Five power-conference schools — Baylor in the Big 12, Villanova in the Big East, Alabama in the SEC, Virginia in the ACC, and UCLA in the Pac-12 — are entering this weekend with perfect league records. Of the group, the biggest surprise is probably the Crimson Tide considering Nate Oats’ team started unranked.
Did you realize Alabama is taking an eight-game winning streak into Saturday’s game with Mississippi State — and that the Crimson Tide has won their past three games by an average of 27 points while bombing the opposition from beyond the arc? They were 14-of-30 from 3-point range in an 85-65 victory over Kentucky, 15-of-36 from 3-point range in a 90-59 victory over Arkansas, and 23-of-43 from 3-point range in a 105-75 victory over LSU. Add it up, and Alabama has made 52 of the 109 3-pointers it’s attempted in its past three contests. That means Alabama took, on average, 36.3 3-pointers per game in that stretch, and made 47.7% of them. So it’s not difficult to understand why those games were all lopsided.
Is this sustainable?
At that rate, probably not. But the fact that Alabama has the 11th-best adjusted defensive efficiency rating in the sport makes the Crimson Tide a legitimate Final Four contender. Going into every game, you know nearly every other shot is coming from beyond the arc. If Alabama makes above 40% of them, it probably isn’t losing. And even if it doesn’t make a great rate, the defense is strong enough to keep the Crimson Tide in games against nearly anybody, which is among the reasons Alabama, No. 10 in Saturday morning’s updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings, is now considered the favorite in the SEC. The school has not won a regular-season league title in men’s basketball since 2002. But, barring injuries, a surprise, or a collapse, that figures to change come March.
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Saturday’s Top 25 And 1 rankings
Gonzaga’s perfect record is headlined by double-digit wins over Iowa, Kansas and Virginia. The Zags are projected to be double-digit favorites in every game between now and Selection Sunday.
Baylor’s perfect record is highlighted by victories over Kansas, Texas Tech and Illinois. The Bears are the only undefeated team left that plays in a power conference.
Villanova’s resume is highlighted by wins over Texas, Seton Hall and Marquette. The Wildcats will take a seven-game winning streak into Saturday’s game with Providence.
Michigan is 8-1 in the first two quadrants with double-digit wins over Minnesota, Wisconsin and Purdue. The Wolverines’ lone loss came at Minnesota.
Texas’ most impressive wins are road wins at Kansas and West Virginia. Both of the Longhorns’ losses are considered Quadrant 1 defeats.
Kansas’ resume includes victories over West Virginia, Texas Tech and Creighton. Three of the Jayhawks’ four losses are to schools ahead of them in the Top 25 And 1.
Iowa’s five-game winning streak was snapped Thursday by Indiana. The loss dropped the Hawkeyes’ record in the first two quadrants to 7-3.
Six of West Virginia’s nine wins have come against top-100 KenPom teams. All four of the Mountaineers’ losses are considered Quadrant 1 losses.
Houston’s body of work is highlighted by victories over Texas Tech and Boise State. The Cougars will take a five-game winning streak into Saturday’s game at Temple.
Alabama’s eight-game winning streak includes double-digit victories over Florida, Kentucky, Arkansas and LSU. The Crimson Tide have made 52 3-pointers in their past three games.
Minnesota owns Quadrant 1 wins over Iowa, Michigan, Ohio State and Saint Louis. All four of the Golden Gophers’ losses have come inside the first quadrant.
Texas Tech’s resume is highlighted by a road win at Texas. Three of the Red Raiders’ four losses are to teams ahead of them in the Top 25 And 1.
Wisconsin has eight wins in the first two quadrants – among them victories over Minnesota and Rutgers. The Badgers will take a two-game winning streak into Saturday’s game with Ohio State.
Virginia is 5-0 in the ACC after Saturday’s 85-50 victory over Clemson. The Cavaliers have won their five league games by an average of 15.4 points.
Tennessee’s three-game winning streak was snapped Tuesday at Florida. The loss dropped the Vols to 2-2 in Quadrant 1 opportunities.
Saint Louis’ resume features wins over NC State and LSU. The Billikens have not played since Dec. 23 because of COVID-19 issues inside the program.
Ohio State’s three-game winning streak was snapped Tuesday by Purdue. All four of the Buckeyes’ losses qualify as Quadrant 1 defeats.
Illinois owns four Quadrant 1 victories — among them wins over Minnesota and Purdue. Four of the Illini’s five losses qualify as Quadrant 1 defeats.
Oregon improved to 4-1 in the Pac-12 via Saturday’s 79-73 victory at Utah. The Ducks’ resume also includes wins over Stanford and Seton Hall.
UCLA’s body of work is highlighted by wins over Colorado and Arizona. The Bruins are alone atop the Pac-12 standings with an 8-0 league record.
Virginia Tech’s resume is highlighted by wins over Villanova, Clemson and Duke. The Hokies will take a three-game winning streak into Wednesday’s game with Boston College.
Creighton is 2-1 in Quadrant 1 opportunities with a win over UConn. The Bluejays are on a two-game losing streak after Wednesday’s loss to Providence.
Missouri’s resume is highlighted by wins over Illinois and Oregon. The Tigers will take a two-game winning streak into Saturday’s game at Tennessee.
Florida State is 4-1 since losing at home by double-digits to UCF. The Seminoles will take a three-game winning streak into Saturday’s game with Clemson.
Boise State has won 13 straight games since a season-opening loss to Houston. Eleven of those wins have come by double-digits.
Purdue’s body of work includes three Quadrant 1 wins – among them victories over Ohio State and Indiana. Five of the Boilermakers’ six losses are inside the first quadrant.
Published: 2021-01-23 16:13:01
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