March Madness: The 10 Most Overrated Teams in the 2022 NCAA Tournament

It's always tough to step back and examine the 68 teams good enough to make the NCAA Tournament and then pinpoint which of them are not as good as perception, but when we're building our brackets, we have to discuss some hard truths.

We know that not all 5 seeds, for example, are equally good, and figuring out which teams don't really live up to their seeds will help us build better brackets and identify upset opportunities.

So I compared each tournament team's nERD score -- the point differential that our algorithm would expect a team to beat (or lose to) an average team by on a neutral court -- to the historical average nERD of their granted seed. This will let us see which 5 seeds aren't as strong as historical 5 seeds, for example.

To keep this as impactful as possible, I'll shed the 11 seeds and worse from the conversation. Not all of these teams are drastically overrated, necessarily, but they have the largest gaps versus the historical seed average.

10. Arkansas Razorbacks (4 Seed, West)

nERD: 13.09
nERD vs. Seed Average: -1.02

The Arkansas Razorbacks overcame a rough time around the calendar turn. They started 9-0 and then went 1-5 from December 11th through January 8th but have since been 15-3.

They got trounced in the SEC Tournament 82-64 by Texas A&M Aggies yet still overall were 7-6 in Quadrant 1 games, via BartTorvik.

They're only around a point worse than the historical 4 seed, and they are not the most overrated 4 seed in the tournament!

9. USC Trojans (7 Seed, Midwest)

nERD: 10.52
nERD vs. Seed Average: -1.07

The Southern California Trojans' 26-7 record includes a 14-6 mark in Pac 12 play. They enter the tournament with a 1-3 record in their past four games, which includes a 20-point loss to Arizona as well as two losses to UCLA (by 7 and by 10). Those are respectable losses.

In all, they're 4-4 in Quadrant 1 matchups and play at a slow enough pace that they can inject some variance into their matchups. Our model gives them a 63.3% chance to beat the Miami (FL) Hurricanes.

8. Kansas Jayhawks (1 Seed, Midwest)

nERD: 17.74
nERD vs. Seed Average: -1.17

We always need a caveat with 1 seeds at this point because despite finding themselves on this list, the Kansas Jayhawks are third in our power ratings. With the added parity to the NCAA, 1 seeds just aren't as elevated as they historically have been (unless you're the Gonzaga Bulldogs).

Kansas is 12-5 in Quadrant 1 matchups, and they have just one loss outside that scope. They're still a great team.

7. Creighton Bluejays (9 Seed, Midwest)

nERD: 9.10
nERD vs. Seed Average: -1.27

The Creighton Bluejays boast a top-20 adjusted defense but an adjusted offense that is 124th, via KenPom. They've used that to net a 22-11 record overall.

Their point guard, Ryan Nembhard, sustained a season-ending wrist injury on February 23rd. They're 3-3 since then and are 7-2 in games decided by five points or fewer. That's some good fortune.

6. Colorado State Rams (6 Seed, South)

nERD: 10.77
nERD vs. Seed Average: -1.43

A 25-5 record earned the Colorado State Rams a 6 seed in the South Region. They're highlighted by a top-25 adjusted offense, via BartTorvik, with a borderline top-100 defense.

They lost in the Mountain West Conference tournament 63-58 to the San Diego State Aztecs, an 8 seed, but finished above .500 in Quadrant 1 games (5-3).

Of note, KenPom ranks them sixth in luck rating, and they're 6-1 in seven games decided by five or fewer.

Also of note, their nERD rating (10.77) is the same as the price of a cheese pizza and a large soda at Panucci's Pizza.

5. Murray State Racers (7 Seed, East)

nERD: 10.15
nERD vs. Seed Average: -1.44

Murray State's Ohio Valley Conference tournament win earned them an automatic bid and the 7 seed in the East Region. BartTorvik had them 3.6 wins above the bubble anyway, so they probably didn't need the free ticket.

At a 10.15 nERD, they'd be overrated even for a 10 seed historically (10.48). Make no mistake, though: they're a dangerous squad that could bust brackets.

It's just that -- with a perfect 7-0 record in five-point games -- they are a little overrated as a 7 seed.

4. Baylor Bears (1 Seed, East)

nERD: 17.30
nERD vs. Seed Average: -1.61

The Baylor Bears made this list last year and went on to win the whole thing, so keep that in mind. This just -- again -- speaks to a decline in the average nERD of 1 seeds over the years.

They've, so far, been able to withstand injuries to Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua and LJ Cryer.

Whether they play the North Carolina Tar Heels or Marquette Golden Eagles in the Round of 32, our model views them as at least 80.0% likely to advance to the Sweet 16.

3. Miami Hurricanes (10 Seed, Midwest)

nERD: 8.22
nERD vs. Seed Average: -2.26

The Miami Hurricanes ended the year 23-10 and 14-6 in the ACC, which was good for 2.1 wins above the bubble, per BartTorvik. That includes a 4-3 Quadrant 1 record.

They're a top-20 adjusted offense, also via BartTorvik, and they had some bracket luck by drawing USC (ninth on this list) in the Round of 64.

2. Wisconsin Badgers (3 Seed, Midwest)

nERD: 10.74
nERD vs. Seed Average: -3.83

We don't quite need to be on upset alert in the Round of 64 with the Wisconsin Badgers (our model gives them an 88.0% chance to beat Colgate), but after that, be cautious.

Whether they play the LSU Tigers or the Iowa State Cyclones in the next round, our model puts their win odds below 60.0% (and would like LSU as the favorite).

They rank ninth in the nation in KenPom's luck rating, and 14 of their games were decided by five or fewer. In those games, they're 12-2. Grit matters, sure, but that good fortune can't last forever.

1. Providence Friars (4 Seed, Midwest)

nERD: 9.90
nERD vs. Seed Average: -4.21

The most over-seeded team in the tournament is the Providence Friars. At a 9.90 nERD, they're closest to a historical 11 seed (9.50). That's wild.

The luckiest team in the nation, per KenPom, Providence has an 11-2 record in games decided by five points or fewer. Only seven tournament teams have had a better win rate in games decided by five or fewer points.