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Thread: Mid-Season Bilas Rankings: GU at # 2

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    Default Mid-Season Bilas Rankings: GU at # 2

    STORY LINK: https://www.espn.com/mens-college-ba...-20-version-20

    With the start of conference games, Bilas has updated his rankings of 68 bracket-worthy teams. He lists the Zags at #2 (behind Duke) with these comments:

    When healthy, Gonzaga is even with Duke as the overall favorite to claim "best team." The Zags are just as good offensively, but Duke is better on the defensive end and on the glass. Mark Few and his staff have done a remarkable job given the turnover on the roster. Corey Kispert is becoming a reliable star, and Killian Tillie is among a handful of the best big men in the country while essentially playing on one leg. Tillie is a great shooter and an exquisite passer who needs only to stay healthy to be more widely recognized as such. A revelation has been transfer Ryan Woolridge, who is an outstanding passer, defender and playmaker and has done a fabulous job taking over for Josh Perkins.
    Zag Opponents in his list: ORE -11; MICH - 21; AZ - 22; WA - 36; SMC - 39; BYU - 44

    I found his opening section on parity, quality of play, and officiating of more interest than his team capsules, including this passage on the so-called "freedom of movement initative":

    Freedom of movement in college basketball is dead. Actions that were clear fouls over the past three seasons are being allowed, including hand-checking and arm bars to illegally impede ball handlers, and illegal contact on cutters to impede and disrupt. Post play has become more physical. Yet, foul calls are down. Again, foul calls are down. Fouls are not down, fouls are way up, and fouling is not defense. Officials are not calling clear fouls this season. There is no more important factor in the level of play than the substantial erosion in freedom of movement.

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    Fair enough on the ranking, even when hearing it from a Duke grad. It sounds accurate.

    Good points on the flow of the game, something that hurts us particularly.
    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
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    KenPom has us more around a top 10 team which I believe is more indicative of where we are currently than the #1 ranking in the nation. It's awesome that we are ranked #1 and we have as good of a shot as anyone in the nation to win it all in April, the team just doesn't have the feel of a #1 team to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bouldin4Prez View Post
    KenPom has us more around a top 10 team which I believe is more indicative of where we are currently than the #1 ranking in the nation. It's awesome that we are ranked #1 and we have as good of a shot as anyone in the nation to win it all in April, the team just doesn't have the feel of a #1 team to me.
    Interesting post, Bouldin4Prez: I'm curious what qualities you look for in a #1 team that Gonzaga doesn't have. I hope you respond.
    Go Zags!!! The Best Is Yet To Come!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reborn View Post
    Interesting post, Bouldin4Prez: I'm curious what qualities you look for in a #1 team that Gonzaga doesn't have. I hope you respond.
    I think the quick answer is our defense. I want to say it's some crazy stat that a team hasn't won the national title in the last decade without a KenPom top 20 defensive ranking; we are currently 59th...

    Not to say we can't improve that by year-end, but as of now that (plus FT shooting) are the biggest barriers to being a "legit" #1 team. Good defense tends to be more consistent than good offense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZagSwag View Post
    I think the quick answer is our defense. I want to say it's some crazy stat that a team hasn't won the national title in the last decade without a KenPom top 20 defensive ranking; we are currently 59th...

    Not to say we can't improve that by year-end, but as of now that (plus FT shooting) are the biggest barriers to being a "legit" #1 team. Good defense tends to be more consistent than good offense.
    Ditto for me too. It may be that no team has #1 qualities - yet. The #1 perch is a bit shaky this season. D and FTs, if they do not improve, will get the Zags beat. I still feel that the Zags will win out in the WCC. However, I certainly do not feel as confident in that assessment following the first 2 conference games.

    As for attaining a #1 ranking I feel it was deserved. I hope the Zags stay there for a few weeks. I don't think that is likely though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reborn View Post
    Interesting post, Bouldin4Prez: I'm curious what qualities you look for in a #1 team that Gonzaga doesn't have. I hope you respond.
    Our guards get sloppy with the ball and in March/April against a team that can crank up the pressure, similar to Texas Tech last year, that worries me. Also, defensively we seem to have serious lapses with not closing out on shooters. I've said this to friends previously, I think we can beat anyone in the country but I could also see us losing to 20-30 teams this year. In years past when we were ranked #1, it felt like in the tournament there was no chance we didn't at least make the sweet 16. For the record, I really enjoy watching this team play. Just my opinion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bouldin4Prez View Post
    Our guards get sloppy with the ball and in March/April against a team that can crank up the pressure, similar to Texas Tech last year, that worries me. Also, defensively we seem to have serious lapses with not closing out on shooters. I've said this to friends previously, I think we can beat anyone in the country but I could also see us losing to 20-30 teams this year. In years past when we were ranked #1, it felt like in the tournament there was no chance we didn't at least make the sweet 16. For the record, I really enjoy watching this team play. Just my opinion.
    As an addition to this, it appears to me that there is no great team in CBB this year. Even more so than in years past when that claim has been made. Seems as if we are almost the #1 team by default which is fine by me.

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    I think Bilas has it exactly right. Duke's defensive rating is much better than GU's and for that reason I would give Duke a slight advantage right now. However, GU beats Duke in ALL other KenPom stat categories except Off Reb % and FT% (and those are really important ones). Duke takes a higher % of 2pt shots than GU and lower % of 3pt shots than GU but both teams take well below the national average number of 3's. Duke has a much tougher strength of schedule than GU. GU is bigger and more experienced. I would love to see those two teams face off in the National Championship game.

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    I have no problems with his rankings/rationale.

    On the officiating, they quit calling fouls in the tournament, so I’d rather they just be consistent. They seem to always have a point of emphasis each year that goes out the window after conference play starts. Again, I’d like that to be consistent. I’m sure Petrusev would like more freedom of movement because he seems to be the most bothered by contact— but they would probably quit calling it in March so it’s best he just learn to deal with it now (and he hopes to be playing against grown men in the NBA next year and they will give him no quarter)

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    IMHO KenPom is the most data driven and objective ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by RenoZag View Post
    I found his opening section on parity, quality of play, and officiating of more interest than his team capsules, including this passage on the so-called "freedom of movement initative"
    I found it more interesting too, maybe folks will believe it's true now that Jay said it too

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    Quote Originally Posted by JPtheBeasta View Post
    I have no problems with his rankings/rationale.

    On the officiating, they quit calling fouls in the tournament, so I’d rather they just be consistent. They seem to always have a point of emphasis each year that goes out the window after conference play starts. Again, I’d like that to be consistent. I’m sure Petrusev would like more freedom of movement because he seems to be the most bothered by contact— but they would probably quit calling it in March so it’s best he just learn to deal with it now (and he hopes to be playing against grown men in the NBA next year and they will give him no quarter)
    +1

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    Quote Originally Posted by JPtheBeasta View Post
    I have no problems with his rankings/rationale.

    On the officiating, they quit calling fouls in the tournament, so I’d rather they just be consistent. They seem to always have a point of emphasis each year that goes out the window after conference play starts. Again, I’d like that to be consistent. I’m sure Petrusev would like more freedom of movement because he seems to be the most bothered by contact— but they would probably quit calling it in March so it’s best he just learn to deal with it now (and he hopes to be playing against grown men in the NBA next year and they will give him no quarter)
    After your point, and thinking on it harder, maybe it helps us in that we normally only go 7 guys and foul trouble from "more fouls" called would be a real issue in some games, even conference games.
    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZagSwag View Post
    I think the quick answer is our defense. I want to say it's some crazy stat that a team hasn't won the national title in the last decade without a KenPom top 20 defensive ranking; we are currently 59th...

    Not to say we can't improve that by year-end, but as of now that (plus FT shooting) are the biggest barriers to being a "legit" #1 team. Good defense tends to be more consistent than good offense.
    I'd have to say defense too, giving up way too many uncontested shots.

    The free throws have been bugging me all year, every time they miss one it's like nails on a chalk board. But I crunched some numbers and see on average GU shoots about 24 free throws per game and makes about 16, 65%. If GU was a good free throw shooting team they'd make about 75%, which is only 18 per game. We're talking about 2 points per game. I know that doesn't account for front ends of one and ones or anything, but I think it's more important to look at how many more free throws we get than our opponents. Even shooting 65% we still have made way more than our opponents have even attempted.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DixieZag View Post
    After your point, and thinking on it harder, maybe it helps us in that we normally only go 7 guys and foul trouble from "more fouls" called would be a real issue in some games, even conference games.
    That’s a good point

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    Quote Originally Posted by bdmiller7 View Post
    I'd have to say defense too, giving up way too many uncontested shots.

    The free throws have been bugging me all year, every time they miss one it's like nails on a chalk board. But I crunched some numbers and see on average GU shoots about 24 free throws per game and makes about 16, 65%. If GU was a good free throw shooting team they'd make about 75%, which is only 18 per game. We're talking about 2 points per game. I know that doesn't account for front ends of one and ones or anything, but I think it's more important to look at how many more free throws we get than our opponents. Even shooting 65% we still have made way more than our opponents have even attempted.
    What's been bugging me about the missed free throws are the way they're missing them...all over the place, short off the front rim, or off the sides of the rim. I can live with FT's that clang off the back of the rim, because that's how I was taught, i.e. aim for the back rim.

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    Bilas, and all the other Dukies, crack me up..............Reading the article, the Bilastrator says this...."If the basketball community believes that any team "can win on a given day", the separating factor among equal teams is just how many "given days" you have had. Every game counts".

    He then miraculously transforms to the ultimate "smoothing" language, simply dismissing the Duke SFA loss as a "bad outing"............Really Jay?? During the GU/Pepperdine game, ESPN showed a graphic that, against the spread, the Duke loss to SFA was the worst upset of the decade. And the graphic didn't take into account the fact that the loss was at Cameron Indoor, which probably vaults the loss into the realm of worst college defeats in NCAA history.

    Sorry Jay, that loss is season ending for Duke, at least as far as the rankings go. As a comparison, imagine if GU lost to Detroit Mercy at the Kennel this year. Do you think Jay would be as "understanding" of that loss as he is of the Duke loss to SFA. If you do............I have a bridge I want to sell you, and a Nigerian prince friend of mine might want a short term loan. With that type of loss, GU would drop out of the Top 25 and be eliminated from a possible top 4 seed in the Dance.

    Sorry for the rant, this kind of willful blindness just gets old. ZAGS and Duke are nowhere near "equal" this year, at least not yet, if the OOC record is the measuring stick, as Jay wants us to believe it is. They may be "equal" in a month, maybe not, but they definitely aren't now, at the end of the OOC.

    Just like the Patriots in the NFL, Duke has to "earn" their ranking each year, it shouldn't simply be anointed based on the name on the front of the jersey.

    Go ZAGS

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    Speaking of other Dookies: Like Bilas, Seth Davis has issued a mid-season synopsis using a "Buy," "Sell," or "Hold" format in his "Stock Report." Unlike Bilas, it's behind a paywall at The Athletic:

    https://theathletic.com/1510864/2020...buy-sell-hold/

    His take on Gonzaga ? "Hold"

    I still believe the Zags (16-1, No. 1 AP, No. 9 KenPom) are a legit national championship favorite, but I must say their first two WCC games have me a little spooked. They had to overcome a seven-point halftime deficit to win their opener at Portland, and Pepperdine pushed them at home before Gonzaga won by five. My main concern, though, is whether oft-injured 6-10 forward Killian Tillie can stay healthy the remainder of the season. That aside, Mark Few did a tremendous job restocking his roster with two transfers, 6-3 senior point guard Ryan Woolridge and 6-4 senior grad transfer Admon Gilder, but it’s the next-man-up development of returning guys such as 6-7 junior Corey Kispert and 6-11 sophomore Filip Petrusev that has the Zags poised to earn another No. 1 seed.
    He rates BYU a "Buy" and St. Mary's a "Hold."

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    Quote Originally Posted by amaronizag View Post
    I think Bilas has it exactly right. Duke's defensive rating is much better than GU's and for that reason I would give Duke a slight advantage right now. However, GU beats Duke in ALL other KenPom stat categories except Off Reb % and FT% (and those are really important ones). Duke takes a higher % of 2pt shots than GU and lower % of 3pt shots than GU but both teams take well below the national average number of 3's. Duke has a much tougher strength of schedule than GU. GU is bigger and more experienced. I would love to see those two teams face off in the National Championship game.
    Correct Bilas is saying what we’ve been saying for 2 months. Now it’s being confirmed each game. I do fervently home deficiencies are corrected or we go home early. Harkens back to Wichita St game. They were hot and our defense was porous. Drat! I love defense. Just like the FF team played! Go Zags!

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    In the 10 years I have been following and 6 or so years I have been posting on this board, ABE has always sung the same tune...defense, defense, defense. I have always been a fan of fast break and score because offense can win a lot of games when your defense is bad. But ABE is right, when you reach the NCAA tournament, you can't win many games with weak defense. Defense isn't as sexy as offense for most folks, but it's what brings home the trophy's.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RenoZag View Post
    Speaking of other Dookies: Like Bilas, Seth Davis has issued a mid-season synopsis using a "Buy," "Sell," or "Hold" format in his "Stock Report." Unlike Bilas, it's behind a paywall at The Athletic:

    https://theathletic.com/1510864/2020...buy-sell-hold/

    His take on Gonzaga ? "Hold"



    He rates BYU a "Buy" and St. Mary's a "Hold."
    I would suppose that would put Gonzaga on the Goldman Sachs Convictions Buy List for 2020....

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