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Gonzaga is probably not that good

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Following West Virginia’s “upset” against Ohio State on Sunday, it is likely Gonzaga will be the unanimous #1 in this week’s AP Poll. And with a lackluster conference schedule, it is likely they will retain that spot for some time. If they can get through the rest of the season with only one or two more losses, they will almost certainly enter March as a 1 seed.

However, Gonzaga’s resume is not as impressive as most take it to be. I give credit to them for playing a strong schedule before conference play, but in my opinion, though a couple of their wins are commanding, none of them are outstanding. And, more importantly, the Zags’ loss to Michigan is perhaps the worst loss among any AP top 10 team, but most basketball gurus seem to overlook it.

I’ve calculated the game score for every team that has played Michigan. This score is the product of game margin, adjusted for location and efficiency, and opponent ranking (which is constant here, since every team plays Michigan). Look at how Gonzaga’s performance against Michigan compares to their other opponents.

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The only teams that Gonzaga has performed better than in competitions against Michigan are ranked below 300. To emphasize, these teams are the worst of the worst. And as important are the teams Gonzaga has performed worse than: Illinois, Iowa State, Appalachian State.

Gonzaga does have a few marquee wins over a decent Arizona team and a very good Oregon team, but neither of these games were won by a substantial margin. Here is a list of Gonzaga’s game scores thus far in the season.

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It’s clear that the Michigan loss is really hurting Gonzaga. No top five team has a loss so bad in my book, and only one top ten team has a loss as bad (Penn St. to Ohio St.). Below I list each top 10 team’s worst game for reference.

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