Bilas Index: Top 68 rankings
The tournament committee has some work to do; the Index is here to help
The vulnerabilities of certain teams are showing as we head toward Selection Sunday, while one "flawless" team apparently still has more to prove.
After an historic start (25-0) for the third season in a row, the Syracuse Orange have struggled to score outside the paint. Meanwhile, Wichita State finished the regular season 31-0, yet some pundits still question whether the Shockers are legit.
If the tournament selection committee goes by long-standing traditions -- "who did you play, and who did you beat?" -- it could be problematic for the Shockers, who did not play a particularly strong schedule this season. For Wichita State to get to the top line, the stength-of-schedule numbers would have to be put on the back burner, while the "eye test" must be used to vault them to a No. 1 seed. How about that for irony? A mid-major is asking to benefit from the eye test and for the committee to rely upon last season's Final Four to illuminate things this season.
But these debates on where to slot Syracuse or the Shockers are but trivial matters for the ultimate arbiter in true tourney power. Any thinking person knows that the best selection and seeding of an NCAA tournament would simply be for the committee to follow the Bilas Index and vote for teams in the exact order of this refreshingly accurate and precise ranking system, which serves as the most definitive indicator of hoops accomplishment the planet has ever known.
The Bilas Index accurately measures a team's basketball achievement and is based upon the best analytics resources in the game -- KenPom.com, Sagarin, the UPS Team Performance Index, ESPN's Basketball Power Index and Synergy Sports Technology -- and the biggest and most powerful brain on the Big Blue Marble, that of "The Bilastrator" himself.
As always, you're welcome.
Note: All statistics and records are through Sunday, March 2 unless otherwise noted.
Moving in: Illinois (68), Saint Joseph's (54) Moving out: Stephen F. Austin (68), Saint Mary's (61)
1. Florida Gators (Previous ranking: 2)
As if the Gators needed to look more impressive, they hit 13 3-pointers in Saturday's win over LSU. Florida already allows the fewest points per game (58.6), points per 100 possessions (92.5), transition points (8.7) and points in the paint (22.6) in the SEC. If they can score like they did Saturday, watch out.
To read Jay Bilas' full ranking and analysis of the top 68 teams in college basketball, you must be an ESPN Insider.
College Hoops on Insider
John Gasaway writes why Aaron White and Iowa are NCAA tournament locks this season.