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  • The college basketball postseason is here, so we examined what all 25 of the teams in our power rankings have going for them—and against them.
By Molly Geary
March 11, 2019

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We made it—the college hoops regular season is over for all and Selection Sunday is just days away, so we’re going to do things differently for this week's power rankings. Along with our usual ranking of where the nation's top 25 teams stand, we’ll be giving pros and cons for each—or reasons why you should and shouldn’t believe in their ability to make an NCAA tournament run. If you need a refresher on where each team stood last week, our previous edition is here.

1. Gonzaga (29–2)

Pro: The Zags are going to score, and they’re going to score a lot. They scored at least 1.00 points per possession (PPP) in all 31 regular season games this season and have one of the nation’s best frontcourts in Brandon Clarke and Rui Hachimura. And in case you’ve forgotten, the Bulldogs beat full-strength Duke just two weeks after the Blue Devils demolished Kentucky back in November. Most of all though, Gonzaga’s case boils down to this: Its offense stands head-and-shoulders as the nation’s most efficient and is scoring 127.6 adjusted points per 100 possessions (meaning it accounts for strength of opponent), per kenpom. Last year, Villanova’s juggernaut offense entered the NCAA tournament also at No. 1, and at 127.4 adjusted points. The Wildcats had a good but not elite defense, entering ranked 22ns. Gonzaga’s D is currently ranked 15th.

Con: The Bulldogs’ defense is still a cause for concern, namely because of its performance against most of the best competition it's played this year. Unlike the offense, which has been elite no matter whom Gonzaga has faced, the defense struggled to contain teams like Duke, North Carolina, Tennessee, Creighton and Washington earlier this season, giving up at least 1.12 PPP in all five. The rest of the WCC is short on great offenses—only Saint Mary’s is ranked in kenpom’s top 30—and it’s hard to say exactly whether the Zags’ improvement throughout the season on that end will hold up against the strong offenses they may see in the Big Dance. They won their shootout with Duke, but scoring 90 points against UNC in Chapel Hill wasn’t enough to avoid a 13-point loss. When Villanova won it all last year, its defense stepped up in the tourney to do so. Will Gonzaga be able to follow suit?

2. Virginia (28–2)

Pro: Last year, the major question mark around Virginia entering the tournament was its offense, which lagged a bit behind many of its fellow contenders. The Cavaliers were ultimately doomed when UMBC started draining shots because their methodical offense wasn’t built to dig out of that hole. If you’re naturally skittish on believing in the Hoos again, consider that they are not only now one of the nation’s very best (No. 2 on kenpom) on that end, but also much more versatile. De’Andre Hunter missed the historic upset in 2018 with injury, and he’s taken a major leap forward this year. Hunter, Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome are all shooting above 42% from three (last year’s team only had one starter—Devon Hall—who did so), while the Cavaliers are holding opponents to the lowest three-point rate in the nation. Virginia’s defense remains elite, and it’s the only team in the nation that is top-five on both ends on kenpom. It also has not lost to anyone but Duke.

Con: Despite the tangible difference between last year’s Virginia and this year’s, it’s still going to creep into both fans and players’ minds. The Hoos' style of play is still what it is; they once again play at the slowest tempo in the country. Fewer possessions means a smaller margin of error for both teams, and if Virginia falls into a hole, its defense has to do a better job of staying compact than it did last March. Two areas in which the Cavaliers have regressed since last year are forcing turnovers (going from a top-50 team in that area to one outside the top 200) and transition defense. Virginia ranks 335th nationally in PPP allowed in transition, per Synergy Sports, and it gave up 32 total fast-break points in its two losses to Duke.

3. North Carolina (26–5)

Pro: The Tar Heels have been rolling, having lost just once (to Virginia) since a humbling Jan. 12 defeat to Louisville. And yes, they got Duke twice without Zion Williamson, but they did a great job in both those games, holding the Blue Devils below 1.0 PPP. Offensively, they finish better at the rim (70.9%) than all but four teams nationally, and they can knock down the three, which they do at a 37.3% clip. UNC is one of the nation’s most balanced teams, ranking in the top 12 in kenpom efficiency on both offense and defense, and is led by veterans with plenty of March experience, like Luke Maye, Cameron Johnson and Kenny Williams. Meanwhile, freshman Coby White is always a threat to get hot and take over a game.

Con: For a team that plays at one of the nation’s fastest tempos, the Tar Heels haven’t made the most of their transition opportunities, ranking 232rd nationally in PPP (per Synergy Sports), and they’ve been susceptible to turnovers when on the run. Their defense has been strong overall but has had some lapses, like giving up 85 points to an unreliable Syracuse offense in a recent win. There’s also the question of which Maye will show up: the one that carved up Duke for 30 points the first time the two teams played, or the one that had just seven the second time?

4. Kentucky (26–5)

Pro: The Wildcats seem to have only gotten better as the season has gone on; on T-rank, they’ve been the fifth-best team since Feb. 1. They’re strong on both the offensive and defensive ends and do an excellent job of crashing the offensive boards and getting to the free throw line. Kentucky has the advantage of having multiple guys that can take over a game or be counted on for a clutch bucket—PJ Washington, Tyler Herro, Keldon Johnson and Reid Travis, who are all averaging 11 or more points—while not being over-reliant on any one person. Travis has missed the last five games but could be back for the postseason, and his absence was notably felt in the recent blowout loss to Tennessee.

Con: Kentucky is the nation’s fourth-youngest team, a fact that will only be magnified if Travis misses any more time, and its all-freshman backcourt is a little concerning given how important guard play is in March. The Wildcats’ turnover rate of 18.6% is also a bit high, and despite Ashton Hagans’s steal-generating proficiency, they don’t force a ton either, especially of late. Speaking of Hagans, the point guard has struggled with consistency and will need to be at his best if they want to make a deep run.

5. Duke (26–5)

Pro: Zion Williamson is apparently finally coming back, which means the Duke team we’ve been watching over the last few weeks is likely about to become a moot point. It’s not that what the Blue Devils did without Zion doesn’t matter, but it’s simply a futile exercise to compare that team to one with him. If he gets back to his old form, this team is terrifying once again. Don’t forget, Duke was cruising for the No. 1 overall seed before his injury and is the only team to beat the kenpom No. 1, Virginia, this season (and did it twice!). It can crush teams in transition and by bullying its way to the basket even on bad shooting nights, and it’s an elite defensive team as well. Its only loss at full strength this year was to Gonzaga, by two points.

Con: The Blue Devils’ awful three-point shooting is a legitimate concern, and they need to be careful not to fall in love with the outside shot. It’s hard to ignore their 30.6% season mark from the perimeter, though it’s been a much more respectable 35.3% away from Cameron Indoor. If an opponent can stop Duke from taking over inside and force it into tough shots, it should be able to hang around—easier said than done, of course. Free throw shooting can also be a suspect area for Duke, with Barrett and Williamson (who take the lion’s share of the free throws) both being under 67%.

6. Michigan State (25–6)

Pro: The Spartans have been hit with the injury bug this year yet pushed through to win a share of the Big Ten, and while Joshua Langford won’t be back, Nick Ward will be. They lost just one game without Ward, beat Michigan twice and are one of just three teams that are top 10 in offensive and defensive efficiency. Plus, they say the NCAA tournament is about guard play, and there’s few you’d rather have leading your team than Cassius Winston, an elite facilitator who can shoot the three (41.3%) and take over a game himself. Defensively, Michigan State will make teams work to score in the paint, and it has Tom Izzo making in-game adjustments. Need we say more?

Con: Head-scratching losses to Indiana (twice) and Illinois will stick in people’s minds, and it’s hard to tell exactly when Michigan State’s lingering turnover problem will rear its ugly head. It’s what cost it in the loss to the Illini, and a tournament matchup with a team that makes its living by forcing miscues could be deadly for the Spartans. MSU is going to need its typically strong offensive rebounding to show up in every postseason game, or else it could be playing catch-up in the shot attempt battle.

7. Tennessee (27–4)

Pro: This is a veteran, experienced team led by one of the country’s top-five players in Grant Williams, one of its best seniors in Admiral Schofield and a fine point guard in junior Jordan Bone. The Vols start five upperclassmen and have the nation’s third-most efficient offense, behind only Gonzaga and Virginia. They’re also one of the best free-throw shooting teams around and made a stellar 80.1% in SEC play, so they can be trusted at the line in tight games. Williams in particular is a foul-drawing machine and will make teams pay at the charity stripe, where he converts 83.2% of the time.

Con: The Vols have a weird home/away split going on. Per T-Rank analytics, in games on the road or a neutral court this season, they have the nation’s No. 1 offense. Yet on defense, they’re ranked 107th away from Knoxville. The defensive breakdown has been even more extreme since Feb. 1: at home, they’re ranked third on D. On the road? 139th. Poor defensive showings burned them in recent road losses to both Kentucky and Auburn, and it’s hard to predict which defense will show up in the neutral setting of the NCAA tournament.

8. LSU (26–5)

Pro: The Tigers have one of the nation’s best offenses and rebound their misses at a higher rate than all but three teams. Extending possessions and getting second chances are crucial in an elimination setting like the tournament, and they’re a team that can force their fair share of turnovers as well. Tremont Waters and Skylar Mays are a strong backcourt duo, and Naz Reid (provided he returns from the injuries that kept him out of the season finale), Kavell Bigby-Williams and Emmitt Williams are a handful for opponents down low.

Con: Anytime a team is dealing with as much distraction as LSU is currently, it’s fair to worry about its impact. And when that distraction runs all the way up to the head coach being suspended, it leaves a lot of room for doubt. On the court, there are questions about LSU’s defense, which ranks 57th on kenpom—low for a Final Four contender—and shooting, especially from the outside. Per Synergy Sports, the Tigers haven’t fared overly well against zone defenses this season, and they could run into trouble if they meet a team that dares them to knock down their shots.

9. Michigan (26–5)

Pro: When the Wolverines are clicking on offense, they look like they could beat absolutely anyone—see their destructions of Villanova, North Carolina and Purdue at the beginning of the season. The defense that got them to the national title game last April hasn’t gone anywhere, and freshman Ignas Brazdeikis’s arrival and the growth of Jon Teske, Jordan Poole and Zavier Simpson on offense have this team arguably better than that one. Michigan keeps opponents off the three-point line (it has the nation’s No. 2 defensive three-point rate) and forces teams to beat them inside via tough shots. It also takes exceptional care of the basketball, ranking third in offensive turnover rate.

Con: Michigan can run into real trouble when its offense isn’t clicking, which happens more often than it probably should. It has a tendency to have scoring droughts, with several players who struggle with offensive consistency and a lack of depth on the bench outside Isaiah Livers—who has been thrust into a starting role while Charles Matthews is out. If Matthews’s injury keeps him out of the postseason, that’s a hit to the Wolverines’ ceiling.

10. Texas Tech (26–5)

Pro: Per T-rank, the Red Raiders have been the No. 1 team in the country since Feb. 1. Whether going by analytics or the eye test, it’s hard to find a team playing better than them of late. The difference has been that their offense has finally arrived to complement their No. 1 defense: Texas Tech’s offense ranked 106th nationally through Jan. 31 but has ranked fifth since. The Raiders are finally getting help outside star guard Jarrett Culver, whether it’s through the underrated Davide Moretti, who’s shooting 48.1% from three, or seniors Matt Mooney, Tariq Owens and Brandone Francis. If this team’s offense keeps rolling, it will be very difficult to beat.

Con: A big improvement in three-point shooting has been one of the key things behind the Red Raiders’ offensive emergence, and it’s always tough to predict whether that kind of thing is an extended hot streak that will wear off or a sign of true change. Culver is still the star here, taking 30.8% of Tech’s shots when on the floor (per kenpom), which could leave the Red Raiders vulnerable if he has an off night or gets shut down by an elite defender.

11. Purdue (23–8)

Pro: The Boilermakers have only lost three times since the calendar flipped to 2019 and captured a share of the Big Ten title. Their defense has greatly improved along the way, turning an area of weakness into a much more dependable one. Carsen Edwards is always a threat and the kind of player who could star in March, while Ryan Cline makes 41.9% of his threes even as a streaky shooter. At 6'6", wing Nojel Eastern has the length and versatility to seriously bother opponents with his defense.

Con: Despite Purdue’s surge in the last two months, its best win (by kenpom rating) since a Jan. 27 victory over Michigan State has been its pair of wins over Penn State. It had a very favorable schedule post-Spartans, leaving room to wonder what will happen the next time it goes up against a marquee opponent. Good as Edwards is, he’s shot 30% or less from the field in six of his last 12 games, producing several ugly shooting lines. His best shooting nights often come when he’s not trying to do it all by himself, and the Boilermakers have to avoid becoming too one-dimensional.

12. Houston (29–2)

Pro: The Cougars could catch a lot of people by surprise after having a wildly under-the-radar 29–2 regular season. Their defense is going to make things very tough on opponents—they rank third in three-point defense and eighth in two-point D, thanks to a commitment to protecting the paint and forcing teams to make shots from elsewhere on the floor. They’re plenty capable on offense as well, especially in transition, and are led by an upperclassman backcourt in guards Corey Davis Jr., Armoni Brooks and Galen Robinson.

Con: Only two opponents have managed to shoot 40% or better from three against the Cougars, which is a credit to their defense, yes, but also a reflection of the fact that Houston has faced exactly one top-100 three-point shooting team this season. How will it fare if it’s matched up with a team that will be more than happy to try to beat it from the perimeter?

13. Kansas State (24–7)

Pro: This is the same roster that went to the Elite Eight last year—helped, in part, by UMBC upsetting Virginia—and while it hasn’t always lived up to expectations this season, it looked a lot better in the second half of the season than it did in the first half. K-State’s defense is ranked No. 6 on kenpom, and it looks to grind teams down to the half-court to win low-scoring affairs. That could play to its favor in a tournament setting.

Con: The offense is a major question mark, ranking 100th on kenpom. It’s been better in the last month and a half, but news that Dean Wade is questionable for the Big 12 tournament with foot discomfort should make people wary. Wade already missed time earlier this season with a foot injury, and the Wildcats did not look great without him (they did, however, make their tourney run last year with him sidelined). If he misses the postseason or isn’t 100%, there’s going to be a lot of offensive pressure on Barry Brown Jr., Kamau Stokes and Xavier Sneed again.

14. Wisconsin (22–9)

Pro: The Badgers are led by senior center Ethan Happ, who leads the entire country in kenpom’s Player of the Year rating by a decent amount. Happ is as durable as you get in the paint, and his kickout ability makes Wisconsin very dangerous when the likes of D'Mitrik Trice (40.6%), Brad Davison (38.6%) and Nate Reuvers (36.8%) are hitting from outside. The Badgers’ best strength, though, is their defense, which ranks fourth on kenpom and fourth in PPP in the halfcourt, per Synergy Sports.

Con: There have been games when Wisconsin’s supporting cast around Happ disappears this year and they become one-dimensional, and some opponents will be happy to let Happ get his if they can shut down the rest. You’ll also likely see the “Hack-a-Happ” strategy deployed in the tournament, given the senior’s dismal 46.8% mark on 156 free throw attempts this season. This could force coach Greg Gard to take his star out for key late possessions in close games, putting the burden on the rest of the Badgers to find enough offense.

15. Florida State (25–6)

Pro: The Seminoles will roll into the ACC tournament having won 12 of their last 13, once again with their defense leading the way. This is largely the same team that made the Elite Eight last year and took out a No. 1 seed to do it, and the length and physicality that gave teams like Xavier and Gonzaga fits last March remains. Mfiondu Kabengele has taken a leap forward as a sophomore and does an excellent job getting to the free throw line, where he converts at 76.2%. This is a better version of the 2018 team, and it could thrive again in the right matchups.

Con: Kabengele is Floria State’s leading scorer at 13.1 ppg, and he’s a big man who averages 20.9 minutes per game. Balance is good and has its benefits, but the lack of a go-to guard in particular who can take over a game can be a detriment. Some combination of Terance Mann, Trent Forrest and M.J. Walker will need to be that answer on offense if the Seminoles are to match or exceed last year’s finish. A turnover rate ranked 220th is not in their favor, either.

16. Virginia Tech (23–7)

Pro: If Virginia Tech is hitting its threes, it’s going to be a tough out. The Hokies shoot the triple at a high rate and make 39.7% of them—though that number dropped to 36.7% in ACC play, which strong shooter Justin Robinson missed the bulk of. Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Kerry Blackshear are an excellent inside-out duo, and Blackshear has had some monster games down the stretch. Senior Ahmed Hill is a solid supporting guard and Tech excels in both transition and the half-court on offense.

Con: The Hokies haven’t been quite the same team without Robinson, who will reportedly miss at least the ACC tournament—though they did beat Zion-less Duke without him. That and a November win over Purdue stand out as the only wins Virginia Tech has against top-30 kenpom teams this year, even though it has had six other opportunities. And while its defense has improved this year, it hasn’t fared well against the best offenses it has faced, including getting torched by both UNC and Virginia.

17. Kansas (23–8)

Pro: What to make of the Jayhawks this year? The glass half-full outlook is this: Despite losing their starting center (Udoka Azubuike) before conference play even began, then having their best three-point shooter (Lagerald Vick) step away for personal reasons in February and watching their Big 12 streak end, this is still a team that played the nation’s toughest schedule, went 23–8 and is currently ranked 17th on kenpom. Dedric Lawson has been as good as advertised down low, and freshmen Devon Dotson and Ochai Agbaji have shown the flashes necessary to indicate this team is capable of putting things together for a March run.

Con: To put it nicely, Kansas has an away-from-home problem this season. Per T-rank, it ranks 11th in home games and 34th in ones away from Allen Fieldhouse, and the difference is even more pronounced since Azubuike went down and Big 12 play began (eighth at home, 60th away). The offense has especially sputtered on the road, and KU has had recent clunkers at Texas Tech and Oklahoma. If Road Kansas is what shows up in the NCAA tournament, it may not be pretty.

18. Nevada (28–3)

Pro: On paper, this Nevada team is better than the one that went to the Sweet 16 last season. Its offense has dipped a bit but its defense is much improved, making it far more balanced. Caleb and Cody Martin and Jordan Caroline are all leading the way again, and this team has a ridiculous level of experience. It starts five seniors and has 22-year-old junior Jazz Johnson as its sixth man. Caroline and Caleb Martin are a deadly combo for opposing defenses to try to stop, while Johnson hits 44.1% of his threes as the team’s sharpshooter.

Con: The Wolf Pack have to be disappointed with how their regular season has gone, despite only having three losses. Two of those were to sub-100 teams, including a Quadrant 3 blowout at New Mexico, calling this team’s ceiling into question. It has only played two Quadrant 1 games all season—both against Utah State, which the teams split—making it quite hard to get a read on how this team will do against a marquee opponent.

19. Wofford (28–4)

Pro: America, meet Wofford. You may remember it as the team that upset UNC in Chapel Hill last season, but it is actually much, much improved as a whole since then. Did you know the Terriers are No. 20 on kenpom (after starting the year at 121st) and No. 14 in the NET? They’re going to be the higher seed in their NCAA tournament first-round matchup, and deservedly so. This team bombs away from the outside and has the nation’s No. 2 three-point shooting percentage (41.2%) and No. 3 effective field goal percentage. That’s going to be a terrifying thought for a No. 2 seed if it sees Wofford in the second round. Senior Fletcher Magee is the star here and a name you will hear more of, but Cameron Jackson and Nathan Hoover are both key cogs as well, and sophomore Storm Murphy hits 51.2%(!) of his threes.

Con: Wofford’s rise in analytics and the NET came on the strength of its SoCon play (and for the record, the SoCon is one of the best mid-major leagues this year), but it had four chances to earn a top-40 non-conference win and lost all of them, including a blowout at Kansas. A poor shooting night would likely do this team in as early as the first round.

20. Buffalo (28–3)

Pro: Now, I know you remember Buffalo. The Bulls stunned Arizona in the first round last year, then beat West Virginia and Syracuse on the road earlier this season and have spent much of the year in the AP top 25. Buffalo is 25th on kenpom and 16th in the NET, so it is very much another legitimate mid-major that will get an at-large bid if it loses the MAC tournament. The Bulls play fast and excel in transition on both offense and defense. Expect their offensive possessions to be short as they look to run their opponent out of the gym, like they did to the Wildcats. CJ Massinburg, Nick Perkins and Jeremy Harris are an excellent senior trio that will be determined to go further than last year’s second-round exit.

Con: A team that can slow down Buffalo would make it much more mortal, as its half-court offense ranks 129th in PPP (per Synergy). It would also take it out of its comfort zone, as it takes a quarter of its shots in transition, more than everyone but Savannah State nationally. The Bulls also have a fairly high-three point rate for a team that overall isn’t great in that area (34% on the season), though they have several capable perimeter shooters. There’s a blueprint to beating them, even if you don’t have Markus Howard.

21. Marquette (23–8)

Pro: Speaking of Markus Howard, perhaps the nation’s most dangerous player (in terms of ability to take over a game on his own) resides in Milwaukee, and he’ll give opposing coaches game-planning for him on short notice headaches this month. Then there are the Hauser brothers—Sam, who averages 14.8 points and 7.1 rebounds and has the team’s best offensive rating, and Joey, who knocks down 44.3% of his threes. The Golden Eagles have an excellent half-court offense and are clearly at their strongest when Howard is playing well and they’re hitting from the perimeter.

Con: Marquette is stumbling into the Big East tournament having lost four straight, and it’s the offense that has been the biggest letdown during that stretch. Howard can’t do it all for this team, and similar to Wisconsin and Ethan Happ, it’s possible for him to get his and the Golden Eagles to still leave with a loss. Howard recently had 25 against Villanova, 33 against Creighton and 28 against Georgetown, and his team lost all three. There needs to be more consistency from the rest of the offense if Marquette is to make a run in the Big Dance.

22. Auburn (22–9)

Pro: The Tigers’ win over Tennessee in their regular-season finale on Saturday was probably the best they’ve played all season, and a reminder of why Auburn was viewed so highly heading into this year. They knocked down 38% of their threes, committed just five turnovers and forced 13 (which was actually low for their nation-leading turnover defense), while holding the Vols to 32% on two-point attempts. The Auburn that showed up on Saturday is the Auburn that could be dangerous for an opposing No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the second round.

Con: Too often this season, we didn’t get the above version of the Tigers, which is why they fell to a No. 5 seed in the SEC tournament. They seem to be on track of late, but they’re only a few weeks removed from being routed by Kentucky in Lexington, and they won just four road games this year, all against teams in the bottom half of the SEC. This team can live and die by the three, and that’s a scary thing to trust in a tournament setting.

23. Maryland (22–9)

Pro: When they’re all playing well, the Terrapins have a fearsome inside-out trio in point guard Anthony Cowan and big men Bruno Fernando and Jalen Smith. A pair of freshman guards, Eric Ayala and Aaron Wiggins, shoot over 41% from three, while Cowan is capable but streaky from behind the arc. Fernando is a load for any opponent inside and has great passing ability out of the post that helps him find open shooters. Maryland is also strong on both the offensive and defensive boards, ranking in the top 30 on both ends.

Con: The Terps are the fourth-youngest team nationally, so young that Mark Turgeon occasionally deploys an all-freshman lineup. If Fernando and/or Smith get into foul trouble, the frontcourt depth is thin, with Ricky Lindo Jr. being the only reliable option (and his value is solely with defense and rebounding). Maryland also has a tendency to get off to slow starts, and major turnover issues on both ends (266th in offensive rate, 352nd in defensive rate) often leave it with fewer shot attempts than its opponents, limiting its ceiling.

24. UCF (23–7)

Pro: The Knights have defeated both of the AAC’s best teams (Houston and Cincinnati) this month, and are the only team to have beaten the Cougars at the Fertitta Center this year. Like many of its conference contenders, UCF’s calling card is its defense, ranking 12th in defensive effective field goal percentage and 13th in two-point D. The Knights have 7'6" senior Tacko Fall protecting the paint, and on offense he makes a whopping 75.1% of his two-pointers. BJ Taylor and Aubrey Dawkins combine to average 31.6 points and lead a veteran backcourt.

Con: Fall is a major liability at the charity stripe, where he’s made just 36.2% of his 152 attempts this season despite having the nation’s fourth-highest free throw rate. UCF’s offense ranks 50th on kenpom, lower than most of the teams on this list, and is susceptible against the zone. There’s also some turnover concern, where its rate of 18.3% in AAC play ranked eighth in the league.

25. Villanova (22–9)

Pro: Phil Booth and Eric Paschall lead the way for the Wildcats, and the two veterans have a wealth of NCAA tournament experience and combine for 35.1 points per game. Sophomore guard Collin Gillespie is the third scorer in double figures and will be key this month—when he's playing well, he's an invaluable third option on offense that lifts this team to another level, but he's not the only option to be that third guy. Freshman Saddiq Bey has shown plenty of flashes, while Jermaine Samuels recently exploded for 29 points against Marquette. Villanova has the talent and ability to put things together for a run, though it will take more consistency than it has shown.

Con: ‘Nova has an extraordinarily high three-point rate—third in the country at 53.6, per kenpom. Last year’s team broke boundaries when it won the national title with the nation's 12th-highest rate, and that one was only at 47.5. This year’s Wildcats are not as good from the outside as last year’s historical juggernaut offense was (35.5% vs. 40.1%), so it’s a red flag that the 2018–19 team is even more reliant on the three-pointer. In four of the five games Villanova lost down the stretch, it shot less than 32% from three—and even when it made 48% in the finale at Seton Hall, it still fell by four. That's because its defense, ranked 80th on kenpom, too often struggles to shut teams down.

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