View Full Version : Bilas Index: Top 68 rankings (2/11/15 ESPN)

02-11-2015, 12:02 PM
In this Index the Zags are #4 ........ Here is what is said regarding the top 10 ..... (An ESPN Insider story on their website today - 2/11/15)
I like what they say about the Zags ..... Starting with, "We're fast running out of ways to describe just how lethal this Gonzaga offense really is....."

1. Kentucky Wildcats

The Wildcats are getting better, which should be bad news for any upcoming opponent. While Kentucky is not a perfect team and is beatable (it almost happened Tuesday night against LSU), doing so will take an extraordinary effort. Kentucky still has a historically good defense and, from an efficiency standpoint, a top-10 offense (in part due to scoring off its defense). On Saturday, Florida had one of its best performances (despite being without Michael Frazier in the second half) and Kentucky answered the bell by making every free throw and shooting over 50 percent from the field. And, remember, Kentucky was without Trey Lyles, and Devin Booker was out for significant stretches against the Gators. -- Jay Bilas

2. Wisconsin Badgers

Despite the loss of Traevon Jackson, the Badgers are rolling on, and have lost to only Duke (in an extraordinary Blue Devils shooting performance) and Rutgers (without Frank Kaminsky). Kaminsky is having a remarkable season, averaging 17.5 points (on only 11 shot attempts), 8.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists (how many big guys average 2.5 assists?) and 1.6 blocks. In addition, Kaminsky is shooting 54 percent from the field, 41 percent from deep and 77 percent from the line. Remarkable. -- Jay Bilas

3. Duke Blue Devils

Remember the "Duke has no defense" panic of January 2015? Those were the days when everyone was breaking down tape of Jahlil Okafor's pick-and-roll defense. Why aren't we doing that anymore? It turns out those losses to NC State and Miami were the worst games the Blue Devil defense has recorded to date. Since that time, Mike Krzyzewski's team has been thoroughly average on D -- and with an offense this good, "average" will win you a lot of games. No ACC offense combines accuracy from the field with offensive rebounding the way Duke does, and the Blue Devils have rung up a league-leading 1.15 points per possession in conference play. Heading into a road test at Syracuse and the season's first collision with North Carolina (in Durham), Coach K's team is elite on offense and good enough on D. -- John Gasaway

4. Gonzaga Bulldogs

We're fast running out of ways to describe just how lethal this Gonzaga offense really is, but I'll give it a shot. Przemek Karnowski may end the season as the most effective 2-point-scoring weapon (weighted by usage) since the days of Ricardo Ratliffe. Kevin Pangos is having what might be termed the Platonic ideal of a point guard season. Domantas Sabonis is outstanding on the offensive glass. And Kyle Wiltjer is bringing accuracy and volume together in a way that garnered a tad more attention in the past when the person doing it was named Jimmer or Doug. Whether or not they run the table in conference play (and I like their chances to do so), the Bulldogs have the look of a Final Four team. -- John Gasaway

5. Virginia Cavaliers

The Bilastrator is not dropping Virginia, yet. But without Justin Anderson in the lineup, there is no way the Cavaliers are as good. No way. However, the Cavaliers have one of the less challenging slates of a title-contending team down the stretch, and the loss of Anderson may not show quite as much. If London Perrantes becomes more aggressive offensively, Virginia becomes that much better. Perrantes is an outstanding point guard who simply needs to hunt down more shots. -- Jay Bilas

6. Arizona Wildcats

The Wildcats are 20-3 and have lost to only UNLV, Oregon State and Arizona State, all on the road. Sean Miller is now starting his best five, and Stanley Johnson is continuing to get better. Johnson averages 14.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.5 steals and is shooting 39 percent from deep and 73 percent from the line. Johnson is still a work in progress, but the raw material is tantalizing. He is a winner. -- Jay Bilas

7. Louisville Cardinals

The Cardinals have lost just four times this season, and every one of those opponents -- Kentucky, North Carolina, Duke and Virginia -- can be classed as a national title contender. It's true, as more than one observer has noted, that Rick Pitino's offense is unusually reliant on just four guys (Montrezl Harrell, Terry Rozier, Chris Jones and Wayne Blackshear), but if that were going to trip up Louisville it probably would have done so by now. Anyway, the Cards' offense in ACC play has been better statistically than the Duke defense, and people seem duly impressed by the Blue Devils. Bottom line: If Mangok Mathiang decides to become Jahlil Okafor Jr. in the next two weeks, great. If not, this is still one of the best all-around teams in the country. -- John Gasaway

8. Villanova Wildcats

Syracuse has left the Big East, but judging from Villanova's performance, the memory of Jim Boeheim lives on. This season the Wildcats are bringing together "so-so defensive rebounding" with "outstanding defense" in a way that's traditionally been difficult to do outside of upstate New York. Daniel Ochefu and JayVaughn Pinkston are forcing their fair share of misses in the paint, and in mid-February of his senior season Darrun Hilliard somehow continues to be underrated as a disruptive defender. (So that perception's probably not going to change. Sorry, Darrun.) Speaking of little noticed, Ryan Arcidiacono's 3s have -- at long last -- started falling. His season totals look similar to what he's done in past years, but in Big East play he's shooting 47 percent from beyond the arc. -- John Gasaway

9. Kansas Jayhawks

When the Jayhawks won the 2008 national championship, their third and final loss of the season came at the hands of Oklahoma State in Stillwater. I'm not guaranteeing a national title for KU this season, but at a minimum it can be said that losing on the road to the Cowboys is not necessarily the end of the world. Still, if Bill Self insists on finding something to worry about, perhaps it will be that his defense could see its fortunes change on the perimeter. To this point Big 12 opponents have made just 30 percent of their 3s against Kansas, a number that's likely to improve as more games are played. And given that this group doesn't force turnovers and isn't anything to write home about on the defensive glass, a few more makes by opponents from outside could potentially land with a thud on KU's bottom line. Then again, if Self continues to give more minutes and more shots to Brannen Greene (he of the 62 percent 3-point shooting in Big 12 play), this entire line of fretting is officially moot. -- John Gasaway

10. Utah Utes

No major-conference team -- be it Kentucky, Virginia, Wisconsin or any other heavyweight -- has outscored its opponents by as large a margin as what Utah has recorded in league play. No, the non-Arizona Pac-12 isn't exactly a murderers' row, but the fact remains that with less than a month remaining in the regular season Larry Krystkowiak's team is looking very strong. Brandon Taylor is a deadly 3-point threat who functions as a kind of co-point guard alongside the superb Delon Wright, and Jakob Poeltl may be the best offensive rebounder in the Pac-12. Now, will Utah's opponents continue to be drop-dead awful in terms of shooting from the perimeter? Not likely (see "Kansas," above), and the numbers will adjust accordingly. But even allowing for the potential adjustment, this may be the best team the four-year-old Pac-12 has ever seen from a locale other than Tucson. -- John Gasaway

02-11-2015, 03:07 PM
Given what Gasaway said above, Kiddwell apologizes for elsewhere calling him a "gasmeister" and telling him to hush his yap.



Mr Vulture
02-11-2015, 03:25 PM
I'd suggest you be very careful posting pay side information as a cut and paste on here.

02-11-2015, 03:34 PM
I'd suggest you be very careful posting pay side information as a cut and paste on here.

I'll allow it.