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Top-25 rankings are wildly overvalued

Rankings are just an illusion based on individual opinions of how a team looks. In the grand scheme, they don’t matter.

NCAA Basketball: Oklahoma State at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a love-hate relationship.

The world is enamored with how high their favorite sports team is ranked, but when their team doesn’t live up to expectations, they all lose their minds. Texas Tech’s men’s basketball team was on top for a period of about two weeks and the fans went wild.

“We will at least be in the Elite 8, maybe even the Final Four”.

“Look at all those Ws. We are going to the championship.”

“This team is the best team we’ve had in years. This team has it all.”

...and then Tech lost a few games and suddenly fans aren’t as interested anymore.

The truth is college basketball rankings are just an illusion. Rankings are based on individual opinions of how a team looks. When you start out the season beating teams like Maine and Savannah State by 30 points, of course it seems like you’re an amazing team.

The AP and Coaches polls will notice, but there’s more to a basketball team (or any sports team) than just the illusion of being a good team. It’s not just about wins and losses, It’s about the stats, strength of schedule, offensive and defensive efficiency on the court, the opposing team’s offensive and defensive efficiency on the court, etc.

Rankings after week three are just inaccurate. There is no possible way to know how good a team is three weeks into the season when you hardly have anything to compare it to.

When fans see their team is in the top-10 after week 3, they start making plans. They could already see their team cutting down the nets at the championship game. After a few losses those rankings start to decline and you begin to hear phrases like “I’m done with this team.”

Don’t buy into the hype one way or another. It’s a long, grueling season - particularly in the Big 12 - and stretches of wins and losses are to be expected. The important thing is simply to earn an invitation to the NCAA Tournament. Other than that, it’s all about getting better with each and every game, regardless of the result.

The teams that are battle tested are the ones who excel the most in March and with a top-25 strength of schedule, the Red Raiders are exactly where they need to be at this point in the season.