PDA

View Full Version : Confessions of a Doubting Thomas



Nevtelen
03-14-2009, 10:03 AM
So I have a dirty secret and I'm hoping some here can talk me down from the proverbial ledge. I know this is a downer thread right before Selection Sunday, but I am just not drinking the kool aid right now.

Reality: I know everyone is really high on the team now, but I think it's pretty likely that this team won't get out of the first weekend and I really can't see them making it past the Sweet 16. Maybe I've just been conditioned like Pavlov's dog - every time I see this team dominate, they turn around and totally underachieve with a head-scratcher. Old Spice? Zona. UConn (it was pretty impressive, even for a loss)? Portland St and Utah. Tenn x2 and the conference? Memphis. Yes, they swept the conference. Yes, they dominated the conference tourney. BUT -

- After every success, this team has imploded not long after. They just won big.

- They have a huge lay-off. There is going to be rust that will probably hurt, certainly in the initial game. Also, this team has been up and down all season, even in big games. It's tough to predict what team will show up on game day after all that time off.

- Yes, this team has a lot of weapons, but several of them often do not show up for a given game. Usually, Bouldin or Heytvelt just score more and it works out vs a weaker team. But that's not always possible vs a really good team - consistent scoring needs to be there from any/everyone for this team to work. Daye, Pargo, Downs, and Gray have all been very inconsistent throughout the season. At least 2 of them need to show up consistently for GU to beat a good team.

- Foul trouble. It hasn't been much of an issue yet, but the frontcourt is very very thin in terms of quality depth.

- The WCC tourney games were basically home games, considering the crowd. We already dominated SCU like that at home. As far as SMC goes, they'd only played one game and had a couple of practices with Mills back. They were not the same team that GU had seen earlier and it wasn't completely because of GU's play. Beating them was like beating a very average mid-major in those particular circumstances. And again, it was practically at home.

- While this team has dominated weaker teams with that killer instinct we have all been calling for in past years, they've struggled against teams that are as good as they are and play with intensity. For most of the season, when this team has seen serious adversity from a quality team, they've crumbled in the face of it. What happens when they face that first really good team in the Dance and get punched in the mouth?

- Bouldin. He has rapidly become the heart of the team in a lot of ways. But I have never yet seen him do well against a taller, athletic defender, either in scoring or assists - not last year and not this year either. If he gets shut down like that, this team is done.

-The rebounding is still not great, though hopefully good enough. This team needs to use its defense to generate fast-breaks to make up for the poor rebounding. Against a team that doesn't turn it over much, that's a big problem.

Now a lot obviously depends on match-ups, but I just feel very pessimistic about this team's chances.

BobZag
03-14-2009, 10:10 AM
Gonzaga isn't even the best team in the WCC, so I don't know how in the world the Zags can be expected to make it past the first weekend. When has the second-best team in the WCC ever advanced beyond the first two rounds? I cannot recall a precedent for that. Sadly, these Zags are sorry pretenders.

Ezag
03-14-2009, 10:14 AM
I feel good about where the team is at now but I see your point. I too am cautious in anointing them a final four team (remember all those early season final four threads). It seems like they do build up to this invincible team only to be a let down in the tourney. And it also seems that every time the media starts to jump on or back on our bandwagon we get cursed.

Maybe it superstition or maybe I am just a pessimist because of previous NCAA Tourney build ups and letdowns. I have started to finally come down to earth and say to myself, "this is just a basketball game", though it has taken me years to get to this point.

Sure, I will jump for joy if they do pull off big wins and make it deep into tourney and I will be there to support the Zags each step of the way but if they do happen to bow out early, so be it. I won't be over analyzing the game and I am not going to let it get to me any more. I'll just go on with my day.

RenoZag
03-14-2009, 10:15 AM
Gonzaga isn't even the best team in the WCC, so I don't know how in the world the Zags can be expected to make it past the first weekend. When has the second-best team in the WCC ever advanced beyond the first two rounds? I cannot recall a precedent for that. Sadly, these Zags are sorry pretenders.

Tongue, meet cheek. . .

:)

applezag
03-14-2009, 10:16 AM
It is fair to point out that it will not be easy for this team to go far in the tourney, and there are certainly some questions left unanswered. Your last two points are the ones that concern me the most:

Bouldin: can he perform at a high level for several games in a row against high level defenders with length and quickness? Hasn't necessarily been proven yet.

Rebounding: can we really say at this point that that issue has been resolved from earlier in the season? Have the Zags shored it up or have they just been rebounding better because the athletes aren't as good that they have been playing against?

The only semi-recent benchmark we have for these is the Memphis game--not good. I think GU can succeed without Bouldin being stellar (other players can supplement that), but the rebounding does really worry me. One indicator that is promising is the intensity and effort we saw in Vegas. If GU brings this I think they will rebound competitively with anyone.

BobZag
03-14-2009, 10:20 AM
It is fair to point out that it will not be easy for this team to go far in the tourney, and there are certainly some questions left unanswered. Your last two points are the ones that concern me the most:

Bouldin: can he perform at a high level for several games in a row against high level defenders with length and quickness? Hasn't necessarily been proven yet.

Rebounding: can we really say at this point that that issue has been resolved from earlier in the season? Have the Zags shored it up or have they just been rebounding better because the athletes aren't as good that they have been playing against?

The only semi-recent benchmark we have for these is the Memphis game--not good. I think GU can succeed without Bouldin being stellar (other players can supplement that), but the rebounding does really worry me. One indicator that is promising is the intensity and effort we saw in Vegas. If GU brings this I think they will rebound competitively with anyone.

But the intensity level against Memphis, a true contender, was dismal. This, to me, is the measuring stick. And the Zags failed miserably.

GoZags
03-14-2009, 10:26 AM
But the intensity level against Memphis, a true contender, was dismal. This, to me, is the measuring stick. And the Zags failed miserably.

DOOMED

SpudDawg
03-14-2009, 10:31 AM
Is this the reverse of the mourning process?

First, we're ecstatic about the Zags' showing in the tourney.

Then, we start to question why we're happy. After all, Zags aren't that good! They're overrated! Who do they think they are?!

Next up: Anger. We're sick of hearing about the Zags! It's not fair! It's not right! We don't just EXPECT them to lose in the first round, we HOPE they will!

Finally -- grief. Let's can Few and the coaching staff, then sit in a dark room with a bottle of hard liquor, drinking ourselves into a deep depression and counting the minutes until we die.

And then we'll realize that we're actually fans of every other team in the WCC not named "Gonzaga"!!!

BobZag
03-14-2009, 10:42 AM
Is this the reverse of the mourning process?

First, we're ecstatic about the Zags' showing in the tourney.

Then, we start to question why we're happy. After all, Zags aren't that good! They're overrated! Who do they think they are?!

Next up: Anger. We're sick of hearing about the Zags! It's not fair! It's not right! We don't just EXPECT them to lose in the first round, we HOPE they will!

Finally -- grief. Let's can Few and the coaching staff, then sit in a dark room with a bottle of hard liquor, drinking ourselves into a deep depression and counting the minutes until we die.

And then we'll realize that we're actually fans of every other team in the WCC not named "Gonzaga"!!!

lol, yes!

:D

Baldwinzag
03-14-2009, 10:42 AM
Reality: I know everyone is really high on the team now, but I think it's pretty likely that this team won't get out of the first weekend and I really can't see them making it past the Sweet 16. Maybe I've just been conditioned like Pavlov's dog - every time I see this team dominate, they turn around and totally underachieve with a head-scratcher. Old Spice? Zona. UConn (it was pretty impressive, even for a loss)? Portland St and Utah. Tenn x2 and the conference? Memphis. Yes, they swept the conference. Yes, they dominated the conference tourney. BUT -

- After every success, this team has imploded not long after. They just won big.


Wow, the truth really does hurt sometimes. My only dirty secret or fear is the Zags have an overwhelming tendency to just "settle" in tough games. When the game isn't going their way, or a few tough fouls are called against us, or if the offense isn't clicking, the leaders on this team are notorious for losing confidence quickly. Once this has occurred, we inexplicably begin "settling" for launching 3's, making silly TO's, and giving little effort on defense. We seemingly just "settle" for what the defense gives us and quit taking it to our opponent. Think Memphis, PSU, Utah(1st half), UConn(2nd half), etc. In the NCAA tournament, games are not going to go our way and this team needs to prove they can fight against adversity and keep plugging away. I have yet to see it from this team, yet they looked focused and rearing to go in Vegas. I only hope they stay tough-minded for the Tourney as well.

BobZag
03-14-2009, 10:44 AM
Wow, the truth really does hurt sometimes. My only dirty secret or fear is the Zags have an overwhelming tendency to just "settle" in tough games. When the game isn't going their way, or a few tough fouls are called against us, or if the offense isn't clicking, the leaders on this team are notorious for losing confidence quickly. Once this has occurred, we inexplicably begin "settling" for launching 3's, making silly TO's, and giving little effort on defense. We seemingly just "settle" for what the defense gives us and quit taking it to our opponent. Think Memphis, PSU, Utah(1st half), UConn(2nd half), etc. In the NCAA tournament, games are not going to go our way and this team needs to prove they can fight against adversity and keep plugging away. I have yet to see it from this team, yet they looked focused and rearing to go in Vegas. I only hope they stay tough-minded for the Tourney as well.

See my sig.

bartruff1
03-14-2009, 10:51 AM
That would be great...for me...after that it is all a bonus....if they just play smart and hard that is all anyone should ask...

bigblahla
03-14-2009, 11:54 AM
It makes me proud to offer this as my 500th post.

It's that time of year and they all know what they are playing for.

Although we all wanted more so far the season is a success even considering the speed bumps along the way.

Now you play to win because you must win to play. The guys know this.

It's pretty obvious this team likes like playing together and the most games they have left as a group is six. I think they really want to run the table.

Doesn't matter who but we do deserve to stay in the West.

Focus and Energy!

Go!! Zags!!!

zag buddy
03-14-2009, 01:38 PM
I think with 3 seniors we're in good shape. All you doom and glommers have a nice day.

BobZag
03-14-2009, 02:01 PM
Just funnin' you, but Gonzaga has had good teams with 3 starting seniors before and fell short in the NCAAs.

Just sayin'. :)

roxdoc
03-14-2009, 02:08 PM
We have the talent - its the degree of focus and tough, smart play for the entire game that will either win it or loose it. In the past there have been quite a few First Round games where we have been obviously lacking in this. We really brought it in the Tournament this year so maybe the motivation issue is taken care of. If so we can expect to play at least in the second weekend. After that you have to have all of the above plus some luck.

GO ZAGS!!!

zag67
03-14-2009, 05:24 PM
We have had a very good season so far, and hopefully a few more super games to watch.
How far will they go? Who knows, but I think that they will be bringing their A game. Are we a great rebounding team - NO. But we have shown that we are a very good and solid defensive team. This is the first time (that I can remember) that we will be going to the dance with a solid defensive "team" (including the players that we have coming off the bench). We also have almost a complete team of offensive weapons (which will make us hard to develop a single defensive set that will cover all of them).
I feel that the teams that scare me the most are the super athletic teams (like Louiville and Memphis). After the first game, we will probably be playing another 4/5 and then it will depend on hard play and some luck (Look at Conn. 6 OT loss).
Guys, good luck and play with confidence.:)

BobZag
03-14-2009, 05:32 PM
We have had a very good season so far, and hopefully a few more super games to watch.
How far will they go? Who knows, but I think that they will be bringing their A game. Are we a great rebounding team - NO. But we have shown that we are a very good and solid defensive team. This is the first time (that I can remember) that we will be going to the dance with a solid defensive "team" (including the players that we have coming off the bench). We also have almost a complete team of offensive weapons (which will make us hard to develop a single defensive set that will cover all of them).
I feel that the teams that scare me the most are the super athletic teams (like Louiville and Memphis). After the first game, we will probably be playing another 4/5 and then it will depend on hard play and some luck (Look at Conn. 6 OT loss).
Guys, good luck and play with confidence.:)

Play with confidence. I agree. Git after it, I do hope.

johnwzag
03-14-2009, 06:14 PM
I am not going to speculate.

I love this team and I will wait and see. A lot of luck will be involved and a lot of toughness will be needed. I am slightly concerned about Austin keeping his cool and being tough. Other than that. We have all the potential in the world.

cjm720
03-14-2009, 06:25 PM
Sweet sixteen here we come, how much beyond is the question. I hope Pargo/Josh ad Company have the answers. If we play smart out depth and scoring will take us far.

Go Zags!!!

ZagLawGrad
03-14-2009, 08:07 PM
We've seen the talent, the ups and downs over the season, now it comes down to one basically thing for this team---do the Zags really want it?

If they really want it, I don't see a lot standing in their way to go deep.

johnwzag
03-14-2009, 08:10 PM
Agreed -- At this point it is about desire...some smarts to play unselfishly also like they have lately.

If we run into a syracuse type team and lose -- I want cry. This is a special team.

DixieZag
03-15-2009, 06:01 AM
We have never had a defense that we can rely upon like this team, it is a huge factor, because we can have an "off" game offensively in the first game and still get by, then the rust is off and we can hope they come together, therefore I am more optimistic than I have been in other years, defense comes down to what BZ says, toughness, with three seniors, I expect an all out effort on the defensive end. That will be our best ticket to the SS, from then we have to hope that both ends of the court are on fire.

NotoriousZ
03-15-2009, 07:06 AM
I agree that the team tends to deteriorte after big wins, but I'm hoping the long layoff will counteract that effect. We still don't play until Thursday or Friday, so I'm thinking we come out strong and lay the smack down on the first team we play. After that, we shall see...but I haven't felt this good about our chances since the Ammo and Batista days--and I'm feeling even better now. The Memphis game was definitely the turning point in our season (we needed that shellacking). The team has played with a purpose since then, and what they showed me in Vegas was that they were on a mission and they weren't going to let up for one second. So if they can bring their Vegas game to the NCAA's, it's gonna be bad news for the other guys!

TacomaZAG
03-15-2009, 08:34 AM
Why the "Debbie Downer" routine?????? I always like your posts but this one has me concerned. We have the team weaknesses you describe, but so do all the other teams. More than any years in recent memory, any of the top 20 teams have a realistic chance to go really deep (FF). With that said, to me it's all about the first game, addressing the rust issues from the long layoff, and keeping the ball rolling. It's about momentum now, and feeding off each other's success on the court.

The silver bullet in this year's gun is the defense, we've never had that before. Our offense is still very potent, but it is the D that, I believe, will take this team deep.

Win the first game, keep the engine revved, and drive.............

Go ZAGS

NJZag
03-15-2009, 09:20 AM
Concept: "Peaking at the Right Time"
Statistics: See below
Discussion: Open ... :D

Year WCC 1st....WCC 2nd....WCC 3rd....Reg.Season....Finals vs........NCAA....How Far?.....W/L
1999 W 84-63....W 70-57....W 91-66....22-6 (12-2)....SCU........L 67-62....UConn-Elite 8....28-7
2000 W 76-49....W 80-70....W 69-65 OT....24-8 (11-2)....Pepp........L 75-66....Purdue -Sweet 16....26-9
2001 W105-65.....W 76-68....W 80-77....23-6 (13-1)....SCU........L 77-62....Mich State-Sweet 16....26-7
2002 W 82-64.....W 87-79....W 96-90....28-2 (13-1)....Pepp........L 73-66....Wyoming - 1st round....28-3
2003 bye...........W 73-52....L 72-63....22-7 (12-2)....USD........L 96-95 2OT....AZ - 2nd round....24-9
2004 bye...........W 63-62....W 84-71....25-2 (14-0)....SMC........L 91-72....NV - 2nd round....28-3
2005 bye...........W 90-74....W 80-67....23-4 (12-2)....SMC........L 71-69....TX Tech - 2nd round....26-5
2006 bye............W 96-92....W 68-67....25-3 (14-0)....LMU........L 73-71....UCLA - Sweet 16....29-4
2007 bye...........W 88-70....W 77-68....21-10 (11-3)....SCU........L 70-57....Indiana - 1st round....23-11
2008 bye............W 52-48....L 69-62....24-6 (13-1)....USD........L 82-76....Davidson - 1st round....25-8
2009 bye...........W 94-59....W 83-58....23-5 (14-0)....SMC........????????????????????????

This will bring back memories of which teams were the major rivals within the Conference in years past. (Pepperdine's glory years, anyone?) Is there any correlation between a dominating win in the WCC Finals and how deep the team went? What was the caliber of the opponent in those Finals? What was the Conference-wide SOS?

Looking at the Zags, it's tempting to look back at that '99 squad which was playing "in the zone" in the WCC Finals and went as deep as any in history. But there's also the team that LOST in WCC Finals and went on to the "instant classic" versus Arizona. There's the team that narrowly beat LMU in the finals and went on to lead UCLA but then lapse in the final moments in the Sweet 16. Was the LMU game a predictor of a future stumble? What fires up a team? A "chip"? Or "confidence"?

Nevtelen
03-15-2009, 11:35 AM
Why the "Debbie Downer" routine?????? I always like your posts but this one has me concerned. We have the team weaknesses you describe, but so do all the other teams. More than any years in recent memory, any of the top 20 teams have a realistic chance to go really deep (FF). With that said, to me it's all about the first game, addressing the rust issues from the long layoff, and keeping the ball rolling. It's about momentum now, and feeding off each other's success on the court.

The silver bullet in this year's gun is the defense, we've never had that before. Our offense is still very potent, but it is the D that, I believe, will take this team deep.

Win the first game, keep the engine revved, and drive.............

Go ZAGS

Maybe I'm being too hard on the team, but I just don't see it this year. Like I said, maybe I've just been conditioned by all the stumbles after big wins and the general inability of this team to step up when really challenged. The tourney challenges everybody. As well as the recent flame-outs in the first round or two. I hope I'm wrong, but I'm just not a believer right now. I hope I'm wrong, I really do.