We’ve finally made it to the last week of conference play, and not soon enough. The Zags looked like they hit their WCC lull in the last two weeks, so the energy of tournament competition beginning next week will be most welcome. The content factories have also turned their attention to tournament season, so let’s see what’s on tap this week:
- The New York Times published its NCAA Tournament Preview, as written by Adam Zagoria, who identified Gonzaga as the team to beat. The Blue Bloods are squarely in the picture too, with Duke, Kansas, and Kentucky all named as contenders. For my money, Kentucky is the most likely of that trio to make the Final Four.
- Eamonn Brennan writes in his latest Power Rankings for The Athletic that it’s time for the sloppy 2013-era Gonzaga takes to stop. Couldn’t agree more.
- The NCAA Tournament Selection Committee revealed its top 16 teams over the weekend, with Gonzaga placed at No. 1. If you’re wondering whether the bracket teaser matters or not, Matt Norlander explores that question for you.
- In a straw poll panel discussion of the Player of the Year award candidates over at The Athletic, Drew Timme only showed up in one person’s (Jay Bilas) Top 3, while Chet Holmgren made a cameo in Gary Parrish’s rankings but also at #3. It appears that the award is going to be a battle between Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe and Wisconsin’s Johnny Davis. To be fair to those guys, they are having absolutely incredible seasons, and I guess with the way that Gonzaga shares the production throughout the lineup it’s not totally suprising.
- In his latest Power Rankings for ESPN, Jeff Borzello discusses the likelihood of Gonzaga securing its second straight top overall seed in the NCAA Tournament assuming it wins out between now and Selection Sunday considering the Zags own the top spot in all three predictive metrics and the NET. In that same piece, Borzello also names SMC’s Tommy Kuhse as his player of the week.
- Jay Bilas updated his ranking of the field 1-68 in version 2.0, which finds Gonzaga at the top of the heap thanks to its title as the best offensive team in the country.
- Bubble Watch is getting more and more serious. With respect to the WCC, The Athletic has Saint Mary’s in its “Should be in” category, which should stay that way even with a loss to Gonzaga this week so long as they don’t drop a game they shouldn’t to San Diego on Thursday. However, USF and BYU are on the outside looking in at the moment with BYU’s chances especially dire. ESPN agrees with The Athletic, as SMC is in the “Should be in” category for its Bubble Watch, with USF and BYU with work to do. No wonder the Cougars are looking for an extra resume opportunity before the WCC Tournament begins.
- In his latest bracket, Joe Lunardi has USF and SMC both in the field, with BYU among the First Four Out. Meanwhile, Jerry Palm has four WCC teams in the field with BYU just sneaking in to the First Four.