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tinfoilzag
03-10-2010, 09:32 AM
This seems to be the pattern.

1. Intense pre-season with young guys playing a lot of basketball preparing for tough early OOC schedule
2. Tons of travel for OOC schedule in order to get the high quality teams
3. Being more prepared than OOC teams makes for a great showing and garners national attention
4. WCC schedule starts with teams feeling they have to “beat up” Gonzaga in order to have a shot in games
5. In the WCC, aggression is penalized more than other leagues and the Zags adjust
6. Peak mid way through the WCC schedule, start playing to level of competition
7. National media is tired of hearing of the Zags and the recent games suggest they aren’t that good because they aren’t blowing out the WCC
8. Injuries due to grueling season start to show (see stress fracture, hand injuries)
9. Enter the NCAA tourney with little momentum hurting our seeding and further propagating the idea that we are overrated
10. Exit earlier than projected from tourney
11. Schedule a tough OCC schedule for next to make up for the a lack of late season competition from our league
12. Goto item 1

This cycle will let us be successful and make money but will make deep tourney runs very difficult. Can we fix it? Should we fix it?

maynard g krebs
03-10-2010, 03:10 PM
Well expressed thoughts. One question- how could it be "fixed" other than by changing conferences? And I'm not trying to open that can of worms.

Therunner
03-10-2010, 03:28 PM
You do make a valid point in a rather thoughtful, well-stated post; however, its all in the eye of the beholder:

If this 'viscious cycle' you refer to is able to get us ranked in the Top-20 every single season, be crowned WCC Champions every year, never miss the NCAA Tourney for 11+ seasons, and have the luxury of watching all our games on TV, I'm not sure I'd change much of anything. Maybe that's just me.

We're a lock for the Tourney as an at-large bid. Just ask any mid-major or even the UConn's or UNC's of the world how that feels. If the Zags wouldn't have done what they did, we would not have made the NCAA Tourney this year. I don't think any of our players or coaches would tell you any different or want to change how they did it.

Thankfully, we stayed true to our motto: anyone, anytime, anywhere and didn't leave anything up for chance. I'll take that any day...

Ezag
03-10-2010, 03:31 PM
Living by the motto may kick our a** by the end of the season but it has given us these 10 straight NCAA's and a lot of teams would trade places to be where we are and have been for a decade.

Once and Future Zag
03-10-2010, 03:35 PM
How to fix it?

Don't play to win in the WCC - play to destroy, demoralize, subjugate, and humiliate the other teams from day 1. Never call off the dogs, never dribble out the last possession. And if you're going to foul - foul so hard theres no chance of the ball coming anywhere near the rim for them to get an and-1.

No goals except to have a winning margin greater than the last game.

primal23
03-10-2010, 03:43 PM
How to fix it?

Don't play to win in the WCC - play to destroy, demoralize, subjugate, and humiliate the other teams from day 1. Never call off the dogs, never dribble out the last possession. And if you're going to foul - foul so hard theres no chance of the ball coming anywhere near the rim for them to get an and-1.

No goals except to have a winning margin greater than the last game.

They need to follow the ladies' example. They destroyed teams in conference all year, even Coach Graves talked about how the ladies kept themselves motivated even against teams they have to play again that they blew out of the gym.

GoZags
03-10-2010, 03:45 PM
10. Exit earlier than projected from tourney

As has been noted before, since Gonzaga's "cute little run" began in '99, a total of 5 schools (out of the 340 that play NCAA D1 Men's Basketball) have advanced to the Sweet 16 (or beyond) more often than Gonzaga.

Duke, Kansas, Michigan State, UConn and UCLA. The latter 2 (UConn and UCLA) have done it one more time than GU. It's unlikely that either of those 2 will dance this year -- so there's a chance -- should our team win 2 (or more) games this year -- then the list would be down to 3 more schools.

There's the perception that Gonzaga loses early in the dance. All schools lose early in the dance. Not all schools advance to the 2nd weekend -- and only 5 have done it more times than Gonzaga has since our consecutive NCAA tourney streak began.

Pleasant Peninsula
03-10-2010, 04:03 PM
There's the perception that Gonzaga loses early in the dance. All schools lose early in the dance. Not all schools advance to the 2nd weekend -- and only 5 have done it more times than Gonzaga has since our consecutive NCAA tourney streak began.

This is very true, and quite a feather in Gonzaga's cap. However, it is also cherry-picking the data pool, and frankly that '99-'01 run was a long time ago and those Gonzaga teams aren't the same type of animal that the OP describes. They didn't play the kinds of OOC schedules that they do now. The Gonzaga-program-as-we-now-know-it started about 6 or 7 years ago, and it's certainly fair to say that they've underachieved (somewhat) in NCAA play during that span.

Nevertheless, I wouldn't change anything about this program's modus operandi, and I don't believe that the entire pattern listed by the OP is really a year in, year out theme. There have been several years recently where we have rolled through the conference schedule with little or no competition. And I certainly don't think the injury bug has bitten Gonzaga any harder over the years than your average team.

BobZag
03-10-2010, 04:05 PM
It's a cycle. Nothing "vicious" about it. If Few schedules like Utah State or SMC, and GU doesn't win the WCC Tourney, the Zags are on the bubble with a 50/50 chance of playing in the Not Invited Tournament. What I'd change is scheduling the Bakersfields of the hoops world; if you eliminate CSUB, MVSU and EWU, Gonzaga's RPI, SOS and very likely it's seeding are all better. Play a couple of competetive D2 schools, instead.

CDC84
03-10-2010, 04:31 PM
I wish Gonzaga had the power to bring in schools like Siena and Old Dominion for one off games at K2. I doubt it will ever happen, because those schools will ask for return games (and rightfully so), and the Zags just won't agree to that because they already play too many road/neutral games to begin with.

GoZags
03-10-2010, 04:44 PM
This is very true, and quite a feather in Gonzaga's cap. However, it is also cherry-picking the data pool, and frankly that '99-'01 run was a long time ago and those Gonzaga teams aren't the same type of animal that the OP describes. They didn't play the kinds of OOC schedules that they do now. The Gonzaga-program-as-we-now-know-it started about 6 or 7 years ago, and it's certainly fair to say that they've underachieved (somewhat) in NCAA play during that span.

Nevertheless, I wouldn't change anything about this program's modus operandi, and I don't believe that the entire pattern listed by the OP is really a year in, year out theme. There have been several years recently where we have rolled through the conference schedule with little or no competition. And I certainly don't think the injury bug has bitten Gonzaga any harder over the years than your average team.

Silly me, referencing that time frame -- since GU's NCAA tourney streak began. You're right -- we could go back to the advent of the 64 team field if we'd like. We could go back 6 or 7 years. Even going back 6-7 years, I believe you'd still find Gonzaga in the Top 25 vis a vis post season success.

All teams lose early. It so happens GU hasn't (yet) had the high level post season success that elite programs have had. But it continues to be my belief that Gonzaga's best days still lie ahead.

seasontixholder
03-10-2010, 05:02 PM
Last year was a Sweet 16; not bad. Also, it was only interrupted by playing the championship team, and not by any factor(s) mentioned in the OP list. So the premise is not applicable.

This year? Let's wait until things develop. A win would be frosting and another one a cherry, given the rebuilding required and pre-season expectations, imo. Likely, his thing will be over in 10 days max. Then the Kool-Aiders will have 8 months to battle it out with the bridgejumpers.

alaskazagnut
03-10-2010, 05:15 PM
How to fix it?

Don't play to win in the WCC - play to destroy, demoralize, subjugate, and humiliate the other teams from day 1. Never call off the dogs, never dribble out the last possession. And if you're going to foul - foul so hard theres no chance of the ball coming anywhere near the rim for them to get an and-1.

No goals except to have a winning margin greater than the last game.

I have stated that from day one since Nov 2007 after 7 months of thinking about how to avoid the UCLA debacle ever again

The "killer instinct" is what once an future suggests we develop through no mercy and no regrets type of mentality. This is a game, if you can't handle the heat get out of the kitchen.

But most on this board think "why raise expectations?" Nothing is broken that needs "Fixing" and we shouldn't change anything because we have nothing further to prove or achieve. Sad.

CB4
03-10-2010, 05:34 PM
But most on this board think "why raise expectations?" Nothing is broken that needs "Fixing" and we shouldn't change anything because we have nothing further to prove or achieve. Sad.

I agree, sometimes I wonder if Zag-Nation has some of the lowest expectations in the country. We are not Cinderella anymore. Our expectations must be raised accordingly.

tinfoilzag
03-10-2010, 05:40 PM
And I certainly don't think the injury bug has bitten Gonzaga any harder over the years than your average team.

I think you are right but it is the type of injuries we sustain. Stress fractures, back injuries etc. that seem to be the product of a ton of time on hardwood.

On top of that, our guys tough out the injuries and no one knows about them til well after the season.

I think I should of titled the thread "frustrated with peoples perception of the program; I wish we would go deep one more time to shut them up"

It's amazing what we do every year. I'm not complaining. I just wanted to explore ways to get our guys at the top of their game come March.

Pleasant Peninsula
03-10-2010, 05:46 PM
But most on this board think "why raise expectations?" Nothing is broken that needs "Fixing" and we shouldn't change anything because we have nothing further to prove or achieve. Sad.

Nice strawman argument. I've not seen one poster, let alone "most" adopt that silly line of thinking.

alaskazagnut
03-10-2010, 05:52 PM
Nice strawman argument. I've not seen one poster, let alone "most" adopt that silly line of thinking.

Look at the reactions to all my posts regarding fans increasing expectations and goals. Then see why I say that. Exaggeration yes. Point of exaggeration though is true.

MDABE80
03-10-2010, 06:24 PM
I guess I might be alone on this but its not enough to justget in the NCAA tourney anymore. We must begin the idea that we must see the sweet 16 as a minimum. We won't progress unless we aim higher nowadays. We're an accepted entity in the Dance now. Let's think more about advancing further...let's think higher.... DREAM of it and it'll happen with work.

I'd like to see more OOC games near season's end. Outside of going P 10 or something, it's about th eonly way to hone skills for better teams. We got beat a fw nights ago but that's unusual. We MUST do something different...if we're going to be different. Short of leaving for a better, more talented leage, I think we might consider the above. More OOC games...near the end...please?

Once and Future Zag
03-10-2010, 06:38 PM
But most on this board think "why raise expectations?" Nothing is broken that needs "Fixing" and we shouldn't change anything because we have nothing further to prove or achieve. Sad.

Not quite - nothing about raising expectations - but to drop any pretense of camaraderie with anyone outside the program. What I suggested would make us pariahs in the WCC, the west coast, and possibly all college hoops.

Us against the world, win or lose.

In a way there needs to be anti-expectations. Take nothing for granted, assume nothing... not the game you're playing, or the player you're defending. Not the conference we play in, or the struggles our players face.

alaskazagnut
03-10-2010, 07:39 PM
I guess I might be alone on this but its not enough to justget in the NCAA tourney anymore. We must begin the idea that we must see the sweet 16 as a minimum. We won't progress unless we aim higher nowadays. We're an accepted entity in the Dance now. Let's think more about advancing further...let's think higher.... DREAM of it and it'll happen with work.

I'd like to see more OOC games near season's end. Outside of going P 10 or something, it's about th eonly way to hone skills for better teams. We got beat a fw nights ago but that's unusual. We MUST do something different...if we're going to be different. Short of leaving for a better, more talented leage, I think we might consider the above. More OOC games...near the end...please?

+1

Nope you are not alone there. You may not want me on your side but, that is exactly why and how I believe we need to raise the bar across the board. Its crazy to think we will just stay the same by doing the same thing year in and year out. We have had several elements of luck coupled with a loyalty to Gonzaga's mission statement, and elements of hard work, discipline and all out intensity that have aligned together this last 10 years.

"Luck is not usually with the man who includes it in his plans". (unknown)

krozman
03-10-2010, 07:48 PM
You can really look at this situation really with the glass half empty or full. Gonzaga thrives on a strong non conference, whereas power conferences have the luxury (usually, see PAC 10 this year) of not worrying about RPI building games.

Gonzaga, as a result, gets really really good very early, but has the "potential" to play to the level of their opponents, sinking to mediocrity for 12 games.

I would bet you, that one of Mark Few's top pet peeves as a coach of Gonzaga Basketball is keeping the players motivated to improve against inferior competition.

I honestly don't mind. I love how intense it is for Gonzaga all year long. I bet you money that fans of teams like Kentucky don't even start paying attention until conference play. We pay attention ALL THE TIME. :p

alaskazagnut
03-10-2010, 07:53 PM
You can really look at this situation really with the glass half empty or closed. Gonzaga thrives on a strong non conference, whereas power conferences have the luxury (usually, see PAC 10 this year) of not worrying about RPI building games.

Gonzaga, as a result, gets really really good very early, but has the "potential" to play to the level of their opponents, sinking to mediocrity for 12 games.

I would bet you, that one of Mark Few's top pet peeves as a coach of Gonzaga Basketball is keeping the players motivated to improve against inferior competition.

I honestly don't mind. I love how intense it is for Gonzaga all year long. I bet you money that fans of teams like Kentucky don't even start paying attention until conference play. We pay attention ALL THE TIME. :p

+10 If I could.

WMS2GUBULLDOG
03-10-2010, 09:00 PM
I think we overate how good our OOC see schedule is. Also, the WCC talent wise does not hurt us, but not having a serious rival most years does. I think if we had more important games in conference gets us more prepared for the tourney.

We always peak in december than coast through our conf season. Opposite if we play in a power confr.

One solution with three words: MWC

alaskazagnut
03-10-2010, 09:07 PM
I think we overate how good our OOC see schedule is. Also, the WCC talent wise does not hurt us, but not having a serious rival most years does. I think if we had more important games in conference gets us more prepared for the tourney.

We always peak in december than coast through our conf season. Opposite if we play in a power confr.

One solution with three words: MWC

we usually beat. Hence a drop in RPI and SOS for our opponents.

Especially this year, our OOC sched was the top 25-30 SOS. But right now those teams have lost more than they have won. We weren't much better. 3 losses OCC. 3 losses in conference.

lothar98zag
03-11-2010, 01:21 PM
How to fix it?

Don't play to win in the WCC - play to destroy, demoralize, subjugate, and humiliate the other teams from day 1. Never call off the dogs, never dribble out the last possession. And if you're going to foul - foul so hard theres no chance of the ball coming anywhere near the rim for them to get an and-1.

No goals except to have a winning margin greater than the last game.
See GU women for example.

1 situation:
GU @Santa Clara (a horrible team)
Halftime: GU up 51-17 (2nd best Zag didn't play)

1st play - lay-up SCU
2nd play - TO GU
3rd play - SCU blocked
4th play - TO GU
5th - GU calls TO 48 seconds into the half

Lady Zags are up 32 with no chance to lose, but the team lacked the required focus and a TO was taken. The other side may have thought it was rude, but so what.



When Few starts calling TO's up 30+, you'll know somethings has changed.

75Zag
03-11-2010, 01:51 PM
Interesting to read the various arguments about whether GU is underachieving when they fail to advance at least to the Sweet 16. In other schools and other situations, the Administration and Deep-Pocket Alumni seem to make it quite clear to the coaching staff what is expected and the consequences of failing to achieve expectations. The Notre Dame football coach knew what he had to do in order to save his job and he failed to do it. Same with Ernie Kent at Oregon. I am probably naive when it comes to such matters, but is there any reason to believe that Few been given any sort of "Final Four or Out" ultimatum? Seems unlikely to me. Is that the sort of thing some of you are suggesting? Isn't that they way they do things at KY or Kansas or UCLA?? Seems inconsistent with my understanding of how things work at GU.

Go Bulldogs! Get Bigger!