The Gonzaga men’s basketball team defeated Loyola Marymount 86-69 on Saturday night, completing the first undefeated regular season-becoming the first undefeated Division I team since Kentucky in 2015 .
Although due to COVID-19, the season is full of uncertainty-namely shortening the time not to attend meetings, providing several weeks of pauses for teams across the country, and more than 1,500 games that have been postponed or cancelled-Gonzaga’s The dominant position and 24-0 record are outstanding.
Due to the COVID-19 factor, many teams’ non-conference schedules have been cut, and the Zags team caught up with one of the toughest early season roster in the United States and achieved fruitful results. They defeated it at the time-no. 6 Kansas topped the list with double digits in the opening season, ranking first at the time. One week later, West Virginia was number 1
After aggressive COVID-19 testing wiped out the game of the year between top teams Gonzaga and Baylor on December 5, the Bulldogs returned from a COVID-19 suspension to defeat No at the time. 3 times 11 for Iowa.
As a replacement for Baylor, Zags faced-trampling-then-no. 16 Virginia 98-75, because the Cavaliers gave up their highest score in a decade.
In the process, Gonzaga became the first team in the history of men’s college basketball in my division, defeating four AP top 20 teams in the first seven games of this season.
This is the fourth consecutive double-digit victory for the Bulldogs, becoming the top team in the Associated Press poll. Today, this winning streak has achieved 21 consecutive double-digit victories, surpassing the 1971-72 University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) led by John Wooden and Bill Walton. The results obtained by the team, the team won the national championship 30-0.
Jalen Suggs passed the ball to Anton Watson and dunked with Loyola Marymount.
According to data from the Elias Sports Bureau, in the past 60 seasons, only three teams (regardless of ranking) have won 21 consecutive games in double digits: 2020-21 Gonzaga, 2018 -19 Gonzaga and 2016-17 Gonzaga. The first two iterations of the Bulldogs failed to increase the streak to 22.
The typical knock on Gonzaga is that it participated in the West Coast conference, which is not comparable to the main conference. KenPom.com’s adjusted efficiency margin (the average level of a team measured per 100 seats is better than our company’s level) ranks WCC as the ninth best conference in the field of DI this year-between Atlantic 10 and the United States. Missouri Valley.
But the adjusted efficiency margin also indicates that Gonzaga is a high-level organization and has nothing to do with the meeting. Since KenPom started using this indicator in 2002, only two teams have completed a season with an adjusted efficiency coefficient of 35 or higher. Gonzaga (Gonzaga) ranked third, second only to the 2014-2015 Kentucky State team, which lost in the final four:
Best adjusted efficiency margin since 2002
According to KenPom.com
2014-15 Kentucky +36.9
2020-21 Gonzaga* +36.6 (until February 27)
2007-08 Kansas +35.2
How is Zags? Gonzaga has been at a disadvantage in his opponent’s performance throughout the season, averaging 51.2 PPG per game, which is the highest average in the past 15 seasons. There are only five games this season, and a team scored 70 points in the match against my division. Gonzaga is responsible for three-fifths.
Moreover, the dominance of paint is not just for WCC or weak non-conference opponents. In five games between Gonzaga and the major conference teams of Kansas, Auburn, West Virginia, Iowa, and Virginia, the Suggs scored 264 points, an average of 52.8 points per game. , Exceeding the season average. In the past 15 seasons, these 264 points are the highest score of any team against a major opponent in five games. Even in the most intense competition, this team has always been the best in the paint industry.
As a result, the Bulldogs made 64.4% of their two-pointers, the highest in the past 25 seasons; while the Bison made 55.3%, the highest level since the national champion Michigan State in 1988-89. 56.6% hit rate
However, don’t mistake this for a team that can only score at halftime. Gonzaga’s average possession time lasted only 14.2 seconds, the third shortest in the country, and the team scored nearly 23 points per game during the transition, ranking among the top five in the United States.
What does this way of playing mean for March? Before Gonzaga, the last team to lead the first division in KenPom’s adjusted offensive efficiency was 2008-09 North Carolina. The team led by Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington and Tyler Hansbrough won the championship.
Gonzaga combines efficiency and pace to produce 92.9 PPG. The last national champion with an average score of at least 90 PPG was Duke University in 2000-01. Overall, four teams ranked first in points in each game and won the NCAA tournament in the same season:
DI led by PPG and won the national championship
Gonzaga leads DI in PPG this season
Loyola Chicago, 1963
Just like the story every year, Mark Few’s team will be defined by its ability to conduct in-depth research in March-if everything goes according to plan, it will enter April.