NFL and college football have crowned their championships, with the Los Angeles Rams and the University of Georgia taking the title. The Winter Olympics are in the rearview mirror. And the start of the Major League Baseball Season is changing because lockout.
But the men’s college basketball season is only heating up, with the NCAA tournament set to begin March 15 before concluding with the Finals in New Orleans in early April.
Here are the main themes of the college season so far.
Gonzaga was once again the team to beat.
Because Gonzaga is participating in the West Coast Conference – meaning most of its games are broadcast late into the night on the East Coast – a lot of people don’t get to see the Bulldogs before March.
But a year after they lost their only season in the NCAA championship game against Baylor, the Bulldogs were once again the favorites to win their first title. They are ranked #1 in the Associated Press poll and in Ranking of Ken Pomeroyand when the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee announced the predicted Top 16 seeds on Sunday, Gonzaga came in at No. 1 overall.
Unlike last season, the Bulldogs (23-2, 12-0 WCC) will not enter the national league unbeaten as they lost to Duke and Alabama, but they won 16 games in a row and ended the WCC season 10th in a row. position.
With the convention able to send four teams to this year’s NCAA, Gonzaga Coach Mark Few said that “undefeated is a pretty big achievement.”
Going into Tuesday, the Bulldogs lead Division I with 89.5 points per game – and again, a team will likely have to spend at least 85 or 90 points to have a chance of making it difficult for them in March. Five Gonzaga players boast double-digit averages, led by skilled forward Drew Timme (18.0 points per game, 6.3 rebounds per game) and freshman feeling 7-foot tall Chet Holmgren, who is averaging 14.4 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3.4 blocks per game and is predicted to be one of the top three picks in this summer’s NBA draft. In a year without many elite defenders topping college basketball, Gonzaga senior Andrew Nembhard, who averages 10.9 points and 5.7 assists, might be the general to understand. know best about the arena.
The Duke, Kansas, and Kentucky blue-bloods are all rivals.
Last year, Duke and Kentucky missed the NCAA tournament the same year for the first time since 1976. Another powerhouse, Kansas, entered the tournament as the third seed, but destroyed, 85-51, by Southern Californiaan 11 seed, in the second round.
This season, the three blue bloodlines have come back to life, and all have an official place to reach the Finals and compete for the title.
Kansas, 23-4 and 12-2 in its conference after beating Kansas State by 19 points on Tuesday, sits atop the Big 12 powerhouse. Backed by national player of the year, candidate Ochai Agbaji , who is averaging 20.2 points and 5.2 rebounds, Kansas has been predicted as the No 1 seed – along with Gonzaga, Auburn and Arizona – by the Division I Men’s Basketball Committee, whose members include athletic director and conference commissioner.
Duke and Kentucky, both of which have a great mix of specialized freshmen alongside experienced older players, are predicted to be the No.
Mike Krzyzewski, 75 years old, is coaching his final season at Duke (April 23, March 13 Atlantic Coast Conference) and seems to have all the weapons needed to contest the show’s sixth championship.
The Blues have five players that could be picked in the first round of the NBA draft, led by 6-foot-10-year-old freshman Paolo Banchero, one of three players predicted to average 16.9 points and 8.4 rebounds per game; Winger Wendell Moore Jr. (13.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists); and freshman defending Trevor Keels (12.0 points and 4.0 rebounds).
Keels recently said that this year’s team has “better talent” and “better depth” than the NCAA championship-winning 2014-15 Duke team – and that they can “definitely” cut the net.
Kentucky, which lost 8 points to Duke in November at Madison Square Garden and edged Kansas by 18 in January, has a spot in the title because it combines elite freshmen like point guard TyTy Washington, on average. 12.4 points and 4.1 assists per game, with older players skilled and transferable.
Oscar Tshiebwe, a 6-foot-9 high school athlete from West Virginia, who weighs 255 pounds, has been called “a mountain masquerading as a man” by talent scouts. Tom Konchalskiis averaging 16.4 points per game and 15.2 Division I best-of-character bounces. He is a leading contender for the John R. Wooden and Naismith Awards, given to players top college basketball.
Kentucky (May 22, March 11 Southeast Conference) also has a variety of other weapons: Kellan Grady, a transfer graduate from Davidson, is averaging 12.3 points per game while shooting 45, 1 percent from the 3-point range, and Sahvir Wheeler, a junior transfer from Georgia, is a pace player averaging 9.6 points and 7.1 assists.
Some freshman coaches have their teams in contention.
When the list of 15 coaches competing for Naismith’s Coach of the Year award was announced last week, the list featured some familiar names that have run their program for years: Gonzaga’s Poor , Baylor’s Scott Drew, Kentucky’s John Calipari and Auburn’s Bruce Pearl. Very few, the team of Drew and Pearl have both finished at number 1 in this season’s Associated Press poll.
However, two freshmen coaches also entered the prize pool and ran deep in March: Tommy Lloyd of Arizona and Mark Adams of Texas Tech.
Lloyd, 47, came to Arizona from Gonzaga, where he was the primary recruiter under the minority, to replace Sean Miller, who hadn’t made it to the Finals during his 12 years on the show and had their team. is the subject of investigation by the FBI and NCAA.
All Lloyd has done in his first season as head coach is lead the Wildcats (24-2, 14-1 Pac-12 Conference) to the top of the league table with the Making a significant contribution from the NBA draw, Bennedict Mathurin, a Montreal-based 6-footer, averaged 17.4 points and 5.8 rebounds.
Adams, 65, was named head coach at Texas Tech in April after Chris Beard left for Texas. Despite losing several players to transfers, Adams has rebuilt the squad, and the ninth-placed Red Raiders (21-6, 10-4 Big 12) now have two wins over Texas and Baylor, the defending champions. national enemy.
“He’s always wanted to get the best out of us, and he’s doing great right now,” junior guard Terrence Shannon Jr. said.
Some big-name trainers and programs are getting the spotlight – and not in a good way.
Juwan Howard, Penny Hardaway, and Patrick Ewing have a few things in common: they’ve all starred in the NBA and are all coaches to their grown-ups.
They are all also struggling in different ways at the college level.
Howard, the Michigan coach, is suspended for five games and fined $40,000 on next monday he slapped a Wisconsin assistant coach on the head in the handshake line after a heavy loss to the Badgers on Sunday. Howard, who has apologized and will be eligible to return to the Big Ten Conference tournament, said he was annoyed with being called late by Wisconsin coach Greg Gard while the Badgers were leading by double digits.
Veteran coach Phil Martelli will lead Michigan (14-11, 8-7 Big Ten), the team that is booming in the NCAA after being placed in 4th place, for the rest of the season.
At Memphis, Hardaway spoke openly about his aspirations to win the national championship, and the Tigers were among the pre-season favorites after Hardaway convinced superstar rookies Emoni Bates and Jalen Duren reclassified and enrolled this season as a freshman. But Bates, who has been compared to a young Kevin Durant, struggled early on and hasn’t played since late January because of a back injury. Without Bates, the Tigers (15-9, 9-5 American Athletic Conference) won six straight games before losing to Southern Methodist on Sunday. They own impressive victories over Alabama and Houston but still stand above the NCAA tournament bubble.
In Georgetown, Ewing and Hoyas are making history – and not in a good way. They lost 16 games in a row and finished 6-20 and 0-15 at the Big East Conference. A year after winning the championship, Georgetown is trying to avoid becoming the first Big East team to finish 0-19 in a league game.
Key transfers once again play an important role.
When Baylor won the NCAA title last spring, the team started two transfers (Davion Mitchell and MaCio Teague) and brought two more on from the bench (Adam Flagler and Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua). Gonzaga initiates another transfer, Nembhard, at the point of guard during the run to the title game.
With more than 1,700 players already entering the NCAA transfer portal after last season, don’t be surprised to see them play a role in the teams going deep into March. Gonzaga, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and Texas Tech all have important transfers on their roster. After losing three players to the pros, Baylor brought in James Akinjo, the former Arizona and Georgetown keeper who is averaging 13.2 points and 5.8 assists for the ranked team. 10th is Bears.
At Auburn (24-3, 12-2 SEC), Pearl may have hit the jackpot with the addition of Walker Kessler (North Carolina), KD Johnson (Georgia), Wendell Green Jr. (Eastern Kentucky) and Zep Jasper (College of Charleston).
The 7-foot-tall Kessler teamed up with Jabari Smith, a potential No. 1 pick in this year’s NBA draft, to give the Tigers a fearsome frontline that some NBA teams must envy. After averaging 4.4 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 0.9 blocks as a freshman with Tar Heels, Kessler is averaging 12.0 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 4.6 blocks at best. Division-I. In his recent win over Texas A&M, Kessler hit a triple-double with 12 points, 12 blocks and 11 rebounds.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/23/sports/basketball/mens-college-basketball-tournament-preview.html NCAA Peek: Gonzaga Tournament Still Popular, But Blue Bloods Are Back