We know what happened last night, same old story with Gonzaga this year. People talk about how this is a game that they could be challenged and they end up winning by roughly 432 points. Seriously, before the first TV timeout this game against BYU was over. It was 16-2 when we went to the first TV timeout. It was 30-10 10 minutes into the game. Just a complete ass kicking. Hell, Jalen Suggs made another ridiculous pass
Seriously that pass is fucking absurd. I know he was a quarterback yada, yada, yada. Getting that pass off with no windup and hitting a dude in stride on a basketball court is just absurd. The dude is so good. We've never seen someone like Suggs play for Gonzaga. He's making his way to a for sure top-5 pick, maybe even top-3 with Cade Cunningham and Jalen Green. We even got a shitty Gonzaga take last night thanks to ...*checks notes* Nick Young.
I honestly can't think of a dumber argument than this. They made a national championship game in 2017. They've been a top-2 seed 5 times this decade and will be the No. 1 seed again this year. If we're really doing this conference thing should every program west of Kansas move East since they haven't won a national championship since Arizona in 1997? What about the Big 10? Should every program leave that conference since it's been since 2000 since they won a title and have won just one title in 30 years? Of course not. But here we are where we do this discussion with Gonzaga every year. It makes no sense. It doesn't matter what conference this Gonzaga team plays in. They beat Virginia by 23. They manhandled Iowa. They beat the shit out of Kansas. They beat West Virginia with Suggs hobbled. Gotta rule out all those conferences too I guess.
At the same time we've reached another argument. Is it Gonzaga vs the field? Almost every year we start to do this. A team looks like the clear cut number 1 and we start to do x team vs the field. Last year people wanted to do it with Kansas, but it was way more open than that. So let's get into it for this year. Let me clarify, I love this Gonzaga team. They are the best team in the country. But it's FOOLISH to say Gonzaga vs the field. That said, I feel AWESOME about having them at +900 in the preseason that I gave out:
Let's take a look at some teams I like for futures. Also as a heads up, if you live in Pennsylvania and don't take advantage of this deal this weekend, you're insane. Bet on the best sportsbook in the land and help donate money to the best fund? Win-win.
All these lines of course come from the Barstool Sportsbook
From my preseason picks, obviously I love Gonzaga +900 but my favorite preseason bet is Texas at +5000. I hope you all jumped on that. They are all the way down to +1100 now. They are in that tier 2 teams for me and could be the 3rd best team in the country. This is why you can't take Gonzaga vs the field. You just can't. The obvious favorites to challenge them are Baylor, Texas, Villanova and Illinois. We have Texas and Illinois from the preseason so we won't talk their odds now. We also have Houston, who yeah, they lost Caleb Mills but they are a top-10 team. Hard to argue with odds on a team like that.
Baylor (+800) - The only reason I'm not taking Baylor at this price is we have Gonzaga at +900. I don't want to hedge with the second best team and really I don't want to hedge at all with 4 live teams from the preseason. But this Baylor team is a clear top-2 team. Can't even question that. They have a star in Jared Butler. They have one of the best, if not the best defender in MaCio Teague. They rank top-5 both offensively and defensively in the country. They are finally playing fast under Drew and have a ton of guards that can spread you out and play versatile defense. Did you know they are the 2nd best 3pt shooting team in the country too? If you don't have a Gonzaga ticket and want to fade them with a favorite, this is a no-brainer.
Michigan (+1500) - Decent odds on a team who might be the best team in the Big 10. Yes, Wisconsin is good but I'd rather have Michigan at +1500 than Wisconsin at +900. I've talked about Iowa at length and I'm still fading them for the NCAA Tournament. I just can't trust that defense. The offense is unreal, no question about that. But you need some sort of defense to win the NCAA Tournament. That 2-3 zone where they have Luka rotate from under the basket to a wing, isn't the answer. Michigan though? I blogged them yesterday. They have the experience that people love talking about. They also have a star in freshman big guy Hunter Dickinson. The only thing they don't do well defensively is turn you over. But that's part of the scheme. They play sound defense and just make you work. They don't foul (12th in the country) and they challenge every shot. Offensively they can play through the post and they shoot 36% from three, which is good enough for me.
Alabama (+6600) - We'll go with a longer shot here for our third mid-season pick. You could make a case that Alabama is the best team in the SEC. They already beat Florida and Tennessee - don't forget the win over Florida was without Jahvon Quinerly too. Alabama doesn't have a bad loss - they are 8-3 with losses to Stanford, Western Kentucky and Clemson. Those are fine, sure you want to beat WKU at home, but WKU is a damn good team. The reason I'm taking them at +6600 besides value is this offense. They have the 6th fastest tempo in the country. They take care of the ball and crash the offensive glass. They launch threes and we've seen that be successful in the Tournament. I actually love this roster build as they have a great defender in Herb Jones and a ton of offense. The only thing they don't have is that standard big that I really like. That said, hard to pass at +6600.
Yes, Gonzaga is the best team in the country. Yes, there's a legit chance they enter the tournament undefeated. But let's chill on the Gonzaga vs the field talk in early January. Baylor is too good. Texas, Nova and a few other teams can beat them. It's the beauty and horrendous thing of the NCAA Tournament. It's one game and advance. The best team rarely wins the NCAA Tournament because of that.