I know it's March when I have to hear about Gonzaga's schedule and how they can't win a title playing in the WCC. It makes no goddamn sense. Did you know Gonzaga had played a tougher schedule than Baylor according to KenPom and Torvik's metrics? Not too shabby. We do this any time Gonzaga is good. Immediately start to pick why they can't be the best team in the country. For whatever reason people refuse to believe Gonzaga can be this sort of dominant. That reason mostly because Gonzaga plays in the WCC and most people stop watching Gonzaga after 1-2 games to start the year.
Well I'm here to remind you that Gonzaga has been the best team in the country before the season started and they still are on March 3. Couple lottery picks? Check. Can beat you playing in the post? Check. Can beat you playing uptempo and shooting? Check. No. 1 offense in the country? Yep. Top-10 defense in the country? Have that too. SEEMS PRETTY FUCKING GOOD!
This isn't even a knock on Baylor, Michigan or Illinois. All are damn good teams and can win it all, that's the beauty of the fluky NCAA Tournament and win and advance. But Gonzaga has been the best team in the country from the get go. Spare me any argument that they don't play anybody. They just smoke everyone they play. Shit, they beat top-5 WVU with Suggs barely playing and getting injured in the game. Just for comparison sake on KenPom, Gonzaga has the 104th toughest schedule in the country, Baylor has 90th. On Torvik Ratings it's Gonzaga at 94 and Baylor at 92. So we can pretty much throw that argument out the window right? Because who gives a shit if they play in the WCC.
And as for the other false narrative that Gonzaga chokes in the NCAA Tournament. For the last 15 years here's what they've done:
They've won a game 13 of 15 years. They've played to their seed expectations 10 of 15 years. That's pretty fucking consistent! The biggest slip up was when they lost to Wichita State in the Round of 32 in 2012-13. That Wichita State team had a bunch of pros on the roster though. It's not like they lost to some bums. They lost to a team that went undefeated the next year until that plucky 8 seed Kentucky caught them.
Back to this Gonzaga team though. Teams that I tend to like to win a title have a few mix of things - top end talent, can play any sort of way and the right mix of lineup versatility. Gonzaga has all that. Jalen Suggs is going to be a top-5 pick in the NBA Draft. Corey Kispert is now a projected lottery pick. They can play with the two lead guards in Suggs and Nembhard and move Kispert to the 4 where he's a complete mismatch. They can go with just one of Suggs/Nembhard, move Kispert to the 3 and play Anton Watson at the 4. They matchup with any team in the country. Plus, we can watch Jalen Suggs do shit like this:
Yes, Baylor and Michigan will always get more notable wins in conference, but that's not a reason to say they have been better than Gonzaga. Wire-to-wire No. 1 in the polls. A healthy lead as the No. 1 team on KenPom. 24-0 with 23 of the wins by double digits. 23 of 24! Want more stats? No. 1 in the country in effective field goal percentage. No. 1 in the country in 2pt percentage. Top-40 in 3pt percentage. Top-40 in turnover percentage. Top-20 in defensive rebounding percentage. This team doesn't have a weakness.
Just say it. Gonzaga is the best team in the country and have been all year.