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Stache
04-04-2009, 06:33 PM
Personally, I think the Zags got tougher this year, but looking at Michigan State, it looks like there are many other levels of tough above us. How tough do we need to be to get to the next level and what stats will reflect it?

I'm going with rebound differential.

MDABE80
04-04-2009, 07:33 PM
A lot tougher than we are this year. Mental toughness and physically tougher. Stache...as anyone looks at the FF , it's pretty obvious we don't seem to belong at that level. I'm surprised at UConn folding but MSU made em fold. Or with Nova...they came back but each time UNC simply wouldn't allow it.
If we're ever to get to the FF, something must change......and not just the "push-back". Something more.......not sure what it is. At this level of competition, usually lots of luck is needed..... but it's seem like this year...just good coaching, strong kids who want a title and the blend of the two. Nothing fancy about who's in the last 2. We need consistency of the good efforts we put forth. I'm still puzzled though. Good topic.

CDC84
04-04-2009, 07:44 PM
What struck me about MSU was not just their toughness, but how athletic they are. Especially their guards and wings. Bouldin and Gray play in slow motion compared to guys like Lucas and Summers.

mainer6
04-04-2009, 08:03 PM
Athletes. Plain and simple. Better athletes and not necessarily skilled basketball types. "The Dancing Bear" for MSU was not half as skilled as Josh but he had a huge impact. The good news as has been mentioned on other recruiting threads is that Few seems to be going after more athletic players than in the past.

Stache
04-04-2009, 08:48 PM
I like SG and MB. Meech is tough. Good athletes, but the real factor is grit to get the loose ball, fight for position to get the board and give more energy on defense than offense. Its a little easier to look "gritty" if you have great athletic ability because you get to the ball fast, you hop higher and you deflect more passes.

The recruits sound like they have speed and raw athletic skills, but a little metal would make a big difference. Maybe coming from rough countries of origin and working hard to get a D1 chance has created the iron will that it obviously takes to win 6 in the dance.

roxdoc
04-04-2009, 09:09 PM
In looking at any of the Elite 8, just enjoying the games as entertanment and not trying to be real specific about players or coaches, it really struck me that we really don't measure up to that level. Its probably an improvement in the overall mixture of athleticism, toughness and size that we need. We did well this year, but the level above is men vs boys in comparison IMHO.

CodeCobalt
04-04-2009, 09:32 PM
I don't know about anyone else but what I saw from the Nova vs. UNC game was pretty similar to the zags vs unc.. UNC just took the lead and every now and again Nova would get a quick spurt but UNC would shut em down... I really think we could have made it to the final four.... we just had the champion in our way.

MotoZag
04-05-2009, 12:14 AM
...as anyone looks at the FF , it's pretty obvious we don't seem to belong at that level.

I disagree with you here, respectfully of course.

UNC is playing like the team everyone thought it would be in the beginning of the season. If they didn't underestimate a couple opponents, and have Lawson injured, they're undefeated this season. We got a 4-seed, but a bad draw on the bracket. Put us in any of the other brackets and we could have seen ourselves in the FF by a lot larger percentile, imo.

mainer6
04-05-2009, 07:07 AM
I disagree with you here, respectfully of course.

UNC is playing like the team everyone thought it would be in the beginning of the season. If they didn't underestimate a couple opponents, and have Lawson injured, they're undefeated this season. We got a 4-seed, but a bad draw on the bracket. Put us in any of the other brackets and we could have seen ourselves in the FF by a lot larger percentile, imo.

I agree with this for the most part. Especially the thoughts on UNC. After watching last night, I think we would have had a slim chance at best against MSU. They are so tough.

ExtremeJim
04-05-2009, 08:29 AM
I don't think it has as much to do with personnel as it does with styles of play. Year after year, Gonzaga dominates the West Coast Conference, which has a relatively elegant style, and where the officials call fouls based on a much lower threshold of physical contact.

In the first round or two of the tournament, the Zags are able to be competitive based on superior talent, but eventually they run into a team of equal or better talent they have to play with Big Ten, Big 12, or Big East officials, who allow the sort of brutal play we saw yesterday, and they're not able to adjust to the banging.

It appears to be a deficit in toughness, but it's instead a deficit in experiencing brutality in the second half of each season. GU has done all it can do in terms of scheduling to get some non-conference games with out-of-area officials; perhaps its time to petition the conference to "toughen up" the officiating, and to allow a bit more physical play that would better prepare whoever represents the WCC in the tournament.

The Pac-10 has had the same problem in recent years, with only Ben Howland being successful in the tourney--he came to UCLA from the Big East.

montanazag88
04-05-2009, 08:31 AM
Absolutely, positively the most honest and accurate thread of the season.

The FF formula since inception has been desire and toughness. This type of thing CAN be taught or at least "managed" as demonstrated by the beginning and end of season characteristics of most major programs we play. The prerequisite is a two to three Center position rotation that requires opposing teams to double team on offense AND defense (rebounding positioning), freeing up others to shoot open shots and rebound with open put-backs.

MD80 nailed it square on the head. The components of his post are "THEMES" of major programs....creating a vision for winning the whole enchilada via toughness/discipline (mental and physical).

The bright side, in my opinion, is the Zags seem to be improving in the forward and guard positions. However, they have not recruited the "power" center position in a while and that will require guys like Dower, etc...to pitch a tent in the weight room until 30-40 LEAN pounds appear. The toughness factor, well...let's hope a "hamburger drill" is a part of every practice next year and a picture of a packed house at the final four is pasted front and center on the locker room floor.

FF teams have demonstrated toughness and discipline at nearly every position, come tourney time - not just one or two. Players are not thinking about their NBA debuts while pursuing something this great. They are placing those goals second - ask any member of any championship of any team sport. There is a small element of luck involved, but usually the losing coach or the humble and gracious winning coach points this out.

I'm sure believe Few & Co. want more and I believe they will improve....I pray to St. Al.....they improve. The series of highlights of Zag wins during the season and during the tourney is a foreshadowing, IMO. There is so much more in store for us....for the school.....much more.

BobZag
04-05-2009, 08:44 AM
It's difficult to define "toughness". It's like pornography. You know it when you see it. I see it in these Final Four teams, plus teams like Pitt, Louisville, other Elite 8s. That said, there were some tough teams that were bounced earlier than expected.

Stache
04-05-2009, 09:50 AM
We will never have the same margin for error as UNC, KU, or even the top 3 Big East teams b/c we can't stack up McDonald All Americans. I think we will need the scrap, grit and fight to truly level the court when we play at the highest levels.

Despite some occasional mental lapses, I think we will miss JP's tude and swagger. I really think Josh got "it" after Memphis when he realized that there was no next year. If we could bottle both mentalities and use them over full season . . . .

montanazag88
04-05-2009, 12:23 PM
It's difficult to define "toughness". It's like pornography. You know it when you see it. I see it in these Final Four teams, plus teams like Pitt, Louisville, other Elite 8s. That said, there were some tough teams that were bounced earlier than expected.

John Stockton = toughness. I think it is easiest for Zag/Jazz fans to define the characteristics of his physical/mental toughness. Afterall, it was Stockton who described this Zag team as lacking in desire....he would know.

mainer6
04-05-2009, 12:56 PM
I don't think it has as much to do with personnel as it does with styles of play. Year after year, Gonzaga dominates the West Coast Conference, which has a relatively elegant style, and where the officials call fouls based on a much lower threshold of physical contact.


The Pac-10 has had the same problem in recent years, with only Ben Howland being successful in the tourney--he came to UCLA from the Big East.

I think this is very true. Year after year, the final four resembles a brawl more than it does a dance and if GU plays in a league that conditions them to avoid so much contact, we are at a major disadvantage.
Officiating is so subjective. Last nights MSU UCONN game was ridiculous. There could have been a foul called on every single possession. It is truely an advantage to play in a conference that encourages that FF style all year long.

HillBillyZag
04-05-2009, 01:04 PM
I have to put you on the spot. Define an athlete, for me? Dictionary would say one who trains for and participates in athletics. The modern, PC definition and use would seem to be racially based? Sometime this issue is going to have come out of its dirty little corner, for there are those, myself not among them, who consider caucasians as somewhow inferior athletically, especially on the basketball court..This attitude just as wrong as the point of view that minorities are somehow, someway inferior to caucasians in any way. I just hate to think that a child of any race would have his hoops dream diminished by any who would place limits on his accomplishments by ANY factor other than his ability and will to succeed.

montanazag88
04-05-2009, 01:34 PM
The program simply has had no success in recent years recruiting aggressive/physical players. The same could be said about the WCC - one very large big man makes not a "tough presence in the paint." The days of Fitz were completely the opposite - big, raw and fearless was the 1st order of recruiting business.

A very well placed comment earlier about Goodson is appropriate in this conversation. His desire was by far the most noticeable on the court - Bouldin second. This team was very offensively talented, but was not "required" to bang down low for rebounds - that develops in practice and is enforced by the coaching staff....you engage in the paint or you sit.

No conference owns the trademark on toughness. Some just recognize the formula is required to make a deep run. Subsequently, they get the most out of every position or they lose 50% of their conference games.

Maybe this is where the thread gets confusing. Desire is requisite to "toughness." UNC has everything going right at this point, but they are THERE because they stay physically and mentally tough through the troughs and peaks. That's greatness in coaching and recruiting - they get talent accompanied by desire. New recruits with these traits identify with it. Build a program that way and there will be interest/LOI's.

Zag79
04-07-2009, 10:52 PM
Afterall, it was Stockton who described this Zag team as lacking in desire....he would know.

so getting to the sweet 16 and losing to one of the best teams in the last decade isnt tough or wanting it? seems to me stockton doesnt know hoops then. :lmao: and we arent as tough as mich st or nova? considering NC worked them over as bad as us ill take that! we lasted longer than the spartans did, so we are tougher than them now right? give me a break. this team was full of tough, ambitious guys with no quit in them.

deathchina
04-08-2009, 08:42 AM
so getting to the sweet 16 and losing to one of the best teams in the last decade isnt tough or wanting it? seems to me stockton doesnt know hoops then. :lmao: and we arent as tough as mich st or nova? considering NC worked them over as bad as us ill take that! we lasted longer than the spartans did, so we are tougher than them now right? give me a break. this team was full of tough, ambitious guys with no quit in them.




I think J Stockton knows his hoops...



GU basketball sports an 11-10 record in the NCAA tournament under Mark Few. We've only pulled one tournament upset in the last 8 years (and that was in an 8/9 game against Cincinnati 7 years ago). In that same time span we've been upset 4 times by a lower seed. In the last 10 years, 41 different teams have made it to the elite 8, but not GU. 21 teams sport multiple elite 8's in that time span.



I'm not trying to take anything away from the amazing consistency and success of the program. We make it to the tournament every season, how many teams can say the same? I THINK GU IS A BORDERLINE TOP 15 PROGRAM IN THE COUNTRY. But we haven't performed up to our elevated expectations in the last decade. All that regular season success really raises the bar when it comes to the postseason.


On a sidenote, does anyone think this year's team was as tough as the elite 8 team? Wouldn't you agree that team was quite a bit "tougher"?

chirguy
04-08-2009, 11:59 AM
To win you have to play great defense and hustle. How many times have I seen Zags sagging and then when the pass comes running at the 3 point shooter. Our defense is weak, it may be better, but it is still weak. One thing I think the Zags do too much of is going for blocks. When you jump you can't block out and get the rebound. We have to improve these areas.

DADoZAG
04-08-2009, 01:18 PM
IMHO, toughness can be described as;
“No Hesitation, No Fear, No Score, No Quarter”, all of which can be learned, none of which can be taught (but it can be taught otherwise).

To break that down;
1. No Hesitation – While this may seem obvious, it isn’t always. There can be no hesitation to support your teammate on D, in the locker room, on the street or anywhere else. There can be no hesitation to dive on the floor, out of bounds through the scorers table or into the backboard. There should be no hesitation to do whatever is needed. No hesitation is actually the hardest to learn.
2. No Fear – there can be no fear of failing, no fear of losing, no fear of getting hurt, no fear, period. Believe it or not, I’ve found this to be the easiest to learn, but also the easiest to teach otherwise.
3. No Score – the score is irrelevant. The peddle should be floored or nearly floored every second, regardless of the score. The only things that exist are the game, the team and the coach. The coach is the one that should be concerned about the score or the clock.
4. No Quarter – Never stop, no matter what is going on or whomever the foe. Every second is precious and the next second is another to do better, be better for your team. If the opponent falls, help him, during the timeout. If you’re team is blowing them out, try to consol them and congratulate them for their efforts, after you’re told the game is over. The coach is the one that decides to let up and put in other players. Again, easy to learn, but easy to teach otherwise.

This may all sound harsh and heartless. But it’s not. What helps the athlete learn all this is the heart. That’s where the passion comes from. The mind is what learns the plays, to recognize the defense, and helps with the muscle memory. The mind is also what causes hesitation and fear, recognizes the score and tells one to ease up or celebrate. With the passion from the heart, the athlete can learn to ignore the mind’s impulses otherwise.

The mind with the heart is the athletes greatest weapon, the mind alone is the athlete’s greatest weakness.

GU had very little toughness this year, last, or even the year before that. GU had great athletes, coaching, and support, but very little toughness. It was demonstrated this year toward the end of regulation, in overtime, and after the game against UCONN. It was absolutely exemplified in the Memphis game.

Sorry about the novel, but, as you can see, this is one of my pet peeves. And, I agree that this one thing is what was missing to take GU all the way. They have toughness that will take over as leader next year (just watch the last 10 seconds of the WKU game, and the interviews afterward). That toughness will be learned by others on the team, provided they are not taught otherwise, IMHO.

bballbeachbum
04-08-2009, 02:54 PM
Josh was deservedly derided for his well publicized bad decision...could have run and hid, but no, faced it publicly. Turned it around.

Jeremy lost all confidence in himself after UConn, felt bloody awful in himself...could have run and hid, but no, faced it publicly. Turned it around.

Micah, you now the story, because again, it's all out there in public. Turned it around.

All of you who know tough so well, what gives? if we flamed out in the first round, even in the second maybe, OK, but these guys turned it around. If they hadn't, some of you'd be right...but they did turn it around. Why the continued beat down?

Redemption requires toughness, it's earned, no one gives it to you.

It's like a redemption wave they all created together, down the stretch, when it mattered most. Get off the beach and ride this wave!

GO TEAM ZAGS!!!

bballbeachbum
04-08-2009, 03:10 PM
GU had very little toughness this year, last, or even the year before that. GU had great athletes, coaching, and support, but very little toughness. It was .

I liked your novel, as you put it :) , and your 4 part breakdown in general. Thank you.

Re. the above quote, the "year before that" was Josh's shroom year. I love that team. That is the year that the ncaa string of appearances very easily could have been broken, but those guys did not let that happen. A proud moment for this Zag fan. In fact, the pic of that team holding a WCC Champions banner after winning the WCC tournament was my screen saver the whole offseason...one of pride in those young men for representing, not folding; if they don't win that WCC tourney, we don't go dancing very likely.

That team was tough.

I want to go to the Final Four too! Yes, we can always get tougher. But being 2 to 3 deep with studs is what will most affect, not a 7 man rotation of depth. Maybe this next group will help provide that, launch us to that, unless you are banking on the George Mason approach; I am not.

I ask you all, is Michigan State not tough because UNC dogged the daylights out of them too? Give me a break.

GO TEAM ZAGS!!!

MJ777
04-08-2009, 03:21 PM
On a sidenote, does anyone think this year's team was as tough as the elite 8 team? Wouldn't you agree that team was quite a bit "tougher"?

The 99 team might have been a bit tougher, and they certainly went further than any other Zags team, which was amazing considering it was only the second appearance by GU. But in defense of this year's team, the UNC roadblock that the team faced was the greatest obstacle for this team making it to the E8. Had the 99 Zags faced a team like this year's UNC instead of a U of Florida team that I remember as not being all that cohesive in the S16, then they would not have advanced either.

It is all about seeds, luck and match ups. Had GU been the 3 seed in the same region then perhaps they would have beaten Oklahoma and played UNC in the E8, but the result likely would have been the same. No shame in being knocked out by the best team in the tournament. In my opinion UNC played their best game against GU also.

DADoZAG
04-08-2009, 04:15 PM
the "year before that" was Josh's shroom year. I love that team. That is the year that the ncaa string of appearances very easily could have been broken, but those guys did not let that happen. A proud moment for this Zag fan. In fact, the pic of that team holding a WCC Champions banner after winning the WCC tournament was my screen saver the whole offseason...one of pride in those young men for representing, not folding; if they don't win that WCC tourney, we don't go dancing very likely.

That team was tough.

Ya' know, you are correct. I was thinking of what got the team in trouble that year, not how they responded. Yea, it took them a game to shake it off, but then they played tough all the way through the WCC tourney. That one point loss to Memphis was a great game!

And please don't get me wrong. I think the skill set of this year's team could match up to any, and I'm absolutely stoked about next year!

I had the good fortune of passing Josh on the sidewalk just before he left for Detroit. I shook his hand and thanked him for all his hard work and for a great year. What Josh has done the past two years shows toughness. The fact that he displayed his emotions after Senior night, shows toughness.

It's not about being a stud on the outside, it's about being a stud in the inside, imo.

Way to go ZAGS!

bballbeachbum
04-08-2009, 07:00 PM
It's not about being a stud on the outside, it's about being a stud in the inside, imo.

:agreed: can't find the pic of that team :mad: should neg rep myself for that

and I'm psyched for next year's team, too DADo!

GO TEAM ZAGS!!!

Zag79
04-09-2009, 01:16 AM
I think J Stockton knows his hoops...

im sure he does, my point was that if he really said this team lacked the want and hustle then i have to say i think he knows less than i thought he would. this team was very tough. pargo came back from injury and a slump to showing he could hang with NC all day every day. josh came back from his issues, proving many mouths wrong. micah stepped up and showed the toughness to come back from getting benched and play better than he ever has. this team gave there all and i dont think losing to NC proves otherwise. i really think we would have beaten oklahoma, nova, even uconn if we didnt have to play NC.


GU basketball sports an 11-10 record in the NCAA tournament under Mark Few. We've only pulled one tournament upset in the last 8 years (and that was in an 8/9 game against Cincinnati 7 years ago). In that same time span we've been upset 4 times by a lower seed. In the last 10 years, 41 different teams have made it to the elite 8, but not GU. 21 teams sport multiple elite 8's in that time span.



I'm not trying to take anything away from the amazing consistency and success of the program. We make it to the tournament every season, how many teams can say the same? I THINK GU IS A BORDERLINE TOP 15 PROGRAM IN THE COUNTRY. But we haven't performed up to our elevated expectations in the last decade. All that regular season success really raises the bar when it comes to the postseason.


On a sidenote, does anyone think this year's team was as tough as the elite 8 team? Wouldn't you agree that team was quite a bit "tougher"?

This team was tougher than the elite 8 team. They were more skilled, more atheltic, and just as tough if not tougher. the elite 8 team would have gotten run out of the gym by NC. great post DC.