1. Mark Few – Gonzaga Bulldogs
Few was one game away from coming off this list a year ago with an undefeated season but the Bulldogs are back with a vengeance. Even though Gonzaga isn’t as explosive as they were a year ago they are much more stout defensively thanks to the excellent rim protection that five-star freshman Chet Holmgren has provided all season long.
The pressure is certainly for Gonzaga after the disappointing end to their unbeaten campaign a year ago. There have been signs of vulnerability for the Bulldogs too, including some issues against rugged defensive teams like Saint Mary’s, but there are few teams that have rosters as deep as Gonzaga’s in the field.
That depth is a credit to Few, who has done an excellent job in both recruiting and utilizing the transfer portal to build a lethal rotation. Few is arguably the top coach in the sport without a title at this point so he would love the ability to get off of this list for good in a month.
The good news for Gonzaga is that they drew a very weak No. 2 seed in Duke in the West Region, who they would be heavily favored to topple in an Elite Eight matchup. The most dangerous foe that the Bulldogs could draw in their region is Texas Tech, a defensive juggernaut that could follow the blueprint Saint Mary’s laid out to pick up a key late-season win over Gonzaga.
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