Baylor? Gonzaga? College hoops Final Four race is wide open

At this point last season, there was one overwhelming non-COVID-19 question engulfing college basketball: Could anyone derail the Gonzaga-Baylor train that was destined to meet on the final Monday of the season? 

The answer was no. Nobody could, although UCLA came very close. 

This season, there is again one dominant question, but it is nothing like the aforementioned one. It’s the exact opposite, actually. 

Is this the year of parity? 

It sure seems like it. There is no obvious No. 1. There is no team that is heavily favored to reach New Orleans for the Final Four. There are more than a handful of schools that can cut down the nets. Go ahead, pick among Duke, Gonzaga, Baylor, Auburn, Purdue, UCLA and Kansas. They’ve all had their moments of dominance, but also unexpected losses or less-than-inspiring wins against mediocre opponents that would make you second-guess picking them to advance into April. 

Are Gonzaga and Baylor still college basketball's top dogs?
Are Gonzaga and Baylor still college basketball’s top dogs?
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There is balance in college basketball, the polar opposite of the just finished college football season in which only a small group of teams have a legitimate shot every year. A number of high-quality teams — and nobody of Gonzaga or Baylor’s ilk of a year ago — are all capable of getting hot at the right time. 

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