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The unusual, late-starting 2020-21 college basketball season has been anything but typical, yet there has been no denying the bounty of interesting games and storylines through the first week-plus. That continues this weekend, when the top four teams in the KenPom rankings — Baylor/Gonzaga and Villanova/Texas — will square off for a pair of intriguing matchups. ESPN.com’s panel of college basketball experts picked their winners for those games, while also discussing what has surprised them around the college hoops landscape thus far.
Jump to score predictions for the weekend’s top games
What are your biggest surprises — one pleasant, one disappointing — from the first week-plus of the 2020-21 season?
Myron Medcalf, senior college basketball writer: Medcalf: I figured Jalen Suggs would add something to the Gonzaga roster that Mark Few had never had, but his immediate impact and presence has been more prominent than I’d imagined. Per hooplens.com, the Bulldogs have recorded 121 points per 100 possessions with the projected first-round pick on the floor and 102 points per 100 possessions without him.
The most disappointing surprise? Probably the SEC’s start thus far. We haven’t seen Tennessee yet, but Stanford thumped Alabama in a double-digit win. Florida wrestled with Army until the final minutes. Saint Louis over LSU. Auburn committed 22 turnovers in its eight-point road loss to UCF. (Perhaps LSU’s real self-imposed penalty will be its struggles against sub-100 KenPom teams this season?) And then, Kentucky, which has made 39% of its attempts against man-to-man defenses, per Synergy Sports data, has more questions than answers right now.