N.C.A.A. Tournament Peek: Gonzaga Remains the Favorite, but the Blue Bloods Are Back


The NFL and College Football have won the titles and champions of the Los Angeles Rams and the University of Georgia. The Winter Olympics are in the rear-view mirror. And the beginning of the Major League Baseball season Lockout..

However, the men’s college basketball season is just heating up, with the NCAA tournament starting March 15th and ending the final four in New Orleans in early April.

Let’s take a look at the main themes of the college season so far.

Many people can’t see the bulldog before March because Gonzaga attends the West Coast Conference, which means that most games air on the East Coast at midnight.

But a year after suffering the only loss of the season In the NCAA Championship Game Against Baylor, Bulldogs are a favorite to win their first title again.They are ranked number one in the Associated Press polls Ken Pomeroy’s RankingAnd when the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Commission announced the expected Top 16 seeds on Sunday, Gonzaga was number one overall.

Unlike last season, the Bulldog (23-2, 12-0 WCC) has not been undefeated in the national tournament because he lost to Duke and Alabama, but he has won 16 games in a row and has already won 10 times in a row. We are ending the WCC regular season. title.

“Being undefeated is a significant achievement,” said Gonzaga coach Mark Few at a conference that could send four teams to this year’s NCAA tournament.

On Tuesday, Bulldog led Division I with 89.5 points per game. Also, to get a chance to confuse the team in March, the team should raise at least 85 or 90 points. Gonzaga’s five players are a skilled forward Drutimme (18.0 points per game, 6.3 rebounds per game) and a 7-foot freshman sensation Chet Holmgren (average 14.4 points, 9.6 rebounds, 3.4 blocks). Led by, he boasts a double-digit average score. It’s a game and is expected to be one of the top three in the NBA Draft this summer. Gonzaga Senior Andrew Nembird, with an average of 10.9 points and 5.7 assists in a year without many elite point guards at the top of college basketball, may be the most savvy floor general.

Last year, Duke and Kentucky I wasn’t able to attend the NCAA tournament in the same year First time since 1976. Another great power, Kansas, held the tournament as the third seed, Destroyed by Southern California, 85-5111th seed of the 2nd round.

This season, three blue bloods are back, all reaching the final four and having a legitimate shot to compete for the title.

At a meeting after 19 points above Kansas on Tuesday, Kansas sits on top of the Big 12 powerhouse at 23-4 and 12-2. Kansas is planned as the first seed by the Division I Men’s Basketball Committee, which includes athletic directors and conference commissioners, along with Gonzaga, Auburn and Arizona.

Both Duke and Kentucky featured a great blend of experienced senior players and one freshman and were projected as the second seed.

Mike Krzyzewski, 75, Duke coaches his final season (23-4, 13-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) And he seems to have all the weapons he needs to fight for the program’s sixth championship.

Blue Devils features five players who may be selected in the first round of the NBA Draft, led by a 6-foot-10 freshman Paolo Banchero. Wendell Moore Jr. in the Junior Wing (13.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists). Freshman guard Trevor Kiehl’s (12.0 points and 4.0 rebounds).

Kiehl’s recently said that this year’s team has “greater talent” and “greater depth” than the 2014-15 Duke team, which won the NCAA Championship, and can “reliably” reduce the net. rice field.

Kentucky, who lost 8 points to Duke at Madison Square Garden in November and blew Kansas 18 points in January, won the title because he blended elite freshmen like point guard Tyty Washington with an average of 12.4 points and 4.1. I’m aiming. Assist each game with experienced senior players and transfers.

Oscar Ziebwe, a 6-foot-9,255-pound junior transfer from West Virginia, dubbed the “Mountain Impersonating a Man” by a stubborn talent scout. Tom ConcharskyAverages 16.4 points per game and is Division I-Best 15.2 rebounds. He is a major candidate for the John R. Wooden Award and the Nice Smith Award for top college basketball players.

Kentucky (22-5, 11-3 Southeastern Conference) has a variety of other weapons. Kerrang Grady, a graduate of Davidson, averages 12.3 points per game, shooting 45.1% from a range of 3 points. The junior transfer from Georgia is a speedster with an average of 9.6 points and 7.1 assists.

When the list of 15 coaches competing for the Nice Miss Coach of the Year Award was released last week, how many have run the program for many years, including Gonzagazfu, Baylors Scott Drew, Kentuckies John Calipari, and Auburns Bruce Pearl. The name of that family was posted. Few teams have all Drew and Pearl teams ranked first in the Associated Press polls this season.

However, two first-year coaches are also participating in this award and the March Deeplan. Tommy Lloyd from Arizona and Mark Adams from Texas Tech.

Lloyd, 47, came to Arizona from Gonzaga. He was the chief recruiter under Few. Sean Miller was unable to reach the final four for 12 years on the program and the team was the subject of an FBI and NCAA investigation.

Lloyd’s first season as head coach was to lead the Wildcats (24-2, 14-1 Pac-12 Conference) to the top of the league and make a huge contribution from the NBA’s draw-winning Benedict Maturin. That’s what I did. 6ft 6 native from Montreal, averaging 17.4 points and 5.8 rebounds.

After Chris Beard left for Texas, 65-year-old Adams was promoted to Texas Tech Head Coach position in April. Despite losing a few players in the transfer, Adams rebuilt the roster, and 9th-placed Red Raiders (21-6, 10-4 Big 12) are now Texas and defending national champion Baylor. I have won both.

“He always wants to get the most out of us. He’s doing a good job right now,” said Junior Guard Terence Shannon Jr.

Juwan Howard, Penny Hardaway and Patrick Ewing have some things in common. They all starred in the NBA and are now coaches at their alma mater.

They are also struggling in different ways at the college level.

Howard, a coach at the University of Michigan Suspension of 5 games and a $ 40,000 fine Later monday He slapped the head of an assistant coach in Wisconsin After losing to the badger on Sunday, at the handshake line. Howard, who apologized and was eligible to return to the Big Ten Conference tournament, said he was angry that the time-out was delayed when Wisconsin coach Greg Guard had a double-digit lead.

Veteran director Phil Martelli will lead Michigan (14-11, 8-7 Big Ten). Michigan has been in the NCAA tournament bubble after ranking fourth for the rest of the regular season.

In Memphis, Hardaway spoke openly about his desire to win the national championship. The Tigers were one of the pre-season favorites after Hardaway persuaded superstars newcomers Emoni Bates and Jay Lenduren to reclassify and register this season as freshmen. However, Bates, who was once compared to the young Kevin Durant, struggled early and hasn’t played since late January due to a back injury. Without Bates, the Tigers (15-9, 9-5 American Athletic Conference) won six games in a row before losing to Southern Methodist on Sunday. They have an impressive victory over Alabama and Houston, but remain in the NCAA tournament bubble.

In Georgetown, Ewing and Hoyas make history, but it’s not a good way to do it. They lost 16 games in a row and are standing 6-20, 0-15 overall at the Big East Conference. A year after winning the conference tournament, Georgetown is trying to avoid becoming the first big east team to finish 0-19 in the league.

When Baylor won the NCAA title last spring, the team started two transfers (Davion Mitchell and MaCio Teague) and two more (Adam Flagler and Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua) off the bench. Gonzaga has launched another transfer, Nembad, with a running point guard to the title game.

Given that more than 1,700 players have joined the NCAA Transfer Portal since last season, don’t be surprised to see them play a role in the team moving deeper in March. Gonzaga, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and Texas Tech all have key transfers on their roster. Baylor brought in former Arizona and Georgetown guard James Akinjo after losing three pros. James Akinjo has averaged 13.2 points and 5.8 assists in 10th place Bears.

At Auburn (24-3, 12-2 SEC), Pearl is Walker Kessler (North Carolina), KD Johnson (Georgia), Wendell Green Jr. (Eastern Kentucky), Zepp Jasper (University Charleston).

The 7-foot-1 Kessler teamed up with Jabari Smith, who could be number one in this year’s NBA Draft, giving Tigers a terrifying frontline that some NBA teams envy. After averaging 4.4 points, 3.2 rebounds and 0.9 blocks as a Tar Heels freshman, Kessler averaged 12.0 points, 8.2 rebounds and Division I’s best 4.6 blocks. With a recent victory over Texas A & M, Kessler scored a triple-double with 12 points, 12 blocks and 11 rebounds.

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