Welcome to The Bilas Index, Volume I, the first iteration of TBI in 2022.
As you know, TBI is the greatest and most comprehensive evaluation of basketball accomplishment and predictive measure of future performance known to mankind, and perhaps beyond. TBI is compiled from a careful evaluation of detailed data analytics and on-court scouting of actual game performances, not just results. All of this quality information is analyzed and sorted by the most powerful and accurate mind the game has ever known, the vast gray matter of The Bilastrator, whose basketball intellect and grasp of the game are unmatched by any collection of humans or machines. The only thing that can match the awesome power of The Bilastrator's basketball intellect is his stunning humility despite such awesome proficiency.
Early returns on the 2021-22 college basketball season have been mixed, but largely in a good way. We have seen some truly outstanding team performances, some stunning upsets and some ridiculously good individual performances. We have also seen some disappointments, with highly regarded teams underperforming early. That is the usual roller coaster we expect in college hoops.
Baylor endured tremendous personnel losses after steamrolling to the 2021 national championship, yet the Bears have been dominant on defense and have won their first 13 games. Kentucky's Oscar Tshiebwe has grabbed every available rebound this season, with multiple 20-rebound games, including 28 against Western Kentucky. Tsheibwe outrebounded the Hilltoppers by himself, 28-27. Alabama was magnificent in beating Gonzaga, yet also lost to Iona and Davidson, potential early round opponents in the NCAA tournament.
Ohio State's E.J. Liddell, Gonzaga's Drew Timme, and Iowa's Keegan Murray are having All-America seasons. SMU's Kendric Davis, Utah State's Justin Bean, San Francisco's Jamaree Bouyea, Wake Forest's Alondes Williams and BYU's Alex Barcello are having spectacular seasons out of the media spotlight. Duke's Paolo Banchero, Gonzaga's Chet Holmgren and Auburn's Jabari Smith have lived up to the hype, and will compete for a Final Four and the top pick in the 2022 NBA draft.
SEC basketball is deeper in quality teams that can compete for a championship than SEC football. And on the negative side, the game is again navigating disruption from the pandemic. With any good fortune, the major disruptions will taper off by the end of January. Let's hope so.
Lastly, before getting to TBI, let us all have a somber and respectful moment of silence, taking some time in silent contemplation to reflect upon a tragic death affecting the game of college basketball: the tragic death of freedom of movement.