View Full Version : My explanation for this loss

03-15-2007, 08:17 PM
People are going to pick apart this loss tonight....poor rebounding, missed bunny baskets, not enough scrappy play, whatever.

I think it comes down to one thing:

I knew at the 10 minute mark in the first half that this Gonzaga team had expended all of its mental, physical, and spiritual energy during the final week of regular season play and during the conference tourney.

There just wasn't anything in the tank.

The guys won't admit that, and they won't use it as an excuse, but it's just the truth. Every single player on this team failed to play the way they did in the final 2 weeks of WCC action. They were spent, period.

Given what has been arguably the toughest year for Gonzaga since the Mark Few era began - the preseason injuries, the insane travel schedule, the non-stop heavy hitter nonleague schedule, the arrests, etc. - I felt this team maximized it's potential.

The heart that this team displayed in the final 2 weeks probably meant more to me as a fan of this program than anything Gonzaga has achieved in the NCAA tourney in the last 8 seasons. Call me crazy, but that's how I feel. Lots of teams would've thrown in the towel.

I feel the adversity that this team was facing following the arrests was that great, and the energy that it took to get past all that drained the team of any juice it had left to do much in the NCAA Tourney.

Credit to Indiana for their terrific defense on GU's guards, for canning their
3's, and for making Gonzaga pay for focusing so much effort on DJ White.

Let me put it like this....as I am writing this, I just don't feel bad about this loss. I am sad to see it end for D-Rav and Mallon. They are true Zags.

The program faces a lot of unknowns as we enter the offseason....we'll see how it all unfolds. I still feel the program's best days are ahead.

This was truly one exhausting season though.

03-15-2007, 08:18 PM
Spot On!!!!

I love this team..... Their hearts broken, they still rallied all they could.


03-15-2007, 08:21 PM
The edge just got worn down. Tough way for Mallon and Raivio to go out.

03-15-2007, 08:22 PM
I agree with that, but I also agree with the statistic of 5-36 inside the arc. Pretty :vomit-smiley-007: .

03-15-2007, 08:26 PM
I'll agree partially, but you really have to credit Sampson. God it hurts to write that. This was a classic Sampson game and the Zags played right into it. He frustrates teams by taking them out of their game. I've watched him do it for years. "Win ugly baby!", that's his game. It really pisses me off that he made it work, I really dislike him as a coach and as a person. I wanted the zags to beat "his smugness" while he was at OU and we had several possible NCAA matchups that never came to be. Now I have to survive the offseason with this memory.

Fortunately, I think there is still another Fat Tire in the fridge.


03-15-2007, 08:29 PM
Thank you for that CDC. Your perspective is much appreciated.

The combination of the players' exhaustion, and the unlucky night under the hoop means we lost this one. Still, these guys accomplished so much this season through a ton of adversity.

03-15-2007, 08:29 PM
Yeah, 10 days to see their only opponent in meche gonzaga jerseys.

03-15-2007, 08:30 PM

Thanks for hitting the nail on the head CDC......now that you've articulated exactly what I'm feeling and thinking, I can stop obsessing and get some sleep! Hope everyone still enjoys the Dance.....in some ways I relax more w/out the Zags in the hunt and just watch for love of the game now.

03-15-2007, 08:31 PM
why fight so hard to get here with plenty of heart just to give up and basically give the game away. I thought I was watching a scrimmage game

03-15-2007, 08:32 PM
I think I can add my concurrence to your analysis CDC, and I'll add one contributing factor: Gonzaga played a team that was certainly good enough and talented enough to make sure we were never let off the hook.

We had a few mini runs or key shots that were answered by a mini-run or answer-back bucket. DJ White didn't own us, but made big plays at opportune times (among them three key post-up buckets and the rejection of Bouldin).

Just couldn't get over the hump and when the Hoosiers stretched the elastic, well, it just went too far.

Looking forward to next year already, and, until then, go Cougs.

03-15-2007, 08:33 PM
Spent??? These are 20 year olds with 10 days to rest up and get psyched for one game!!!!

I appreciate where you're coming from, but the well went dry psychologically. You could see it from the way they were missing their shots, they were just out of sync tonight.

I'll tip my hat to Indiana...they were the better team tonight.

Just one wish for next year: GUARD THE FREAKING THREE!

03-15-2007, 08:35 PM

Simply because our shots don't fall, or the team doesn't do what you think they should, does NOT mean they did not try. It is ignorant to think that any of our guys didn't give effort tonight.

03-15-2007, 08:37 PM
IMO, Indiana was just enough more physical of a team than we are used to playing and that threw us off. They obviously did a great job of scouting us and were able to take us out of what we wanted to do -- plain and simple. I've never been and never will be a Kelvin Sampson fan, but credit is due to him and his staff for their preparation -- especially when they really aren't that good of a team. Our players coming in spent and tired? No way on God's Green Earth -- they are 19-22-year old kids who just had an off night!

03-15-2007, 08:42 PM
I can't agree that they lost mostly because they were tired and spent. They had ten days to prepare mentally and physically for the biggest game of the year Mind you after watching them play against Santa Clara, I thought I was watching another team out there.

What I can't explain is there lack of agressiveness inside early on when we had all of those easy dunk opportunities. We did look weak and passive.

03-15-2007, 09:03 PM
I can see CDC's argument for our pathetic performance tonight, however time and time again when tourney time arrives our teams have shown a remarkable lack of mental/psychological preparation. Other than tonight, the most glaring examples have been, Nevada, Wyoming, and also a couple of our wins. Just my observation, but when we have won, we seem to be much more prepared for the second game. Maybe there are some motivational seminars somewhere......

Anyway, this year's team had some great moments, and there are better days ahead! GO ZAGS

03-15-2007, 09:07 PM
I have to respectfully disagree with CDC on this one. Tonights performance can not be blamed for this team being tired from all the effort they put in. These are college kids who are some of the best trained athletes in the nation and have had over a week off since their last game. This team did not maximize its potential. This best the team had to offer was in the Memphis game which despite being a loss was a game I was proud of. They were a final four contender that we should have beaten and today we lost to a team that was not all that good, that was better prepared and played harder than we did. Today was a highly dissapointing and down right pathetic performance that I dont think any true zag fan would appreciate

03-15-2007, 09:11 PM

[sarcasm] you're absolutely right....true zags fans only appreciate the team when a victory is secured. [sarcasm]


03-15-2007, 09:21 PM

I think you know that I didnt mean that we should only appreciate this team after wins. All of us will hopefully continue to support this program, but that doesnt mean that we should take this loss and try to put positives on it, because frankly there were none

03-15-2007, 09:34 PM
Well CDC is likely mostly right....as he usually is. Psychological/Spiritual exhaustion is worse that the physical stuff. Physically being tired is nearly always affected by what's going on upstairs. Pretty severe setbacks for a team that was trying to grow. That thing always in the papers, your brain, your thoughts ( in some small spot in there) makes all the attempts somehow seem not quite worth it.

Derek had that last year and it seemed to me the collective team had it this year after those consecutive losses. Kids tried to rebound and seemed to be doing ok but then the last chink turned into something just too big to weather gracefully. Tight knit teams seem to breath and conspire together.
To pick up pieces and just move on like nothing was happening was just....well..."A Bridge too far"...sad to say. Older guys know it. Sadly the younger ones won't understand till later. This is STILL the same group of kids and they did the best they could. It'll take a while before things get back together...if they do.

Most of these kids live for basketball. It's all they've known for years. These guys need months off. We'll see how it goes but I suspect it'll take lots of help to smooth things over. Once a trust is broken...it's tough to reclaim it. One thing sure though, it's impossible to pretend nothing happened. All the "it'll be ok's" usually fall short. Time's usually the key.

Derek and Sean's days are over here at GU. We watched em grow up........and we'll watch em do good things in the future. For now though, let's salute them and end this crazy season. All I know is that for many of us, it was gutwrenching to watch. Go Zags!.....Abe

03-15-2007, 09:48 PM
I think some people in this thread feel this team was a lot better than they actually were. Or at least how good I thought they were, as well as many others. If you expected an elite 8 or something, you have my genuine sympathies. I was hoping that we might, like, win a game...at best. Not that I didn't think we had a chance to beat IU. Just getting to the tournament made the season for me. Keeping that streak alive.......

I didn't take anything from that Memphis game that made me think....hey, it's Villanova and St. Joe's all over again. The game was at home and against a style of opponent that couldn't exploit GU's weaknesses in a huge way. Gonzaga was a donut team that had to scatch and claw to do what it did to even get in the tourney. It was about character more than anything else.

I feel that everything it took to get in this deal just emptied the tank. Gonzaga had to be at its absolute peak to beat Indiana tonight, and it just wasn't happening. And it was across the whole player rotation. No one had the mental sharpness tonight that they did those last two weeks of WCC play. That's how I feel about it, and I am sticking by it.

As TexasZagFan says, it wasn't physical exhaustion, but more mental. This team had to overcome too much adversity to expect the ride to go on for much longer.

03-15-2007, 09:56 PM
Blaming this on being tired? are you kidding me??? that's just sad. we weren't good enough, aren't good enough. And I'll agree with Alaskazag that it was Heytvelts fault. Hopefully he'll be back though, b/c we just are not good enough without him. Thanks DRAV, ur still the greatest bball player ever. Go next years team, and go court judges.

03-15-2007, 10:02 PM

[sarcasm] you're absolutely right....true zags fans only appreciate the team when a victory is secured. [sarcasm]


I'm very confused about your criticism of theo's comments here. I believe we all are true fans here and it's hard to sit here and watch people basically baby these guys and be constantly positive. I understand they are young and the future is bright, however I struggle to actually think that this team's skill was fully on display. Its hard to sugar coat it after a great finish like we had from that Memphis loss to the WCC. Against better teams we constantly let them dictate tempo and abuse us. For God sakes IU was in the bonus with +10 minutes to go in the second half! The effort was lacking and every weakness availble showed from our perimeter defense to Kuso's inability to perform on the offensive side of the ball.
There is also no part of me that buys how we are emotionally, physically, (etc) drained. Yes Josh screwed the team, yes we lost two of the best players in GU history, but this team had potential to make a run. I've seen worse teams do better things. As the saying goes, big players make big plays in big games. Tonight and for alot of the season, we had no CONSTANT big game player. Good luck to IU, I still hate UCLA with everything inside of me!

03-15-2007, 10:13 PM
Well put broncozag. I see you share the same frustrations and dissapointment that i do

And CDC while i do agree with you that the events of this season were mentally draining... up until this game all I heard and what I thought I saw was a true team, and more than anything else a team that believed in each other and thought they could do something great. What gets me upset is that I didnt think we played with the desire that was demonstrated by this team in the last weeks of the season

03-15-2007, 10:27 PM
The previous poster was right about 20 year olds you know. They really don't get tired. I cannot see for the life of me how you could be emotionally drained - My Gosh! You are in the NCAA Tournament! When younger (much younger) I did play some basketball. Remember Indiana played in a Big Ten Tournament prior to this game as well. Remember they had to fly across country. So here are my thoughts after replaying many plays over on DVR.

1) Indiana definitely was not more talented. Indiana definitely was more hungry for the win. They were aggressive and almost every coach will tell you - all things being equal the aggressive team will usually win 9 times out of 10.

2) Gonzaga suffered from very lethargic perimeter defense - both man to man and zone. Pretty tough to keep a hot three pointer from scoring when you don't bother to put out your best effort to cover him on switches and picks you see developing. Yes you can see them developing.

3) Gonzaga transistion defense was non-existant. Indiana was mentally alert to stiff it to Gonzaga when they saw Gonzaga slow to get back on defense.

4) Indiana gave Gonzaga numerous chances to get back in this game. Certainly the lack of an inside presence hurt Gonzaga - but Gonzaga was heistant to be aggressive thorughout the game. Many opportunities to drive in the lane and on the base line were not taken. Many open threes were passed up.

5) I thought Sean Mallon had a very good game.

6) I really did not see anything that would lead me to beleive Indiana was either more talented or more athletic. They just had more hunger - especially on defense.

6) I look forward to next year and really hope for an attitudal change by Gonzaga on defense.

03-15-2007, 10:37 PM
It seems to me that CDC is taking the long view, evaluating an entire season and taking into account many more elements than a single game. No doubt tonight we didn't get it done and we can count the failures this way and that.

But this team is not tonight's game. In the wider perspective this is the final act of our toughest year -- and if this is the Zags at the close of their most troubled chapter, well, that's just fine by me. What they've done across the year is harder to pull off than most of us will ever know.

03-15-2007, 10:37 PM
Isnt it the coaches job to prepare the team and have they ready and hungry? Mental fatigue is a cop out. GU had 10 days off for crying out loud. Few got outcoached plain and simple. When you cant defend, you wont win in the dance!!

Raivio, Bouldin, Downs, Pargo are all one on one offensive players. IU knew that, and exploited it. You wont win with that. How bad did Bouldin look throwing up bricks? Few did not know what to do.

GU played 4 games in 2 weeks, then had 10 days off. This is March!! Come out and play!!

03-15-2007, 10:38 PM
I knew at the 10 minute mark in the first half that this Gonzaga team had expended all of its mental, physical, and spiritual energy during the final week of regular season play and during the conference tourney.

20 year olds can get tired and have heavy legs, half of the guys were being worked on prior to the second half - knees, backs, etc.

20 year olds are also prone to mental errors which can cause a crisis of confidence. Several players looked very hesitant to shoot shots they normally take. Not sure if you saw it on TV, but several times in the 2nd half guys were making mental mistakes running the offense. I don't know how many times 2 players were occupying the same space on offense resulting in wasted time and poor shots.

03-15-2007, 11:20 PM
I definitely agree with CDC - I thought it was pretty clear. This team looked like the team that played Virginia earlier in the season and for a lot of the same reasons, I think. The UVA game was the end of that roadtrip from hell and there was nothing left in the tank for that one. Same here - the result: bad perimiter D, mental mistakes, missing bunnies, an inablity to string good plays together, getting beat to loose balls/rebounds - exactly the kind of problems the team had tonight. Even so, if we just make our bunnies inside, we would have been quite competitive in this one. Not a great way to go out for Sean and Derek, but they really gave their all for this season (especially Derek) and I'm not overly disapointed.

03-15-2007, 11:46 PM
If we didn't care about these guys, we wouldn't be blogging so much. I know they will all take a long time to get over a game played so poorly. I saw a lot of poor shots put up tonight. There were plenty of early shots. bad drives, missed layups and shots made without being squared up. The offensive basics are usually a big part of Zag repetoire. That's why I am worried about next year. Is the problem coaching? Burned out kids? Maybe. Maybe not. We don't know what happened. We've all seen bad game happen, but usually not to our beloved team. I hope that next year we make our layups, defend the wing, and maintain consistency in all the basics. I hope Gray is quicker than he looked in that 3A game and that maybe we recruit that Scott kid from O'Dea. I am sorry to see Ravio and Mallon leave, sorry we played miserably tonight, and worried about everybody bringing up their play next year. I always love them, but c'mon fans hate to see that kind of loss.

Chicken Ball
03-16-2007, 05:47 AM
I think CDC's right. There were all sorts of weird lapses in this game that can only really be adequately explained by what CDC's talking about. Bouldin was out of position defensively constantly. DRav seemed to revert to his early-season inability to use screens properly. Mallon, Kuso, and Pargo could not hit the gimmes, ball movement was almost nonexistent. IU was on the loose balls and up-for-grab rebounds all night. I even thought it was surprising Kuso lost the jump ball.

Just a weird, weird game. Compounded, of course, by the same defensive lapse guarding the three that has seemed to characterize the Bill Grier era. Someone tell me again why this cannot be addressed?

Anyway, a strange game, and a sour note for our seniors to go out on. Nevertheless, getting to the tournament was a heck of an accomplishment for the Zags, and I'm proud of how they played in the post-Heytvelt season.

03-16-2007, 06:04 AM
Thanks, CDC. As usual, I think you're right on.

People are acting like this was one of the 29-3 teams of past years. What leads to these expectations? The Zags lost 10 games before the tourney, remember? For someone to say that this was not only a game GU should have won but that they should have "dominated" is ridiculous. You're aware of what the "10" next to GU's name and the "7" next to IU's mean, right?

I thought GU could beat just about anyone on a given night, but that they would have to play really well to do that. Yes, teams like this year's Zags can get hot and go on a run, but things have to fall into place perfectly for that to happen.