I recently ranked the nation's best backcourts for ESPN Insider, with Oklahoma State on top. But while it's crucial to have strong guard play to contend for a national title, the same can be said for big men. Production down low, especially if it forces double-teams, can cause the opposing defense to play out of position and surrender easy baskets. Likewise a “stretch 4” -- a power forward who can consistently hit 3-pointers -- is just as valuable due to his ability to spread the floor.
Which teams have the nation's best frontcourts? Let's take a look.
Arizona has long been known as “Point Guard University,” but this season's team has the best frontcourt in the nation. The Wildcats' front line of Aaron Gordon, Brandon Ashley, Kaleb Tarczewski and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is one of the deepest in the country and can hurt teams in many different ways. It starts on the defensive end where the length, athleticism and versatility of this group give teams fits. Gordon and Hollis-Jefferson can defend every position on the floor if necessary, enabling the Wildcats to do a lot of switching. And though Tarczewski is not a great shot-blocker, he alters shots by taking up space and being quicker off his feet this season.
On the offensive end, Arizona can punish teams in the paint as all of these players shoot at least 48 percent from the field.