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BobZag
03-22-2008, 09:50 AM
The little school from the little city has bowed out in the first round two years in a row now, versus Indiana and Davidson. Last year nothing much was expected in the wake of Josh's legal issues. This year, for many, the expectations were fairly high. Not Final Four high, but some thought Elite Eight, and more thought Sweet Sixteen.

But it wasn't to be.

The Zags are at the end of a two-year drought, and the interesting part of it is, the vaunted Kansas Jayhawks had a similar first round drought just a few years ago, versus Belmont and Bucknell.

Fact of the matter, this happens to every team, with very, very few exceptions. It's not an easy thing for fans, alums, players, coaches, etc., when their teams lose so early. People can play the Blame Game, it's the easiest explanation. People can play the What If game, it's an easy way out.

It's Few fault!
It's Bouldin's fault!
Pargo was lazy!
Micah didn't play enough!
What if Gonzaga took care of business in San Diego and got a better seed?
What if Josh was at full speed?
What if Curry just shoots 10% above his average?
What if the game was not played in Raleigh?

But college basketball is just that way, unpredictable. Look no further than Tampa, FL, where four 13 and 12 seeds knock off four 4 and 5 seeds. It makes little sense, one can't logically explain it. I know I have no answers or explanations for all the craziness.

This has happened two years in a row to Kansas, and Bill Self had top talent everytime. Jim Boeheim at Syracuse and Gary Williams at Maryland win National Championships in 2003 and 2002, respectively, then go into droughts that see them in the NIT more often than not. UConn wins it all, then misses the NIT, then bows out in the first round. It goes on and on. Illinois, Arizona, Florida, Kentucky, just a few other examples of first round flame-outs after years of success, or not making the tourney at all.

It happens to the bluest of the blue bloods. And even lil ol' Gonzaga.

The good news is, all of these teams will bounce back or already have bounced back.

Gonzaga will, too. You'll see.

zzzjag
03-22-2008, 09:52 AM
Thank you for giving me a different perspective.

I have been going over almost each one of your examples in my head and with friends.

If you're not first, you're last-Ricky Bobby

Seattle_Zag
03-22-2008, 09:53 AM
Wow....well said BobZag. Thank you for putting things into perspective. It good to see the leader of this board write something like this after seeing all of these posts questioning the future of our team. Props goes out to you.

hondo46
03-22-2008, 10:00 AM
It's called March Madness for a reason.

rawkmandale
03-22-2008, 10:01 AM
Gee, a thread with actual creative thought rather than knee jerk reaction - what a pleasant addition to the common.

gueastcoast
03-22-2008, 10:10 AM
Thanks Bob. Well said.

I think this year hurts more than others because we all had such high expectations for this team. As a result, it is easy to lose perspective, which your examples provide.

I started a silly satirical thread after the USD loss with a Swiftian proposal to disband the Men's Basketball program. The purpose was to remind people that perhaps we've become a little spoiled and assume that all we have to do is "be Gonzaga" and things will always break our way. That's not how life works, but after the Elite Eight year and the many great players we've had since, nothing short of a FF will do.

It pains me to come to this board and see how people want to cashier Few after the program he has built at GU. Or throw Matt under the bus because he didn't have a great game.

Let's look at the bright side. Perhaps our drought will chase off a few fair-weather fans.

Tired, depressed rant over ;) There are games to watch.

zag buddy
03-22-2008, 10:22 AM
Well said and timely.

theothegreat21
03-22-2008, 10:24 AM
Great thread to start, and I find some solace when looking at what a lot of the other big time programs have gone through with losses in the NCAA tournament.I am also beyond confident that the team that we will have next year will be absolutely incredible, for two reasons 1) the arrival of Meech who will be a true backup pg for Pargo and 2) the freshman having another year in the system and seeing that improvement.

But what I do have an issue with is some of the posters on this board talking about how we have become spoiled as a fan-base, or how some of the fans on this board aren't true fans because they question the performance from yesterday, both of the coaches and the players. There is nothing wrong with having expectations for this team, that well exceed making the NCAA tournament. Much to the dismay of some of the posters on this board, it is time to embrace the fact that we are no longer little Gonzaga the cinderella story. We are nationally known program with top-25 talent. Therefore this season was not a success. I don't believe that saying that makes me a fair-weather fan. Are we a little spoiled to have such a great basketball program, the answer is of course yes, but that doesn't mean that we cant be dissapointed when a team of ours under-achieves as this year's team did. I think everyone on this this board supports the Zags with lots of passion, and just because we are not longer satisfied with making the NCAA tournament does not mean that we have become a spoiled fanbase

rennis
03-22-2008, 10:25 AM
Good post BZ. We'll bounce back.

gueastcoast
03-22-2008, 10:32 AM
Theo,

With respect to being "spoiled", just to be clear about what I meant -- I think it is perfectly fine to have high expectations for our Zags (as I noted I did this season as well). By all means, be disappointed with the season and how it ended, and keep expectations high -- that's a privilege we are fortunate to have with our recent success. It's the loss of perspective that galls me, with comments about Few being a bad coach, etc. etc. Read some of the idiocy passing for analysis on this board and you'll see what I'm talking about.

Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but when the comments are completely out of proportion, it's just a waste of bandwidth and not a few brain cells.

billyberu
03-22-2008, 10:33 AM
Thumbs up, Bob. Thanks for your timely post and salient points. Sports is a cruel wench and she will rip your heart out while you watch your life force drain from your body. Just as she will carry you to the highest of highs experiencing the ecstasy of winning in dramatic ways. We have all experienced both and will continue to do so.

When going through hell it is important to keep going because this too shall pass.

theothegreat21
03-22-2008, 10:38 AM
EastCoast,
Thanks for clarifying. In reference to being spoiled I had wanted to address this topic for a while now, and just commented on your post about it. I tend to agree with what you say and I think the GU fanbase is just in a state of frustration currently

jim77
03-22-2008, 10:40 AM
Nice post Bob.

BobZag
03-22-2008, 10:41 AM
Well, for better or for worse, venting on this board is a whole lot better than venting at family members, friends or pet dogs. When the game ended yesterday, I flipped the channel to Encore-Westerns and watched Bat Masterson, The Big Valley and The Rifleman. It was a nice get away...and I forgot how hot Linda Evans was back then. ;) Yowza.

But back to this topic... There is no logic to March Madness. It's frustrating and can dang near drive you to drink if your team doesn't roll like you'd wish.

Kansas fans screamed for Bill Self's head after his two first round losses. The first time KU lost, they had veteran seniors Keith Langford, Aaron Miles, Wayne Simeon and other top players. The year after that, Self had elite burger boys, young but they were the best of the Big-12. I think Mario Chalmers & Co. were frosh that year.

There was no logical explanation for it. It just happens, albeit maddeningly.

Now, Terp fans want Gary Williams' head. UConn fans are not happy with Calhoun. Arizona is in the midst of a coaching soap opera after two straight years of early exits. Experts are saying Jim Bowheim's Orange will be great next year because they're so young and lost Devendorf earlier this year, but that doesn't change the fact that Syracuse has been NIT or worse the past two years.

The Zags will be fine. Time heals.

MedZag
03-22-2008, 10:43 AM
Echoed my sentiments to a T, Bob. Thanks.

loyalviking
03-22-2008, 10:50 AM
That is a great post BobZag.

Thanks to the coaches and players for another great season, it was fun, and I now eagerly await next season!

Go Zags!

Radbooks
03-22-2008, 11:04 AM
Very well said, Bob! :)

deathchina
03-22-2008, 11:05 AM
Ummm...I think Kansas fans were comforted by the fact that before their 2 year run of first round exits, they did this.

2001 - sweet sixteen
2002 - final four
2003 - National Championship game
2004 - Elite 8

and the year after their first round exits? Another elite 8 appearance.

My point is, it'd be a lot easier to see the silver lining if things had turned out differently against UCLA and Texas Tech.

Go Zags!

BobZag
03-22-2008, 11:07 AM
Next year does hold plenty of promise, not that that eases anyone's pain this March. Like Malastein pointed out, and I believe Fitz used to say, "the best thing about freshmen is that they become sophomores." And it is so true.

Knowing full well that Pendo was valuable to this team and provided leadership and intangibles, and you just don't find classier kids than David and Kuso... You look at yesterday's stats... Gonzaga loses 5 points and a handful of rebounds from this team. Strictly statistically speaking, mind you.

I like the future. It helps ease the immediate hurt.

BobZag
03-22-2008, 11:13 AM
Ummm...I think Kansas fans were comforted by the fact that before their 2 year run of first round exits, they did this.

2001 - sweet sixteen
2002 - final four
2003 - National Championship game
2004 - Elite 8

and the year after their first round exits? Another elite 8 appearance.

My point is, it'd be a lot easier to see the silver lining if things had turned out differently against UCLA and Texas Tech.

Go Zags!

You're right. Droughts happen to the best.

Zag By the Bay
03-22-2008, 11:14 AM
Excellent post BobZag...way to put it into perspective.
The Zags and the program will weather thru this storm.
I think if fans reflect how far the program has come they will also realize how fortunate we have been and that the ball doesn't always bounce our way.
I have to admit it sure was nice to see USD knock off UConn as it took away the some of the inital sadness from our setback.
Go Zags!

Zagpower
03-22-2008, 12:11 PM
Accordint to ESPN, Duke hasn't beaten a better seeded team in the NCAA Tourney since 1994. Obviously, that can be tough when you are perennially high seeded but the Dukies lost to #12 VCU last year, were lucky to beat #15 Belmont on Thursday, and look to lose today to #7 WV.


It's a lot harder than many on here believe.

deathchina
03-22-2008, 12:38 PM
"Accordint to ESPN, Duke hasn't beaten a better seeded team in the NCAA Tourney since 1994. Obviously, that can be tough when you are perennially high seeded but the Dukies lost to #12 VCU last year, were lucky to beat #15 Belmont on Thursday, and look to lose today to #7 WV."

The problem isn't that we can't beat higher seeded teams. It's that since 02 we are 4-4 when we play LOWER seeded teams (1-3 against higher seeded teams).

TheBeast
03-22-2008, 01:05 PM
And even lil ol' Gonzaga.

The good news is, all of these teams will bounce back or already have bounced back.

Gonzaga will, too. You'll see.

It's true! November is right around the corner and I can't wait to see our guys in action again! While I hate losing Penduso, it'll be fun to see how our returning players and the newcomers do.

Juanzaga
03-22-2008, 01:09 PM
Comparing Gonzaga to Kansas is like comparing the Spokane Indians to the NewYork Yankees. Oh to be a Mark Few apologist.

zagsrelite
03-22-2008, 01:17 PM
Then how come Micah Downs left Kansas to come to the Zags? He knows which team is better!

Zagpower
03-22-2008, 02:05 PM
"
The problem isn't that we can't beat higher seeded teams. It's that since 02 we are 4-4 when we play LOWER seeded teams (1-3 against higher seeded teams).


Same problem the Dukies have, every time they get bounced it's by a lower seeded team upsetting them. How many years in a row now?

Zag 77
03-22-2008, 02:11 PM
The comment about the unpredicatbility of the game is very true. We missed 6 FT's and at least a couple more front end of one-and-ones. If we make those, we would be talking today about what a genius Mark Few is.

BobZag
03-22-2008, 02:42 PM
I could've used Butler or any number of non-BCS schools (Where's Nevada now?) as an example of going through dry spells after years of success, but I remember of how high their seeds were those two years.

Duke is in a bit of a slump these days, beating Belmont by 1 as their only win in two Marchs. (not comparing Few and Coach K or Duke and Gonzaga)

The point is: this happens to every program, from elite to midmajor.

Gonzaga's last two Marchs are not some sort of isolated case. It ticks off people, it's frustating, it's the pits, and almost every fan of every basketball program goes through it.

Bow Man
03-22-2008, 06:38 PM
4 Sweet Sixteens and 10 straight tourney appearances. Wow. It's crazy every time one of those lists goes up on TV: North Carolina, Duke, Michigan St., Kansas, Arizona, Gonzaga...

We've come a long way. 10 years ago I'd have to explain to people what and where Gonzaga was. Not anymore.

Thanks Zag fans. The best is yet to come.

deathchina
03-22-2008, 07:08 PM
"Same problem the Dukies have, every time they get bounced it's by a lower seeded team upsetting them. How many years in a row now?"

Why are you comparing GU to Duke? That is silly.

2008 - Second round exit
2007 - First round
2006 - Sweet Sixteen
2005 - Sweet Sixteen
2004 - Final Four
2003 - Sweet Sixteen
2002 - Sweet Sixteen
2001 - National Champion
2000 - Sweet Sixteen
1999 - National Championship Game
1998 - Elite 8
1997 - Second round
1996 - First round
1995 - Missed NCAA tourney
1994 - National Championship Game
1993 - Second round
1992 - National Champion
1991 - National Champion
1990 - National Championship Game
1989 - Final Four
1988 - Final Four
1987 - Sweet Sixteen
1986 - National Championship Game



Until we have that type of history and success, comparing GU's tourney woes to Duke's are just silly.

Zagpower
03-22-2008, 07:59 PM
It's about teams living up to expectations. Sorry if you're missing that.

Zag4Hire
03-22-2008, 08:16 PM
I don't mean to change the topic but I really don't see the Kansas/GU correlation. I always saw the recent KU teams, including the one that last year that I saw twice during the tourney last year, as teams that had too many athletes and it was just not utilized efficiently. Plus, Kansas is a BCS power in basketball and Gonzaga is a powerhouse in a historically weak conference. We both have our challenges (KU=all or nothing and GU= take too many shots from weak opponents; RPI era I believe hurts us as we have too much to lose and nothing to gain versus some opponents). If you need to really understand the difference between the two programs, compare the Scout recruit numbers versus minutes played per game. Kansas has bench players that could start for 90% of the teams in the country. I am not a Kansas fan but it is really apples and oranges. Although I have very high expectations for my Zags and I never see them outgunned, this program has made a name for itself in the true, blue colllar American underdog role and we are trying to evolve into a powerhouse program. Growing pains are necessary and these are the stages. I believe, as now, we are getting bigger and better recruits is where we make our transformation. We are really one big run away and if some fluke calls were not whistled a few years ago, we could have a few more recruits as commits. Just my opinion.

sonuvazag
03-22-2008, 10:38 PM
I believe the point is that if a storied program like Duke can have this...

1997 - Second round
1996 - First round
1995 - Missed NCAA tourney
...in the middle of all those successful tournaments, things could be a lot worse for the much less accomplished Gonzaga. No one can be the one crystal ball of certainty in this discussion, but I tend to agree with BobZag that Gonzaga's greatest tournament runs are yet to happen. Does anyone here really think the program has peaked?

deathchina
03-22-2008, 10:53 PM
"It's about teams living up to expectations. Sorry if you're missing that."

Right. And Duke has been to 10 final fours in the last 23 years, so I maintain that the comparison is poor. Even if you just count the last 10 years you get 3 final fours and a national championship! I think they are meeting expectations.

Zagpower
03-23-2008, 07:49 AM
Not lately and it's all relative..

I could have compared GU woes in the Tourney to a local high school team.
It doesn't mean everything about them is exactly the same.

If you are the 2nd or 3rd ranked team and you get bounced in the Sweet 16, you have underachieved your talent level and seed and disappointed your fans. Don't believe me? Go read the Duke chatboards.Lot's of the same criticisms of coaching stategy's, player rotations etc.that we see here hence the comparison.

Why would a 1 seed losing in Sweet 16 or a 2 seed losing in round 2 be so much better than the 27th ranked team losing in Round 1?

BobZag
03-23-2008, 10:05 AM
Well, there is no other school like Gonzaga to compare with. Butler, George Mason, Southern Illinois, Nevada, Winthrop, Creighton, Wichita State, I can't find any similar schools/teams that have made the NCAAs 10 years straight. Some have had a great season, or two, or three... But they fade away, maybe to reappear years later, but sometimes not.

Hence, I compare our two-year drought with KU's, or Duke's.

Losing in Round 1 two years in a row vs Belmont and Bucknell were worse for KU fans than losing in Round 1 two years in a row vs Indiana and Davidson for GU fans, imo, no matter what happened before.

Anyways, my point remains: If you go year after year for a decade or more, there will be bad stretches and good stretches; Gonzaga is in a bad stretch now.

That should change as soon as next season.

cbbfanatic
03-23-2008, 10:14 AM
I don't mean to change the topic but I really don't see the Kansas/GU correlation. I always saw the recent KU teams, including the one that last year that I saw twice during the tourney last year, as teams that had too many athletes and it was just not utilized efficiently. Plus, Kansas is a BCS power in basketball and Gonzaga is a powerhouse in a historically weak conference. We both have our challenges (KU=all or nothing and GU= take too many shots from weak opponents; RPI era I believe hurts us as we have too much to lose and nothing to gain versus some opponents). If you need to really understand the difference between the two programs, compare the Scout recruit numbers versus minutes played per game. Kansas has bench players that could start for 90% of the teams in the country. I am not a Kansas fan but it is really apples and oranges. Although I have very high expectations for my Zags and I never see them outgunned, this program has made a name for itself in the true, blue colllar American underdog role and we are trying to evolve into a powerhouse program. Growing pains are necessary and these are the stages. I believe, as now, we are getting bigger and better recruits is where we make our transformation. We are really one big run away and if some fluke calls were not whistled a few years ago, we could have a few more recruits as commits. Just my opinion.

very well said. i agree

deathchina
03-23-2008, 11:14 AM
"Why would a 1 seed losing in Sweet 16 or a 2 seed losing in round 2 be so much better than the 27th ranked team losing in Round 1?"

Because Duke is Duke, they are the best. Two straight early exits isn't going to diminish the fact they've been to 10 final fours in the last 23 years. They've played like crap in the tourney the last two seasons, but they have ultimate respect. Everyone KNOWS Duke will be back and great again next season.

A couple more years of early exits for GU, and people will really jump on the "overrated" bandwagon. I think the program still has something to prove.

Pleasant Peninsula
03-23-2008, 11:42 AM
Uh, Bob. Belmont has never won an NCAA game. It was Bucknell and Bradley.

Shanachie
03-23-2008, 12:12 PM
"Why would a 1 seed losing in Sweet 16 or a 2 seed losing in round 2 be so much better than the 27th ranked team losing in Round 1?"

Because Duke is Duke, they are the best. Two straight early exits isn't going to diminish the fact they've been to 10 final fours in the last 23 years. They've played like crap in the tourney the last two seasons, but they have ultimate respect. Everyone KNOWS Duke will be back and great again next season.

A couple more years of early exits for GU, and people will really jump on the "overrated" bandwagon. I think the program still has something to prove.

death, I almost always enjoy the dose of realism you bring to this board, but honestly I'm baffled by your posts on this thread.

Bob's point (if I can be so bold to speak for him, albeit poorly) is that even teams that are clearly more accomplished than Gonzaga have had similar stretches. It's OK. The sun will come up tomorrow. etc.

There is no dispute that Duke and KU did more in the previous x number of years than GU did. The point is that they had stretches of getting bounced early, and it would be foolish to call for their coaches heads.

Nobody is saying that they are thrilled with how this season turned out. Nobody is saying that they like GU to lose to lower seeds. Is your point that you want things to go better next year? Well . . . duh. We all do. The point is that every team, even those that are far more accomplished than GU, get bounced early or don't even make the tourney.

Two straight first round losses isn't going to diminish what Gonzaga has accomplished in the last 10 years either.

deathchina
03-23-2008, 12:54 PM
Shanachie -

Sorry, the GU/Duke comparison got me going. Granted, both teams have not performed to their fan's expectations the last couple years. BZ and others are completely right, droughts happen, even to the best. I'm not disputing any of this. Indiana's struggles in recent years are well documented. UCLA had a span of mediocre play not too long ago. ETC ETC.....

The point I'm trying to make (and clearly doing a poor job of it), is that we aren't in the same position as a Duke, or a Kansas, IU, etc etc. We aren't a program steeped in tradition and success that has a temporary lull in success. We don't have the same laurel's to fall back on. We are still trying to make our name, gain respect, prove we belong, get to the final four. I think our reputation suffers MORE from our recent struggles in the tournament than it would for other teams we want to compare ourselves to. Gonzaga gained national prominence BECAUSE of postseason play, and the next step will come only from elevated success in that arena. Winning the WCC 10 more years in a row isn't going to do it, fair or not. The simple fact is, many critics will NEVER take us seriously until we make a final four. We could shut up everyone with one winning streak in march.

Maybe that's why I feel like a first round exit to a lower seed stings a little more to us than it does to Duke, or Kansas.

zag70
03-23-2008, 07:08 PM
Yes DeathinChina, you are right....Perhaps BobZag's rose colored glasses for next year need a reality check. I would suggest as a long time observer of Zag basketball going back to the 60's that we have no expectations. I think that was the problem this year....too many expectations that fell flat on Boone Ave. Let's remember what brought us to this point and give the players a break....the game has to be fun again. Let's never hear: the players have that "I have to score look" once again. After 4 days in the gut of the ACC, I long for the return of the WCC. We can be there, but it will take time and lack of expectations. Relax

surfmonkey89
03-23-2008, 07:39 PM
I'm as upset about losing the last game as the next guy, but the reaction on this board is truly baffling. I guess there were a lot of people who had really high expectations for this team to get to at least the Sweet 16, even though we had to deal with :
- getting JH & Theo back into the team dynamic
- integrating three immensely talented freshmen into the rotation
- Theo's situation in the middle of the season
- JH & Gray's early season injuries, then
- having to integrate them back in without the benefit of uninterrupted team practice time

Going into the season I figured that if we got into the tourney and won at least one game it was mission accomplished. I really wanted to win one game more to get our young guys seasoning for NEXT year, but the fact that we made it all and in fact only lost ONE regular season game in conference is largely due to Few navigating this minefield of a season.

I definitely have issues with Few, and going into the season I thought it would be the biggest challenge he'd faced to date. Given everything that's happened in the last 12mo I think he did ok. Not great - ok.

Could we have won the last game? Yes. Should we have won? Maybe. But losing isn't entirely surprising either. For all of you saying "It's a microcosm of the season"...well DUH, of course it is! They played like they played all season. So why are you so upset/surprised?

The only ones I feel bad for are the seniors - both the players and the students. I know they wanted to go deeper, and now they won't be able to enjoy that. On the bright side, after they graduate and start working they'll be better able to afford traveling with the team in upcoming tourneys :D

Next year the conference will be that much better, but so will we. If we lose out in the first round of the tournament I'll be leading the charge with burning torch in hand, but for now I'm just going to take this year for what it was: a year with tremendous challenges that we still managed to negotiate into a tourney appearance, giving ourselves something to build on for next year when all the pieces are in place for a deep run.

dim4sum
03-23-2008, 07:45 PM
The must win games start fast and furious nowadays.
First the Great Alaska Shootout. One and out creates absolute devastation.
Then the out of conference road games which could boost your RPI or seal your R.I.P.
Then the big bracket buster game, which fattens ESPN's coffers, and is supposed to enhance your RPI. Imagine how fired up St Mary's must have felt when they were forced to play Kent Who in the middle of a tight league race.It's a moot point whether these games help with any seedings whatsoever; what with the real stars turning pro after just one year, seedings have lost much of their relevance.
Then after a season of struggle, it starts all over again, where the worse team gets a crack at the dance with the league tournament.
Did I omit anything? Oh yes, the league schedule, where half or more of a team's schedule takes place. Forget league games they are becoming more and more irrelevant. You can go 1-13 in league, but save your best shot for the league tournament and you too can be a winner. We all have to rethink just what a big win is anyway. My friend won an Olympic gold medal in sailing and was very nonchalant about it. "It's just one race," he said.
Maybe that's all these games are.

Shanachie
03-24-2008, 07:17 PM
Shanachie -

Sorry, the GU/Duke comparison got me going. Granted, both teams have not performed to their fan's expectations the last couple years. BZ and others are completely right, droughts happen, even to the best. I'm not disputing any of this. Indiana's struggles in recent years are well documented. UCLA had a span of mediocre play not too long ago. ETC ETC.....

The point I'm trying to make (and clearly doing a poor job of it), is that we aren't in the same position as a Duke, or a Kansas, IU, etc etc. We aren't a program steeped in tradition and success that has a temporary lull in success. We don't have the same laurel's to fall back on. We are still trying to make our name, gain respect, prove we belong, get to the final four. I think our reputation suffers MORE from our recent struggles in the tournament than it would for other teams we want to compare ourselves to. Gonzaga gained national prominence BECAUSE of postseason play, and the next step will come only from elevated success in that arena. Winning the WCC 10 more years in a row isn't going to do it, fair or not. The simple fact is, many critics will NEVER take us seriously until we make a final four. We could shut up everyone with one winning streak in march.

Maybe that's why I feel like a first round exit to a lower seed stings a little more to us than it does to Duke, or Kansas.


Thanks for the clarification. I can't disagree with that point. GU has less of a stockpile of goodwill than the other schools. You're probably right about the critics, and maybe the same point could be applied to recruits, too. I don't think the Zags are in immediate danger of falling off the map from a recruiting standpoint, but a nice run in March next year wouldn't hurt.

MedZag
03-24-2008, 07:38 PM
The point I'm trying to make (and clearly doing a poor job of it), is that we aren't in the same position as a Duke, or a Kansas, IU, etc etc. We aren't a program steeped in tradition and success that has a temporary lull in success. We don't have the same laurel's to fall back on. We are still trying to make our name, gain respect, prove we belong, get to the final four. I think our reputation suffers MORE from our recent struggles in the tournament than it would for other teams we want to compare ourselves to. Gonzaga gained national prominence BECAUSE of postseason play, and the next step will come only from elevated success in that arena. Winning the WCC 10 more years in a row isn't going to do it, fair or not. The simple fact is, many critics will NEVER take us seriously until we make a final four. We could shut up everyone with one winning streak in march.

Maybe that's why I feel like a first round exit to a lower seed stings a little more to us than it does to Duke, or Kansas.

I absolutely agree deathchina. As I posted in another thread, we aren't a BCS school with a steady income of football money who has their facilities/money/traditions to fall back on. People don't realize how much GU's finances and relevance teeter in the balance, even after a decade of national prominence. The phenomenon known at GU basketball could still disappear after two or three years of missing the tournament.

GU isn't every other high level program. We have some special advantages and some special obstacles. But if you start taking for granted even MAKING the tournament every year, the winning of the WCC, the signing of recruits, this whole thing can disappear. Poof. Just as fast as it came about.

I guess where I strongly disagree with a long of the newfound pundits around here is that you don't maim the horse that got you to the store. Why the hell would anyone suggest getting rid of Few when he's proven to do what was said to be impossible - sustain a midmajor phenomenon over a decade?

Does that mean we shouldn't aim higher? Of course not. Talk to anyone on the basketball staff and they will tell you a national championship is the eventual goal. There's no denying GU's growth as a program has plateaued of late. But that was to be expected when we hit the scene so fast and grew so fast - that sort of growth is unsustainable no matter who you are when you consider a school of Gonzaga's size and resources. But some still expect the program to continue to trend upward so quickly.

Personally, I like the foundation of what we've built, and I'm happy with a more slow progress from here on out. I think thats more conducive to long term sustainment than any knee jerk reaction attempting to recreate the (lets face it) astronomically lucky success of the early years. Since we DON'T have those traditions and facilities and large generous alumni bases of the larger schools, I think taking gambles is not in the best interest. If things go wrong we don't suffer a couple years of irrelevance - we risk ever being relevant again.

BobZag
03-25-2008, 09:26 AM
Yep, Bradley, not Belmont. My bad. I knew it started with a B. :)

CaliforniaZaggin'
03-25-2008, 09:29 AM
Personally, I don't want to ever go back to where there's no expectations because that means we're not winning. The fact of the matter is winning yields high expectations. The great programs find a way to despite having a target on their back, and despite the pressure from alumni, fans, and message-board posters.

roxdoc
03-25-2008, 02:13 PM
Zag 70 - I agree about too high expectations. By the time the season started this year they had built into a crescendo. I got caught up in it like a lot of members here. All those terrific new players on the way etc. Then reality began to hit. Injuries, Davis problems and a failed offensive system (which comes first the chicken or the egg?). Still the "rosies" beat the drum ....any time now Mr. X will take over, improvements will kick in soon etc. By the end of the season the reality of situation was more apparent for some but not all. Then the fairly predictable performance against a credible team in a bit of a stacked deck location. Many here were crushed and have been angry. Hell I felt I had a good handle on reality and I was still crushed.

Now the countdown has started for next year. I can hardly wait! But I for one am not going to be led into higher expectations than are realistic for what we see (not speculate) ahead at the stage.