When the first NET rankings of the 2022-23 season came out, there was quite a shock in the top-20. A WAC school was sitting at in the top-10 of the first NET rankings of the season.
Yes, the Sam Houston Bearkats were among the college basketball elites. And deservedly-so.
The Bearkats were one of a handful of teams with a with multiple Quad 1 wins. And, the Bearkats had blown out other Division I opponents by 30-plus points at the Fort Myers Tip-Off during Feast Week.
Sam Houston opened the season with thrilling win at Oklahoma. The Bearkats then went to Pac-12 territory and led wire-to-wire in a win over Utah at the Huntsman Center.
And the Bearkats followed up that trip to Salt Lake City with a pair of dominating wins in Florida. Sam Houston beat Northern Illinois and South Dakota by an average of 32.5 points to win the Fort Myers Tip-Off.
The first loss came a week before the first NET rankings came out. Sam Houston struggled in the second half at Nevada in a 78-60 loss to the Wolfpack.
And the second loss came one day after the first NET rankings came out. Again, struggles in the second half at Oklahoma State led to a 65-51 loss.
So, to date, Sam Houston has two Quad 1 wins. Oklahoma sits at 51 in the nET. And Utah sits at 44.
Oklahoma State currently sits at 48. And Nevada sits at 62.
So, four Quad 1 games. And the Bearkats went 2-2 in those games.
Sitting in the top-10 in the first NET rankings of the 2022-23 season seems accurate.
Staying in the top-20 heading into WAC play seems even more accurate.
Now, the Bearkats get a chance to prove the performance in the non-conference slate was not a fluke. Sam Houston opens WAC play at Utah Valley on Thursday and then at New Mexico State on New Year’s Eve. The Bearkats then host GCU on Jan. 5.
So, the Bearkats get three of the top-5 teams in the WAC resume seeding system right out of the gate.
Perhaps starting WAC play with three straight wins bolts the Bearkats right back into the top-10 in the NET.