Dom's CBB Top 25 (2/22/21)
We're getting closer to March so more and more people are starting to pay attention to the college basketball world. I see the same comments and conversations happening all the time. So here is a Q&A made up of questions I've received from various people over the past couple weeks.
Q: Gonzaga at #1? Baylor and Michigan might be better.
A: No, Gonzaga is actually significantly better. They have a more reliable offense, better coach, better point guards, and more NBA caliber players. In fact, Gonzaga currently has the highest KenPom efficiency rating of all time!
Q: But Gonzaga doesn't play anyone!
A: Actually, the Zags beat Kansas, Iowa, Virginia and Auburn all by double digits. They also beat West Virginia in a game where Gonzaga's star freshman point guard Jalen Suggs got injured. Now they beat the breaks off of every team in the West Coast Conference - which in a down year is still a top 10 conference in the sport (out of 32 conferences). Gonzaga's Strength of Schedule is top 100 - both overall & non-con - which is actually better than Baylor's SoS.
Q: Well Gonzaga hasn't played anyone real tough recently. Won't that hurt them come NCAA Tournament time?
A: I don't think so. In 2017 Gonzaga was in a similar situation and was unfazed by the lack of WCC competition. Gonzaga was 29-0 before they lost their final regular season game to BYU. They won the WCC Tournament and entered March Madness 32-1. They made a run to the national championship game by beating battle-tested tournament teams from the Big Ten, Big 12, Big East and SEC. In the ugliest championship game I've ever watched, Gonzaga battled through all of their big men getting in foul trouble and still held a lead over North Carolina at halftime. The Zags were even ahead with two minutes left in the game, but ultimately lost to UNC.
Q: I see Houston is ranked high again, are they back?
A: Yes, I think Houston is back. Earlier in the season the pre-season AAC POY Caleb Mills decided to leave Houston and enter the transfer portal. It hurt Houston's depth, and in turn their ceiling, and Houston took a couple bad losses to East Carolina & Tulsa. But just recently Houston gained a critical piece to its roster. 6'8" senior Fabian White missed the entire season but has now returned healthy. He only played 9 minutes in a loss at Wichita State. However, on Saturday White played 20 minutes and put up 10 & 9 and looked good doing so. I don't under-estimate the value of depth on a well rounded team like this.
About West Virginia
Q: I see West Va in the top 10, is this a classic Huggy Bear "Press Virginia" team?
A: Actually, not at all. This is the strangest team Bob Huggins has coached in Morgantown, because they're the opposite of every other one. This year's team is all offense, and not much defense. They're shooting the three ball really, really well. Of course big man Derek Culver is grabbing rebounds off the offensive glass. Ever since big man Oscar Tshiebwe left the team, Huggins moved away from the two-big lineups and it has created more opportunities for guys like Miles McBride, Taz Sherman and Sean McNeil to spread out and make it rain from the three point line. West Va is a high scoring, fun team to watch.
If you have any questions you want answered in next week's article, please let me know @Dom_MSU on Twitter!
4. Ohio State
9. West Virginia
12. Loyola Chicago
16. Florida State
18. Oklahoma State
24. Texas Tech