Gonzaga, Nevada Pick Up Quality Road Wins as They Confirm Status Among Nation’s Best

    On a sports day dominated by college football's conference championship games, two of the nation's top five college basketball teams picked up true road

    December 1, 2018

    On a sports day dominated by college football’s conference championship games, two of the nation’s top five college basketball teams picked up true road wins over potential NCAA tournament teams. Top-ranked Gonzaga won its first road game of the season at Creighton 103-92 and No. 5 Nevada defeated USC 73-61, which affirmed the pair of West Coast schools’ places among the nation’s best.

    Despite the final margins of victory, both schools were on upset alert in the first half. Creighton led Gonzaga by seven at halftime and USC took a 35-34 lead into the break.

    The Bulldogs exploded for 62 points in the second half and the Wolf Pack held the Trojans to 26 points after halftime as the two top-five teams played like it down the stretch.

    It was Gonzaga’s fourth time scoring at least 100 points through eight games this season. Nevada picked up its second true road win of the week after winning at Loyola Chicago on Tuesday.

    Both schools entered the season as a top-10 team and each scheduled its non-conference slate in a way to potentially give itself a chance to earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, even though the West Coast and Mountain West Conferences don’t offer the same opportunities that are available in, say, the ACC or Big Ten.

    Gonzaga’s trip to the Maui Invitational resulted in wins over Duke, Arizona and Illinois, and the Zags’ victory at Creighton is a quality road win. The Bulldogs still have non-conference games against Washington, Tennessee (neutral site) and North Carolina (away) that could give them the best resume in the country entering the new year if they continue to win.

    Following its road wins against Loyola Chicago and USC, Nevada will play Arizona State on a neutral court, Utah on the road, and it will host South Dakota State and Akron.

    Gonzaga and Nevada are two of the 13 remaining undefeated college basketball teams — a group that also includes schools like Kansas, Virginia and Michigan.

    Regardless of how you analyze the two West Coast schools, from record to AP Top 25 ranking to efficiency margins to NET rankings, Gonzaga and Nevada are two of best teams in the country.

    The Wolf Pack have the most efficient offense in the country, adjusted based on its competition.

    The Bulldogs are No. 2.

    Entering Saturday, Gonzaga was ranked No. 4 in the NET rankings and Nevada was No. 11. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see both schools improve their NET rankings after their latest wins.

    It may have been easy to lose sight of Saturday’s college basketball results when there were College Football Playoff bids on the line, but Gonzaga and Nevada earned a pair of wins that confirmed their status among the nation’s elite and could have a tangible impact in the form of each team’s seeding come March.

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