2. Grand Canyon Lopes
Fourth-year head coach Bryce Drew, who has taken Grand Canyon to two NCAA Tournament appearances since 2021, has the Lopes riding a 13-game win streak including a notable win over San Diego State in early December.
Sitting with an overall record of 16-1 on the year, Grand Canyon has the pieces in place to cause chaos in the brackets if able to get into the Big Dance.
As one of the better offensive rebounding teams in the country, the Lopes currently boast a 36.2 offensive rebounding percentage, according to BartTorvik, placing them 23rd-best in the country in that category.
Not only is this a strong offensive rebounding team, but this is a team that is sound on both the offensive and defensive side of the floor, led by Tyson Grant-Foster, the team’s leading scorer at 20.6 PPG.
Grant-Foster has had an interesting journey to Phoenix, originally starting his collegiate career at Indian Hills Community College for two years before transferring to Kansas in 2020-2021 and then to DePaul in 2021-2022 before suffering a medical injury in just his first game for the Blue Demons. After being medically cleared, he has found a home and has been a major reason for the Lopes’ blistering start.
In addition to Grant-Foster, the experience of Rayshon Harrison (14.0 PPG) and Gabe McGlothan (14.3 PPG, 8.0 RPG) has paid dividends despite losing Kobe Knox (South Florida) and Chance McMillan (Texas Tech) to the portal.
This team has the experience, this team has depth, and this team has all the confidence in the world amidst a 13-game win streak. When the NCAA Tournament rolls around, the Lopes will be an incredibly difficult out regardless of their seed.