Each week during the college basketball season, ESPN Insiders Jay Bilas and Jeff Goodman will weigh in on the biggest questions in the sport.
The discussion: Which team has the best offense in the country, and which has the best defense?
Jay Bilas: There are three teams I have seen that I would rank as the best offensively: Oregon, Gonzaga and Duke all score with relative ease, and none score a high percentage of its points off its defense or off its second shots. Oregon has outstanding guards and runs a terrific offense. The Ducks have multiple weapons on the perimeter but are not as powerful inside. They shoot well from 3-point range and do a really good job of scoring in transition. They have versatile players on the wing and in the backcourt.
If the national championship were decided by a team game of H-O-R-S-E, Gonzaga would win in a walk. The Zags can really shoot it, and Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr. are both great shooters who can really stretch you and are spectacularly efficient. Like Oregon, Gonzaga is not super-strong in the frontcourt, but Przemek Karnowski and Sam Dower are more than capable. Gonzaga is not strong defensively, but is great on the offensive end.
Duke can also score from a variety of positions, and the Blue Devils have the most complete and versatile offensive player in the college game in Jabari Parker. Duke, which plays UCLA on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN), has few problems on offense. Any deficiencies come on the defensive end and on the glass.
As to defensive teams, the stingiest defenses I have seen belong to Ohio State, Louisville and Wisconsin. The Buckeyes have the best defensive point guard in the nation in Aaron Craft, and have excellent defenders on the wings. Coach Thad Matta's team plays tough defense, especially on the 3-point line, and does so without fouling. Louisville forces turnovers, wears you down and gets into your legs. The Cardinals force opponents to play at a pace they don't practice. And while Wisconsin does not contest passes and does not get steals or force turnovers, the Badgers stay between you and the rim, limit you to one challenged shot and do not foul and put you at the line. As a result, they will continue to win.