 12 is something we don't disagree with, the overreaction to Cornell beating Temple is simply too much to bear. That, really, is why we have Cornell listed. The 12-has-to-beat-a-5 commandment is one we abide by at The Dagger, this one doesn't taste right. The Temple Owls were woefully under-seeded on the 5 line, and they're a tremendous defensive team. Cornell shoots the ball well but is not nearly the physical specimen that Temple is. No team has a better effective field-goal-percentage defense than Fran Dunphy's team. We can't harp on this enough: Take. Temple.
Four more we-told-you-so's after the jump.
Maryland (23-8, 4-seed).The Terrapins fall into the overrated-in-seeding and overrated-in-conversation category. Greivis Vasquez is a heck of a player and one who can singlehandedly get Maryland to the second weekend. We just don't think it's going to happen. First, the Terps are matched up with a team and a player (Houston and the leading scorer in Division I, Aubrey Coleman) that score at a high pace (78.7 points per) and swipe the ball from you 10 times per game. If forced to we're taking Maryland, but we expect this to be one of the five closest games of the first round. Then, if Maryland gets by Houston, it gets March mainstay Michigan State (which will roll over New Mexico State). We think Maryland's better suited as a 5 but wouldn't have complained if it got a 6. That Senior Night home win over Duke went a long way to this seeding. If Vasquez isn't high on emotion and prolific in points, his team turns into NIT-quality. Proceed with caution.
Vanderbilt (24-8, 4-seed). There's been a lot of complaining (rightfully) about the botched job the selection committee did with seedings this year. Few mis-seedings were more baffling than Vanderbilt, which certainly showed it can lose to inferior competition this season (lost to Georgia, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Western Kentucky). The Commodores aren't getting a lot of run in the hour-to-hour conversation about the tournament, but they certainly fall in the overrated-due-to-seeding category. A 4? We're still waiting for an explanation as to why this happened. Vanderbilt's alpha dog, A.J. Ogilvy, has spent far too much time in the background and will need to flip the switch immediately. We love Murray State to upset Vandy in the early tip on Friday.
Villanova (27-6, 2-seed). Interesting is the case of Villanova, which is fooling nobody at this point except, apparently, the selection committee. If we're to believe the S-curve was in place, then how do the Wildcats get paired in Duke's bracket? Villanova dropped six of its last 10 games and appears to have its best days in its past. There's no justifying Villanova as a 2, let alone Villanova as a 2 in Duke's region. (Yes, we have to reiterate that.) You probably won't find more than one loon in your office pool that will take Villanova to reach the Final Four a year after it achieved that feat because the Wildcats simply aren't playing defense for 20-minute stretches, let alone a full game. Teams can't expect to play in a let-it-roll fashion on offense and think that's going to work four times in a row in March. The Big East figured Villanova out. You wonder if it will escape its second-round game if it gets Richmond, which has a better backcourt than Villanova.
Baylor (25-7, 3-seed). What was once one of our dark horses to reach the Final Four has now been introduced by way of a megaphone to the bracket-picking world. There is no hiding Baylor. Pat Forde picked them to reach the Final Four Sunday night and now everyone's in on the secret. Heck, the hyperbole thrown about this team (which we still do really like) is quickly getting out of hand. Hate to drive into the teeth of the traffic coming this way, but we've gotta turn on the Bears as they relate to a Final Four pick. Elite Eight would be great but losses to Alabama and Colorado remind us that this athletic team can be clipped by a disciplined one. Also, just tuck this away: Baylor is an energetic, young group that has two players from New Orleans and four players from Louisiana. That's where the Bears get their first two games. Will the city and the family situation create some distraction/pressure for Tweety Carter and LaceDarius Dunn?
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