Nothing is more certain to be wrong than a preseason poll: Projecting the potential success of teams that have yet to play a game is an exercise in futility.
It is also certain that where a team starts — as in Thursday's college men's basketball preseason coaches poll — doesn't necessarily have anything to do with where it finishes.
Still, it stings when a consensus of coaches finds you unworthy of their top 25. So here are five teams that are, for now, outside looking in ... but very likely won't be once the season gets going:
Though the Tigers haven't been to the NCAA tournament since 2013 and are coming off three consecutive losing seasons, there is a lot of interest in this team. Missouri has a new coach, Cuonzo Martin, a new assistant coach, Michael Porter Sr., and some significant new talent, starting with Michael Porter Jr., potentially the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft next spring.
Bringing in the Porters, father and sons (including Jontay), helped deliver other top talent, including Jeremiah Tilmon, a top-50 player from East St. Louis, Ill., and top-150 guard Blake Harris.
The Tigers will make some noise this season.
The Bulldogs, always a March favorite, actually fared better in the preseason coaches poll — 28th — than they have in most predictions from the magazines and from the coaches in their own conference (Big East), who picked Butler eighth. New coach LaVall Jordan will have his work cut out, but he can rely on 6-7 senior forward Kelan Martin, who is among the best in the Big East. This is a winning program that often is overlooked.
Always among the nation's best defensive teams, the Cavaliers just need to manufacture a bit more offensive firepower. A mix of veterans and talented newcomers should keep Virginia in the mix in the ACC ... and in the top 25.
Come on! The Badgers have been to the Sweet 16 six of the last seven seasons, and they have coach Greg Gard on the sidelines and 6-10 junior Ethan Happ back on the court. When some of the new guys start getting it going, Wisconsin should be right back where it always is.
The Golden Grizzlies are coming off a 25-9 season, 14-4 in the Horizon, that ended in disappointment when they lost in the conference tournament. They won't want that to happen again. Oakland will have three players, Jalen Hayes, Martez Walker and Kendrick Nunn, each of whom will be a candidate for conference player of the year. A lot to like about Oakland.