With the AP Top 25 and the USA Today Coaches Polls out, it's clear to see that groupthink is dominating the polls. In fact, you have to go 11 teams deep before you find a single discrepancy between the two polls. But preseason polls are meaningless – or more accurately, they're almost meaningless.
RPI will dominate the discussion come Tourney time (despite numerous worthless attempts to downplay it by the Selection Committee), but for now all we have are the polls. This means teams have been left out who maybe shouldn't have been. And this means those coaching staffs use this information to try and stir their team.
Here are five who will begin the season with chips on their shoulders. These teams were left off of both polls.
Miami (FL): Reggie Johnson is back, and healthy, which gives the Canes the best 4-5 combo in the ACC. Having a healthy Johnson not only means they have a dominant rebounder, but it frees Kenny Kadji to be more disruptive setting screens on the perimeter. He can kill teams from there, popping or rolling. They have All Conference potential at the 2-guard with senior Durand Scott and a developing sophomore point in Shane Larkin.
Pittsburgh: A return to the big time after a one-year absence? Pitt has big man Steven Adams – the media's pick for BE Freshman of the Year – as well as a loaded back court. Expect Jamie Dixon's club to get back to their defensive ways after a year in which they struggled to control the boards (117th in offensive rebounds allowed) and gave up far too many easy twos (229th nationally). They'll also have a healthy Tray Woodall returning for his senior year, and some nice options on the perimeter including freshman James Robinson and junior transfer swingman Trey Zeigler.
New Mexico: The Lobos lose all-everything Drew Gordon as well as A.J. Hardeman, but return three other solid starters. Junior Kendall Williams and sophomore Hugh Greenwood provide a capable backcourt, while junior Tony Snell returns at the wing and as the top 3-point threat. But Steve Alford's teams get it done on defense and to keep that reputation up he'll need some new bigs to make their marks. Luckily he has some options.
Tennessee: It didn't take long for Cuonzo Martin to get the Volunteers back into the national conversation. After a horrid start last season, Jarnell Stokes helped right the ship and now Tennessee enters Martin's second season with a deep, talented, and athletic roster. Point guard Trae Golden and power forward Jeronne Maymon both have All Conference talent.
Virginia Commonwealth: Last year validated Shaka Smart as an head coach who is approaching elite status. Now, in the brutal A10, he'll need to prove himself all over again. He has a deep bench of talented perimeter players to work with who can score in a variety of ways and have experience with Smart's defensive system. Outside of Juvonte Reddic the front line isn't going to blow anyone away, but they don't need to. Just play defense and clean up around the rim.