View Full Version : Are the Zags actually ahead of last year?

12-24-2010, 11:51 PM
Interesting take from Seattle Time columnist, Bud Withers


A year ago, Gonzaga won the Maui Invitational and the season seemed mostly about seeding for the NCAA tournament. But its marquee wins gradually became devalued, as Cincinnati, Illinois and Memphis all flopped off the NCAA bubble, giving Gonzaga a single nonleague victory (Wisconsin) over an NCAA team.

This Zags team might already be ahead of that pace, as Baylor appears a near-certainty to make it, and Marquette and Xavier will likely be in the hunt. In any case, the NCAA basketball committee always favors the risk-takers in scheduling.

That's Gonzaga, the one with the bloody nose, but still, a revived, realistic vision for March.

And he doesn't mention WSU which is knocking on the top 25 door.

Not sure I subscribe to the notion of quality losses, but as noted, the two quality wins may be more impressive than last years total already. That is provided of course Baylor does not fall off the map and Xavier and Marquette actually get on the map.

And we still have Oklahoma State and a weaker but still "name worthy" Wake Forest not to mention St. Marys a couple of times. I forgot about Memphis as well.

I still plan on being in Vegas for the tourney, but it would be a lot more fun watching knowing the Zags were playing for bragging rights, rather than dance tickets.

12-25-2010, 05:03 AM
I thought Wither's article is thought provoking. I think about the same thing a lot. Gonzaga definitely peaked early last year, and Matt's injuries really hurt the team by the end of the season.

I think that this year we're hoping for the opposite, that we'll peak at the end of the season. And I think most of us believe that there's a great chance that that could happen. We will definitely be better at the end of the year then at the beginning. I think that what analysts forget is that injuries have affected this team more than the scheduling. It is a brutal OOC schedule. No doubts! But if Harris had been at full strength, my bet is that we would have beaten San Diego St, and who knows about the others. His injury DID affect this team.

I think that more then hurting the team, the difficult OOC schedule helped the Zags more than it hurt it. The tough preseason schedule helped toughen the Zags up. If the goal of OOC games is to prepare a team for conference play, then I would have to say that the Zag's OOC schedule has accomplished that. If the Zags can get healthy and stay healthy the rest of the year then I say this becomes a better team than last year's team.

12-25-2010, 05:29 AM
freshman import Mathis Keita, who played a vital role and, as Few said, "kind of showed he needs to be playing more."

Time will tell, but this might be one of Few's classic understatements.

12-25-2010, 09:37 AM
Not sure why this one was moved. Food for thought...good article.

12-25-2010, 09:44 AM
Why would this post be moved? Where has it been moved to? I'm puzzled.

12-25-2010, 09:52 AM
Baylor should dance in March. Xavier and Marquette could dance. Zags must beat Ok State this Friday because the Pokes could dance. Wake is a "name" team in the ACC but a loss would hurt more than a win would help; gotta win that one. Memphis will dance and the Zags need to win that one.

12-25-2010, 10:17 AM
Jake...it was posted twice. This one stayed apparently.
Our kids cannot afford another OOC loss. SImple. As BZ says a WF win might not mean all that much but a loss would be VERY bad.

If we can escape this OOC with 10-5, it's a big comeback. It will get this team back on track I think. BUT we stilll have some deficiencies....TO's and defense for sure. Rebounding has gotten better. I wonder if Elias and Steven will return to consistent contributions. We need high caliber play from those two. We've had some pleasant surprises in the past two games but we do need the big guns to help out.
Of course , in 99 we didn't have designated "big guns" and we did better with those kids and anything to date so we'll see.

WCC play will be a lot harder. SMC is the one to beat IMO. PDX is very good as well. We sure could use the new imporbed Sacre with Harris as a force to get the heat off Sacre and do his own damage while Steven's outside shooting and defense keep everyone honest.

Whatta bench though!!

12-25-2010, 11:46 AM
I think I've probably said this before, but this rocky OOC schedule really is going to make the WCC results more meaningful. In the past the WCC tournament was somewhat inconsequential, because I always focused on the Dance (perhaps wrongly) and the Zags have had their tickets punched already. This year I won't be taking anything for granted and will be enjoying every conference win.

That said, if X, Baylor, and Marquette end up in the tourny is that enough to get us in if we lose a couple in conference? (For the sake of argument, the extra underlying assumption is that our current losses continue to be "good" ones). A potential blueprint for the Zags making it in were those bubble Arizona teams a couple of years ago that underperformed, but still made the NCAA's...

12-25-2010, 01:12 PM
Sorry about the double post of this. I'm not to sure what I did to cause it. I think I will have to blame the Captain and his friend Nog who were up late with me and Mrs. Santa last night.

Another way of looking at things is by RPI. The wins over Marquette and Baylor do not look overly impressive at all and with Xavier, though the Zags were the favorite, RPI wise, was barely an upset.

As mentioned the Wake Forest game is a no win game for Gonzaga. Nothing to gain and everything to lose.

Though I have little understanding of how RPI is derived other than what I read on the Wiki, it is interesting to see Portland's RPI at 32. I cannot see anything on thier schedule that merits this however on stats alone, it would suggest that the Pilots are at least, if not more importent, as the St. Marys games.

Tue, Nov 16 SDSU - 22
Mon, Nov 22 K. State -11
Tue, Nov 23 Marquette -133
Sat, Dec 04 Illinois - 40
Wed, Dec 08 WSU - 40
Sat, Dec 11 Notre Dame - 31
Sat, Dec 18 Baylor - 97
Wed, Dec 22 Xavier - 47
Fri, Dec 31 Ok. State - 45
Sun, Jan 02 Wake Forest - 232
Sat, Jan 08 Portland -32
Thu, Jan 27 St. Marys - 60
Thu, Feb 03 Portland -32
Sat, Feb 05 Memphis - 36
Sat, Feb 26 St. Marys - 60

With the Zags current RPI at 50, it should be a roller coaster down the stretch!

12-25-2010, 02:03 PM
Defense against Baylor and Xavier was very good. Granted, we need to play like that the rest of the season. Keita could be crucial to perimeter defense the rest of the year.

12-25-2010, 02:09 PM
The best thing about that story was my Husky-loving son's reaction when he opened his Seattle-Times and was greeted by a humongous photo o that "#$%^^^^!! Mark Few, lousy *&^%$'111 miserable piece of *&*^^!!"

Yes, ZN's family knows some differences of opinions relative to the Huskies and Zags. We survive and love one another anyway.

12-25-2010, 03:20 PM
Keita could be crucial to perimeter defense the rest of the year.

good call, and what a great TEAM development, too!


12-25-2010, 03:40 PM
Who'd a-thunk Wake would have been be a drag on the 'ol RPI?

Portland having a good RPI only helps. It's good to see. SMC will cream Mississippi State in a few days so hopefully that will help, too. Renardo Sidney has to be the headcase of the year, what a joke.

kyle dixon
12-25-2010, 08:09 PM
Got a give Sidney some credit. He kept it "in house". He only fought his roommate at MSU. Classic :)

12-25-2010, 09:16 PM
There is NO reason our BIG 3 cannot get back in this season. As I watched WSU and Butler, it occred to me that we have this killer talent but even after we get em healthy, we still need to forge a team .
It's not happened from the beginning of the year. Gobs of big kids and talent.
Rob's actaully working his ass off and doing quite well. Now we have to get the inside outside kids back in this game.
Elias....improving but very slowly.
Not sure who's the PG these days but we have a muliple choice season going on out there..none real bad.
I fear Manny has used his capital up. Just so unpredictable.

12-25-2010, 10:18 PM
And Baylor drops another game, this time to Florida State who has an RPI of 68. I would guess Baylors days in the top 25 are over.

12-26-2010, 02:59 PM
Dim, you can't be serious.........

I agree, to a point, that it doesn't Marques Haynes (or Curly Neal) to get it across half-court, but that isn't even half the responsibility of the PG in the ZAG offense. I'm not against giving Keita a try at the point, but I just don't see it working out, at all. He was a good perimeter defender against X but that was without any PG or other offensive responsibilities. He sure shouldn't take any minutes from Steven, when he's healthy, so maybe he gets some minutes at the 3 instead of Manny or Hoff. But at the point.............he actually puts more pressure on Steven to run the half court offense.

I just don't see it.


12-28-2010, 12:24 PM
it's something Keita is perfectly able to do, and do with just as much skill as Meech.

did you watch Keita play against Xavier? He stepped up big when called upon, but never as a PG. His ball handling lacked the fluidity necessary for a point guard, and i doubt his understanding of the offense is at a level that would enable him to outperform Meech at the 1.

12-28-2010, 02:33 PM
did you watch Keita play against Xavier? He stepped up big when called upon, but never as a PG. His ball handling lacked the fluidity necessary for a point guard, and i doubt his understanding of the offense is at a level that would enable him to outperform Meech at the 1.

bingo. stepped up big in replacd of gray and arop more than anyone. Love his upside...the rotation carosel has and will continue to be interesting...will only help come March. go zags