Can the ACC actually get three 1-seeds?
That is one of many larger questions heading into the ultimate week of the common season — and the primary week of convention tournaments in some leagues — after Tennessee throttled Kentucky and North Carolina continued its march by means of the ACC. The Tar Heels have now gained 12 of their previous 13 video games, together with a street victory at Duke. In the event that they deal with a street sport at Boston Faculty on Tuesday after which full the sweep of Duke this weekend, the Tar Heels will personal a share of the ACC regular-season title.
In that case, it is going to be powerful to disclaim them a 1-seed — but when Duke loses once more, the Blue Devils might theoretically lose their 1-seed, relying on the standing of Zion Williamson.
We’re getting forward of ourselves, although. There was an identical debate final week after Tennessee misplaced at LSU, however the fourth 1-seed is totally up for grabs proper now. Following the Volunteers’ victory over Kentucky on Saturday, we saved the Wildcats at No. Four. After a more in-depth look, nonetheless, John Calipari’s crew drops within the rankings.
North Carolina has quietly compiled a terrific résumé. The Tar Heels are sturdy within the NET and sit within the prime 5 at KenPom, at Sagarin and within the BPI. They’ve elite strength-of-schedule numbers and have improved to Eight-5 towards Quadrant 1 opponents and 14-5 towards Quadrants 1 and a pair of. They’re additionally 10-1 in street video games. Carolina’s pair of wins over Gonzaga and at Duke is unparalleled proper now, and the Tar Heels additionally beat Virginia Tech and Florida State. Their worst loss is a neutral-site defeat to Texas again in November.
Tennessee moved into the highest 5 of the NET after beating Kentucky, however the Volunteers’ schedule numbers aren’t as spectacular as these of Carolina. The Vols are 7-Three towards Quadrant 1 opponents and 12-Three towards Quadrants 1 and a pair of, nonetheless, together with victories over Gonzaga and Kentucky. Their worst loss was additionally again in November, to Kansas in New York.
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Kentucky has essentially the most Quadrant 1 wins of the three groups, sitting at 9-Four in that class. The Wildcats have overwhelmed each of the opposite groups within the combine, defeating North Carolina again in December and Tennessee a few weeks in the past. Additionally they knocked off Kansas and beat Mississippi State twice. They’ve nice schedule numbers, but additionally have the 2 worst losses of the trio, towards Alabama and Seton Corridor earlier this season.
Do not depend out the winner of Michigan vs. Michigan State, both. Each groups have some damage questions, however the Spartans have essentially the most Quadrant 1 wins within the nation and the Wolverines have essentially the most mixed Quadrant 1 and a pair of wins.
With lower than two weeks till Choice Sunday, we’ll go along with North Carolina — giving the ACC three of the highest 4 groups within the nation proper now.
1. Virginia Cavaliers (27-2)
Earlier rating: 1
This week: Beat Syracuse 79-53 on Monday, vs. Louisville (Saturday)
Virginia’s second-half efficiency towards Syracuse on Monday was top-of-the-line 20 minutes of basketball we have seen from anybody this season. The Cavaliers outscored the Orange — within the Service Dome — by 28 factors. They made 10 of 11 Three-pointers throughout one stretch, and Kyle Man, De’Andre Hunter and Ty Jerome ended up scoring a mixed 62 factors and taking pictures 18-for-23 from Three-point vary for the sport. Over its previous three video games, Virginia is taking pictures 62.1 p.c from behind the arc.
2. Gonzaga Bulldogs (29-2)
Earlier rating: 2
This week: West Coast Convention event
If Sean Farnham’s remarks on Saturday evening’s broadcast have been any indication, it appears like Gonzaga might get Killian Tillie again in some unspecified time in the future this season. Although Tillie hasn’t been a significant factor this season as a result of accidents, he is a flexible huge man who can change defensively and in addition step out and make pictures. He offered an added dimension off the bench throughout his 9 wholesome video games again in January and early February.
Three. Duke Blue Devils (25-Four)
Earlier rating: Three
This week: vs. Wake Forest (Tuesday), at North Carolina (Saturday)
Though Zion Williamson shutting issues down for the season nonetheless appears far-fetched, Mike Krzyzewski’s phrases following Saturday’s victory over Miami appeared to at the very least open up the chance that the star freshman continues to be not near returning. Williamson has but to do any contact drills in apply. The choice committee might face the large query of the right way to view Duke’s profile if Williamson does not return for the ACC event.
Four. North Carolina Tar Heels (24-5)
Earlier rating: 5
This week: at Boston Faculty (Tuesday), vs. Duke (Saturday)
Carolina takes the ultimate 1-seed for now, however the margin between the Tar Heels and the following few groups behind them could be very slim. On Saturday, they’ve the rematch towards the Blue Devils. Within the first assembly, in Durham, Carolina was aggressive within the paint and easily attacked Duke’s bigs with Luke Maye, Cameron Johnson and Garrison Brooks. The three gamers mixed for 70 factors and 30 rebounds.
5. Tennessee Volunteers (26-Three)
Earlier rating: 6
This week: vs. Mississippi State (Tuesday), at Auburn (Saturday)
If Tennessee is to make a deep run in March, the Volunteers might want to guard like they did on Saturday towards Kentucky. It was their best defensive efficiency towards an NCAA event crew all season, as they held the Wildcats to zero.79 factors per possession — by far Kentucky’s worst offensive effort of the season. Tennessee has expertise and toughness, and we noticed final season it may be an elite defensive crew.
6. Kentucky Wildcats (24-5)
Earlier rating: Four
This week: at Ole Miss (Tuesday), vs. Florida (Saturday)
Kentucky nonetheless has an opportunity at a share of the SEC title, as LSU nonetheless has to go to Florida and Tennessee nonetheless faces Mississippi State and Auburn. However John Calipari must hope Reid Travis is again sooner slightly than later. Although Travis hasn’t put up the numbers he did at Stanford, his physicality and expertise up entrance have been belongings. Nick Richards and EJ Montgomery supply size and shot-blocking, however towards high-level groups like Tennessee, the Wildcats want somebody like Travis to bang within the put up.
7. Michigan Wolverines (26-Four)
Earlier rating: Eight
This week: at Michigan State (Saturday)
Michigan nonetheless awaits the return of Charles Matthews, however the Wolverines have survived two video games with out him. Isaiah Livers slotted into the beginning lineup, and he has been a plus as a result of his motor and contributions on the glass and his means to step exterior and make Three-pointers. He had 12 factors and 10 rebounds, together with three Three-pointers, towards Nebraska — then adopted it up with 11 factors and 5 rebounds, with three extra Three-pointers, at Maryland.
Eight. Michigan State Spartans (23-6)
Earlier rating: 7
This week: vs. Nebraska (Tuesday), vs. Michigan (Saturday)
Michigan State dropped to 3rd place within the Massive Ten standings after the weekend, however the Spartans return dwelling for his or her last two video games of the season — together with this weekend’s rematch towards Michigan. It is unlikely Nick Ward or Charles Matthews will go well with up for that one, however the important thing matchup will as soon as once more come between Cassius Winston and Zavier Simpson. Winston was terrific within the first assembly.
9. LSU Tigers (24-5)
Earlier rating: 11
This week: at Florida (Wednesday), vs. Vanderbilt (Saturday)
Tremont Waters returned for LSU on Saturday, nevertheless it was Javonte Sensible who dealt with many of the playmaking duties as soon as once more. Within the three video games since Waters acquired harm — together with Saturday’s — Sensible has averaged 21.7 factors, Four.Three rebounds and Four.zero assists. The freshman guard had been considerably inconsistent in SEC play, however his emergence has made LSU much more balanced and harmful offensively.
10. Texas Tech Crimson Raiders (25-5)
Earlier rating: 9
This week: Beat Texas 70-51 on Monday, at Iowa State (Saturday)
Chris Beard and the Crimson Raiders at the moment are one win from at the very least a share of the Massive 12 regular-season title after notching their eighth win in a row in a rout of Texas. Iowa State beat Texas Tech in Lubbock again in mid-January, however the Crimson Raiders are a special offensive crew than they have been a pair months in the past. Just one crew has stayed inside single digits of Tech throughout the profitable streak, and the Crimson Raiders have scored at the very least 1 level per possession in six consecutive video games — 1.31 per possession of their previous 5 earlier than Monday’s victory.
11. Purdue Boilermakers (22-7)
Earlier rating: 12
This week: at Minnesota (Tuesday), at Northwestern (Saturday)
Matt Painter’s crew is 2 street wins from an outright Massive Ten title — and Carsen Edwards’ hunch appears to be within the rearview mirror. The All-American guard has now totaled 48 factors on 17-for-30 taking pictures prior to now two video games, together with 6-for-13 from Three-point vary. He had only one turnover Saturday, too. When Edwards is filling it up effectively, the Boilermakers play at a special stage.
12. Houston Cougars (27-2)
Earlier rating: 10
This week: vs. SMU (Thursday), at Cincinnati (Sunday)
How a lot will Houston’s loss to UCF on Saturday harm the Cougars’ seeding? It is exhausting to see them getting a 2-seed at this level, given the logjam of groups forward of them — however Houston nonetheless has to go to Cincinnati and can seemingly get the Bearcats or UCF once more within the American Athletic Convention event. For now, the Cougars keep within the prime 12. Armoni Brooks must get it going once more, although. The crew’s second-leading scorer has totaled 25 factors prior to now three video games, taking pictures 9-for-26 from the sphere.
13. Kansas Jayhawks (22-7)
Earlier rating: 14
This week: at Oklahoma (Tuesday), vs. Baylor (Saturday)
Persevering with The Streak stays a risk, because the Jayhawks escaped Gallagher-Iba Enviornment with an in depth win over Oklahoma State. They’ve now gained 5 of six since shedding at Kansas State in early February. One optimistic over the previous two video games has been the play of Quentin Grimes, who had basically disappeared as an offensive weapon in Massive 12 play. The five-star freshman totaled 29 factors and shot 7-for-13 from Three-point vary prior to now two video games.
14. Virginia Tech Hokies (22-6)
Earlier rating: 15
This week: at Florida State (Tuesday), vs. Miami (Friday)
The Hokies proceed to quietly transfer up the rankings because of their bye this previous weekend and losses by groups forward of them. Virginia Tech is solely not pretty much as good with out Justin Robinson, nevertheless it’s beginning to determine issues out in his absence — and the dominance of Kerry Blackshear Jr. down low is a significant purpose. Over his previous 4 video games, Blackshear is averaging 24.Three factors and 11.5 rebounds.
15. Marquette Golden Eagles (23-6)
Earlier rating: 13
This week: at Seton Corridor (Wednesday), vs. Georgetown (Saturday)
That was per week to neglect for Steve Wojciechowski’s crew. Marquette entered it with an opportunity to clinch at the very least a share of the Massive East title … and ended it a half-game behind Villanova within the standings. The Golden Eagles have actually struggled offensively of their previous two video games, scoring fewer than 1 level per possession in back-to-back video games. Turnovers have been the most important wrongdoer this previous week; Marquette had 40 in two video games.
16. Wisconsin Badgers (20-9)
Earlier rating: 16
This week: vs. Iowa (Thursday), at Ohio State (Sunday)
Wisconsin edges out Florida State and Kansas State for the ultimate spot within the rankings, however the Badgers are actually struggling offensively currently regardless of profitable three of 4. They’re simply seventh within the Massive Ten in adjusted offensive effectivity, they usually’ve been held to lower than 1 level per possession in six of their previous seven video games. An elite protection has saved them within the combine, however they will must be extra environment friendly to win video games this month.
Dropped out: None