Making the case for Duke, Gonzaga, Baylor as No. 1 in CBB
It is not quite March Madness, but there is already debate for who should be number one in the country at the halfway point of January.
Baylor, Duke, or Gonzaga: who do you have as your number one? Based on last week’s poll: Gonzaga came in at No. 1, Duke at No.2 and Baylor at No. 4.
That question will ring in everyone’s ears until the latest polls are revealed later today, so here is the case for each squad.
Gonzaga might be the clear choice for the top spot in the polls when factoring in their 18-1 record and number one placement in the polls during the last three weeks of the season. It also helps to be the top scoring team in college basketball (87.8 PPG) so it gives the Bulldogs a slight advantage over the other squads offensively.
Gonzaga’s only loss came to current No. 19 Michigan back in November 82-64 on a neutral court in the Bahamas. Not exactly losing at home.
Their biggest win over the year arguably comes over Oregon when the Bulldogs took out the Ducks 73-72 in overtime the day before losing their only game of the season. Oregon currently ranks out at No. 9 in the current AP Poll and sport a 12-3 record.
History suggests Gonzaga will remain at the top because they have lost since November while hanging onto the top spot in the polls.
Duke, no stranger to the No. 1 spot in polls, also only have one loss on the season: a surprising upset to SF Austin.
CBS Sports' Matt Norlander made an interesting observation about the Blue Devils: they rank number one in the KenPom, Sagarin, BPI, and KPI rankings.
Overall, Duke sport the best squad on both ends of the floor because they are the only one of these three teams that has a top ten offensive and defensive ranking according to KenPom. After all, the old saying is ‘defense wins championships.’
Duke would be an overwhelming favorite to be the number one team in the polls week in and week out if they remained undefeated and did not lose to SF Austin earlier this season. That will likely be the reason the Blue Devils remain at number two this week.
Baylor has an interesting case despite being the number four team in last week’s poll. They are No. 1 in the NET rankings and are 5-0 against ranked teams this season.
The Bears only loss was their second game of the season: a 67-64 home loss to Washington, who received votes in the last poll. Since then, they have been on a roll.
They might make the poll maker’s decision much harder after their road win on Saturday over No. 3 Kansas, no easy task. Plus, a win over current No. 6 Butler earlier in the year is looking better and better.
For comparison’s sake, ESPN’s Jeff Borzello has his top three starting with Baylor, followed by Gonzaga and Duke for the new week.
Last week’s top ten teams in order were: Gonzaga, Duke, Kansas, Baylor, Auburn, Butler, San Diego State, Michigan State, Oregon and Florida State.
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