Duke, Kansas, Michigan and Tennessee start 2019 on Top Line

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This is the first week of the new year and there are still more than two months before the Sunday of the selection. Here's what we know about this season's college basketball landscape, for sure.

Duke is dangerous to the offensive to an almost hilarious degree.

The same is true for Gonzaga.

John Beilein's team in Michigan looks better than the one that won the national championship last year.

Nevada is as good as advertised.

Virginia is much better than advertised.

There are at least nine teams with realistic hopes of national title, and another 10 that should not feel silly to dream of a Final Four yet.

The slice that the selection committee is putting in place in March will look like little, and maybe nothing, like this column.

Of course, we think we have an idea of ​​the future of the season over the next 10 weeks, but the ideas do not always materialize. For an easily accessible example, go back to March 2018. How many people then had Loyola as a finalist, let alone at the same time last year? The Ramblers were just a spotlight on all the radars last January and they still could not miss the tournament if they had not won the automatic bid for the Missouri Valley Conference. Less than a month later, they were in the Final Four.

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In other words, there is still a lot to learn during the rest of the college basketball season. With off-conference play, can Nevada stay undefeated? Will Kentucky be a second half monster, as it has been so often in previous seasons? Are Duke or Virginia the best CCA team and can they stay far enough apart so that both get the best seeds? Is there a Loyola hiding among the major conferences this season? We may think that we know the answers to some or all of these questions, but all sports, and especially this one, have the means to remind us that we are not as rushed as we would like. What we know, without a shadow of a doubt, is that the parentheses season has arrived. Celebrate this celebration with the first SI.com Watch Watch from 2019.

Four last farewells

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Clemson
Minnesota
Texas "data-reactid =" 23 "> Purdue
Clemson
Minnesota
Texas

Last four

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Butler
Washington
Mississippi "data-reactid =" 25 "> UCF
Butler
Washington
Mississippi

First eighth

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Vanderbilt
Belmont
Arizona
Temple
our Lady
San Francisco
State of Utah "data-reactid =" 27 "> Saint Louis
Vanderbilt
Belmont
Arizona
Temple
our Lady
San Francisco
State of Utah

Eight next

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Oregon
Missouri
Alabama
UConn
State of Fresno
Dayton
Furman "data-reactid =" 29 "> North West
Oregon
Missouri
Alabama
UConn
State of Fresno
Dayton
Furman

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<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Duke did just about everything that he could have hoped in off-conference play, go 11-1 with his only loss come to Gonzaga on neutral ground. The Blue Devils have eliminated Kentucky, Auburn, Indiana and Texas Tech, while resembling the most comprehensive team in the country. They are ranked second in kenpom.com's adjusted offensive efficiency and third in defense. The last time a team ranked among the top three in both categories was the 2007-2008 season, when Kansas was in second position in attack and first in defense. Of course, this team beat Memphis for the national championship. Duke kicks off the ACC match Saturday against Clemson at home. "Data-reactid =" 31 "> Duke did just about everything he could have hoped for in a game outside the conference, scoring 11-1 with his only loss come to Gonzaga on neutral ground. The Blue Devils have eliminated Kentucky, Auburn, Indiana and Texas Tech, while resembling the most comprehensive team in the country. They are ranked second in kenpom.com's adjusted offensive efficiency and third in defense. The last time a team ranked among the top three in both categories was the 2007-2008 season, when Kansas was in second position in attack and first in defense. Of course, this team beat Memphis for the national championship. Duke begins the ACC match Saturday against Clemson at home.

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "(1) Duke vs. (16) Texas Southern / Wagner
(8) Kansas State vs. (9) LSU
(5) Indiana vs (12) Wofford
(4) Marquette vs. (13) State of New Mexico
(6) Louisville vs. Minnesota
(3) Texas Tech vs. State of Georgia
(7) Seton Hall vs. (10) Clemson
(2) State of Michigan vs. (15) Vermont "data-reactid =" 32 "> (1) Duke vs. (16) Texas Southern / Wagner
(8) Kansas State vs. (9) LSU
(5) Indiana vs (12) Wofford
(4) Marquette vs. (13) State of New Mexico
(6) Louisville vs. Minnesota
(3) Texas Tech vs. State of Georgia
(7) Seton Hall vs. (10) Clemson
(2) State of Michigan vs. (15) Vermont

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The Jayhawks deserve some understanding for a recent loss to Arizona State, even though the Sun Devils turned back and lost to Princeton at home in their next game. The Jayhawks showed in this defeat what could crush them at the time of the tournament. Kansas is ranked fifth, fifth and tenth respectively in percentage of three points over the past three years. Devonte 'Graham, Frank Mason and Svi Mykhailiuk, the trio who carried the Jayhawks from behind the bow during this window, have all disappeared. This year they rank 103rd in percentage of three points. In the loss to Arizona State, they scored 7 for 28 of the distance in a game that they lost by four points. Lagerald Vick shot well, but he gets no help from his teammates. The worst is that there is no sign of help.

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(8) Nebraska vs (9) Villanova
(5) Houston vs. (12) Washington / Ole Miss
(4) Wisconsin vs (13) Old Dominion
(6) NC State against (11) Texas
Kentucky versus (14) Montana
(7) St. John's vs (10) Purdue
(2) Nevada vs. (15) Radford "data-reactid =" 35 "> (1) Kansas vs. (16) Abilene Christian / Morgan State
(8) Nebraska vs (9) Villanova
(5) Houston vs. (12) Washington / Ole Miss
(4) Wisconsin vs (13) Old Dominion
(6) NC State against (11) Texas
Kentucky versus (14) Montana
(7) St. John's vs (10) Purdue
(2) Nevada against (15) Radford

The story continues

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Listen, I forgive you if this season you have not done much about college basketball. Football, both NFL and university, dominates the last four months of the year, with college baskets allowing the university to gain maximum opportunities. If you come back to court, you must first get acquainted with the effectiveness of this Michigan team. When the Wolverines saluted Mo Wagner, Muhammad Ali Abdur Rakhman and Duncan Robinson after last year's national championship, there was reason to think they would slip a bit this season. Instead, they improved again, making 2019 one of four undefeated teams in the country, with victories over North Carolina, Villanova and Purdue. Charles Matthews has become a real two-way star. Jordan Poole, slightly used as a freshman last season, draws 50% of the back of the match, averaging 13.5 points per game. Rookie Ignas Brazdeikis was the offensive shot the team needed, leading the Wolverines to 16.5 points per game in under 30 minutes per game. In addition to all this, Michigan ranks fourth among the United States in terms of defense efficiency at kenpom.com, giving 87.5 points per 100 possessions. This team is ready for another round in the Final Four.

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(8) State of Iowa vs. (9) Florida
(5) State of Mississippi against (12) Lipscomb
(4) North Carolina vs (13) State of South Dakota
(6) Buffalo vs. (11) UCF / Butler
(3) State of Florida vs. (14) Loyola-Chicago
(7) the state of Arizona vs (10) Maryland
(2) Gonzaga vs. (15) Northern Kentucky "data-reactid =" 42 "> (1) Michigan vs. (16) Holy Cross
(8) State of Iowa vs. (9) Florida
(5) State of Mississippi against (12) Lipscomb
(4) North Carolina vs (13) State of South Dakota
(6) Buffalo vs. (11) UCF / Butler
(3) State of Florida vs. (14) Loyola-Chicago
(7) the state of Arizona vs (10) Maryland
(2) Gonzaga vs. (15) Northern Kentucky

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<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "The Pac-12 suffers what could be the worst season of the conference, with the distinct possibility that it is a league to an offer. This makes Gonzaga and Nevada the best teams in the West, which should lead them to compete for first place in this region. The Bulldogs lost to North Carolina and Tennessee, however, while Nevada's best away win was against Arizona State. In other words, they will have to completely dominate their respective conferences so that one or the other is at the top of this region. Tennessee is the latest seed for the start of the Bracket Watch season, mainly thanks to their victory over Gonzaga. Virginia's good argument here too is as good, but as good as the Cavaliers, their only win against a team in search of Big Dance was won against Wisconsin at Battle 4 Atlantis. The SEC is not as strong in the middle this year as it was last year and the Volunteers are not playing in Kentucky, Auburn or Mississippi before February. They could accumulate a lot of wins and goodwill over the next six weeks. "Data-reactid =" 44 "> The Pac-12 suffers from it what could be the worst season of the conference, with the distinct possibility that it is a league to an offer. This makes Gonzaga and Nevada the best teams in the West, which should lead them to compete for first place in this region. The Bulldogs lost to North Carolina and Tennessee, however, while Nevada's best away win was against Arizona State. In other words, they will have to completely dominate their respective conferences so that one or the other is at the top of this region. Tennessee is the latest seed for the start of the Bracket Watch season, mainly thanks to their victory over Gonzaga. Virginia's good argument here too is as good, but as good as the Cavaliers, their only win against a team in search of Big Dance was won against Wisconsin at Battle 4 Atlantis. The SEC is not as strong in the middle this year as it was last year and the Volunteers are not playing in Kentucky, Auburn or Mississippi before February. They could accumulate a lot of wins and goodwill over the next six weeks.

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "(1) Tennessee vs. (16) Driver
(8) Iowa against (9) TCU
(5) Virginia Tech vs. (12) Murray State
(4) Oklahoma vs. (13) Charleston
(6) Auburn vs (11) VCU
(3) Ohio State vs. (14) UC-Irvine
(7) Cincinnati vs. (10) Creighton
(2) Virginia vs. (15) Yale "data-reactid =" 45 "> (1) Tennessee vs. (16) Racer
(8) Iowa against (9) TCU
(5) Virginia Tech vs. (12) Murray State
(4) Oklahoma vs. (13) Charleston
(6) Auburn vs (11) VCU
(3) Ohio State vs. (14) UC-Irvine
(7) Cincinnati vs. (10) Creighton
(2) Virginia vs (15) Yale

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