We’re not too far away until Selection Sunday for the NCAA Basketball Tournament. As of today, there are only two clear-cut favorites in Baylor and Gonzaga. Yet, there are still 64 more spots to fill out. There are a number of teams viewed as national title contenders this season outside of the Bears and Bulldogs by fans and analysts but not all of them are for real.
Here’s a closer look at who are contenders and pretenders in the elite edition of “Buy or Sell”.
If you are looking for high-scoring, fast-play, and future NBA talent on the floor at the same time, the Bulldogs are your team. Led by Jalen Suggs, this Gonzaga offense is hard to stop. They rank 1st in Field Goals made, Field Goal percentage, two-point percentage, and points per game. They have won all their games by double-digits except for an early game against West Virginia where Suggs got hurt, and they still won by five.
Despite being in a weak conference Mark Few scheduled several top 25 teams and dominated them all. Gonzaga proposes a threat come March due to their depth. With so much uncertainty of when or if games will be played depth is even more important. The Zags have had 10 guys play 16 games or more this season.
The Bulldog’s success has come from how much better they have gotten individually. In a pandemic, they have bonded, worked on their individual game, and came together to put a product of the court that we haven’t seen in a long time. Corey Kispert has become a much better defender, Drew Timme has improved his offensive footwork and ability to finish around the rim.
Along with Joel Ayayi becoming a better leader and Andrew Nembhard has bought into a new system completely. Add that with arguably the most polarizing freshmen in the country in Suggs, you have a recipe for big-time success.
The Volunteers are very inconsistent offensively. Analytically they are solid, ranking 50th in offensive efficiency and run a unique style of offense. Tennessee favors the mid-range jumper over any other. The Vols rank 39th in the ratio of mid-range attempts to total field goal attempts. If you allow them to take mid-range jumpers they will make that at an efficient rate.
Currently rated in the top-50 in mid-range shooting percentage, they make roughly 42.6% of their attempts from there. What scares me about this team is inconsistency, you never know what team you’re going to get. At times they look legit but in other moments they can go long lapses without scoring.
Like UVA, the Volunteers only have three players that shoot over 30 percent from three and rely on free-throw shooting and mid-range jumpers to score. Tennesse is very good defensively but going five to seven minutes without scoring will not get it done in March.