College Basketball: Midseason Report


Jared Goodman

With college basketball just about at its halfway point, it’s time to look at who the top contenders are. 


Auburn Tigers

Auburn sits at 16-1 with their sole loss coming in double overtime to UConn a few months back. Coming off a couple of big SEC wins over rivals Alabama and Ole Miss, the Tigers have climbed to number 2 in the AP Poll, tying their highest ranking since the 1999-2000 season. The Tigers are led by star freshman Jabari Smith, who is looking to be a top 3 NBA draft pick later this year. His play combined with the dual-threat 7 foot 1 inch North Carolina transfer Walker Kessler makes the Tigers frontcourt one of the most feared in the nation. They definitely have a real chance to be crowned champion in April.


Gonzaga Bulldogs

Gonzaga came into the season as the team to beat and they have backed that up thus far. They boast a 14-2 record with wins over top 5 opponents in UCLA and Texas. Player of the year candidate Drew Timme has been a star, putting up 18.6 points per game. The Bulldogs have been rolling lately, winning their last 7 games. They rank second in the country in offensive efficiency, which will make it tough for any WCC team to defeat them. There is a good chance that the Bulldogs don’t lose another game until late March or April, or perhaps they won’t lose again in route to winning a championship . 


Arizona Wildcats

The Wildcats have been one of the biggest surprises of the season, earning a top 5 ranking. Bennedict Mathurin, a sophomore from Ontario, has been one of the best players in the country. His play has pushed them to big wins over Michigan and Illinois, two of the top teams in the Big Ten. Arizona’s lone loss came at the hands of a very good Tennessee team. With the Pac 12 being the best it’s been in recent memory, the Wildcats will have the chance to pick up big wins and prove themselves as a top contender for the National Championship. 


Purdue Boilermakers

Sophomore guard Jaden Ivey has been Purdue’s best player this season and may hear his name called in the top 5 of the NBA draft later this year. His 16.4 points per game are the highest on Purdue, who is the top offense in the country. Their two centers have also been a bright spot for the Boilermakers this season. 7 foot 4 inch Zach Edey scores 15.6 points per game and pulls in 7.5 rebounds, while his counterpart Trevion Williams puts up 13.4 points and grabs 8.5 rebounds. Having one of them on the court at all times is a dangerous threat to teams across the country.