We've entered the meat and potatoes of college basketball season: conference play. And as conference foes face off, one big question remains: Which team is truly the best?
Duke gets the most buzz due to its high-flying freshman duo of Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett, but Michigan and Virginia remain undefeated and Tennessee is playing perhaps the best basketball of anyone in the country right now.
So who's the real No. 1?
Duke sits at No. 1 in most metrics, including ESPN's College Basketball Power Index, and the Blue Devils are far and away the leader in adjusted efficiency margin. They have an elite offense, an elite defense and rank among the top five nationally in offensive rebounding percentage, 2-point shooting percentage, block percentage and steal percentage. Duke will likely have the top two NBA draft picks in June, Williamson and Barrett, and another lottery pick in Cam Reddish.
Michigan is only No. 10 in the BPI, but it has the No. 1 strength of record (SOR), which measures how difficult a team's win-loss record is to achieve. The Wolverines are solidly in the top five in adjusted efficiency margin, possessing one of the best defenses in the country despite some recent slumps. They have won 29 of their last 30 games; the lone loss was in the national championship game to Villanova.
As always, Virginia sits near the top of the rankings. The Cavaliers are unbeaten with wins over Wisconsin, Florida State and Maryland. They are No. 2 in the BPI with the second-best defense in the country, as well as the No. 2 SOR behind Michigan. Tony Bennett's team is similar to how it has been the last few seasons: elite defense, efficient offense -- and playing at arguably the slowest tempo in the country.
Tennessee has just one loss this season -- a six-point overtime defeat to Kansas in late November -- in a game when Grant Williams fouled out and missed the final stretch. The Volunteers beat Gonzaga in Phoenix in early December and have won 11 of their 12 games by double figures. Their computer numbers aren't as strong as the other No. 1 contenders, slotting in at No. 7 in BPI, No. 12 in SOR and No. 7 in adjusted efficiency margin.
Which team do you think is the real No. 1?
With college football over, it's time to pivot to hoops. Who's your No. 1 right now?— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 8, 2019
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