By Jayson Moyer
February 9, 2017
This year’s college basketball season is already more entertaining than last year. And last year ended with a buzzer beater by Villanova to win the National Championship.
College basketball is deep. College basketball is talented. College basketball is very good.
In terms of the depth, there is parody. It starts with the ACC, the deepest conference in the country, which boasts five teams in the AP Top 25: Louisville (No. 4,) North Carolina (No. 8,) Virginia (No. 12,) Florida State (No. 15,) and Duke (No. 18.)
Gonzaga remains the lone undefeated team in the country at 26-0, but their really only quality-resume win came against Arizona in December. Reigning champ Villanova has only lost twice, while Kansas, Oregon, Baylor, Wisconsin, Arizona and UCLA are all noteworthy teams who have each lost only three times.
The talent level of college basketball is through the roof this year. Perhaps no team may be more fun to watch than UCLA, who lacks defensively but puts on an offensive display that is must-watch television.
UCLA has six players who average double figures in scoring, including freshmen TJ Leaf and Lonzo Ball, and senior Bryce Alford. All three shoot over 43 percent from three point range, while the entire Bruins team shoots north of 42 percent.
A team that has played subpar basketball lately and is sitting at 19-5 is Kentucky. The Wildcats were spectacular at the beginning of the season, but have lost three out of their last five. Freshman Malik Monk is averaging close to 22 points per game and shooting 41 percent from three. He is college basketball’s version of Steph Curry.
Despite Kentucky’s recent struggles, it would still be no surprise to see them in Phoenix for the Final Four in April.
Of all the good that college basketball has to offer this season, not all of them are capable of winning a National Championship.
Gonzaga is legit. However, they have not been battle tested, and arguably could remain untested, for the remainder of the regular season.
Villanova, Kansas, Louisville, Oregon, Wisconsin, UNC, Arizona and Kentucky are all teams that would be smart bets to make the Final Four.
Duke is finally just getting everyone back and starting to play together. If they figure it out, they have the most talented team in the country and could become that force once again.
West Virginia could get there because of their defense, and UCLA will not make it because of their lack of defense.
All in all, it is shaping up to be one heck of a finish as the final two months of the college basketball season wind down.