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U Zig, I Zag
01-06-2011, 01:46 PM
Total speculation and probably unreliable to the nth degree... but still, fun to argue about.
http://kenpom.com/blog/index.php/weblog/pre-conference_preview_blowout_part_1/
WCC is very bottom:


17. WCC

St. Mary's 6099

Gonzaga 3655
Portland 234
Santa Clara 11
Loyola Marymount 1

I’m not going to say I believe SMC should be the favorite to win the league, but pre-season hype aside, the Gaels have looked very good. Had this coin flip gone the other way, a lot more people would be considering their chances to end Gonzaga’s eight-year streak of winning the WCC outright.



*realize that isn't *twice* as likely... but it sounds better for a topic.

BobZag
01-06-2011, 02:18 PM
Michigan State finishing 4th. Ouchee.

sonuvazag
01-06-2011, 02:26 PM
Loyola Marymount 1

So you're saying there's a chance.

d2zag
01-06-2011, 02:31 PM
Haven't we won the WCC for 10 years straight outright, hopefully an 11th this year? Honest mistake maybe, but when you make an error like that, that's kind of a shot to your credibility.

Zag4Hire
01-06-2011, 02:32 PM
30. WAC

Utah St. 9052
Boise St. 901
New Mexico St. 32
Nevada 12
Idaho 2
Fresno St. 0
I have to admit that Iíve been thinking Boise State had a legit chance to steal the top seed in the WAC. Utah State has looked sluggish in winning its two WAC home games to start conference play. But apparently, itís a little early for Bronco fans to dream big.



That would be a great start for Rice if he were able to pull that off.

BobZag
01-06-2011, 02:44 PM
Haven't we won the WCC for 10 years straight outright, hopefully an 11th this year? Honest mistake maybe, but when you make an error like that, that's kind of a shot to your credibility.

Pepp tied the Zags in 2002, I believe. Dickau's senior year if I recall.

U Zig, I Zag
01-06-2011, 02:48 PM
Michigan State finishing 4th. Ouchee.

Mich St is in the WCC now? Between them and BYU it's RPI-city, baby!

It's clear though that this is based on the fact that we have lost 5 times to teams that most the WCC would lose to every single time and beat a few teams that most WCC teams to would lose every single time to.

SMC's efficiency against lesser opponents is showing up in this, I would imagine.

CaliforniaZaggin'
01-06-2011, 02:52 PM
Miss Cleo likes Pepperdine for the regular season crown and the conference tourney. ;)

MDABE80
01-06-2011, 03:35 PM
This is why we play defense. We learn it. If we coach it, we have the horses to play hard hard defense. This will save it for us. It's about the ONLY thng that'll save the crown for us!
Their offense is better than ours ( 7 offensive categories, they're better than us).
I know I harp on defense..this is where and why it matters! Go Zags!

zag buddy
01-06-2011, 04:37 PM
It will be interesting to see what the odds makers have to say.

Chicken Ball
01-06-2011, 04:40 PM
Kenpom's ratings adjust for opponents' strength.

bullzag23
01-06-2011, 05:11 PM
Kenpom's ratings adjust for opponents' strength.

Yes but keep in mind teams have barely started conference play. Once those teams from 1-bid conferences start playing each other their opponents schedules won't look nearly as good. Many of these smaller teams play games against larger(and often better) schools to make money by playing one time true road games, inflating their early season SOS and RPI numbers. Once they start their annual conference pillow fights those numbers will regress.

sullyzag66
01-06-2011, 05:31 PM
Take a look at SMC against LMU on ESPNU now. They're very efficient. They're tops in the WCC in scoring (83.9 ppg) and FG percentage (50.6). Right now, they're raining three's--even Jones has one. I think they've only missed two or three FGs. They're up 30-17 on LMU with about 11 minutes left in the first half.

bigblahla
01-06-2011, 06:44 PM
Honestly, I think St. Mary's will probably win the WCC this year.

Really Mal? Seriously?

I think the Gaels are currently a better TEAM but we can punish them in the paint.

We need to pressure the Gaels for 40 minutes up close and personal and the natural laws of selection will prevail if not then they just might shoot the lights out.

With that being said I honestly think the Zags will prevail and win the WCC for the 11th year in a row.

Just my opinion.

Go!! Zags!!!

john montana
01-06-2011, 06:58 PM
Smc is very good. Other than gu I don't see a wcc team that can neat them. Going to be tough to win number 11. We better show up for every game!

Ezag
01-06-2011, 07:14 PM
I have no doubt we're the better team. Gray, Harris and Keita are as good as any SMC guards and we will rule the paint.

MJ777
01-06-2011, 07:58 PM
I have no doubt we're the better team. Gray, Harris and Keita are as good as any SMC guards and we will rule the paint.

I would say Zags have better athletes, but SMC has a better team at this time. Doesn't mean they will beat GU once or twice, but they could.

Nevtelen
01-06-2011, 09:53 PM
I'm kinda with Mal. I think it's maybe 60-40 SMC takes it. The reasons are two-fold. First, while I can see us beating SMC once for sure (in Spokane), beating them in Moraga will be extremely tough. Even so, SMC is just efficient and they don't beat themselves. I'm not sure they'll stumble on their way through the WCC. I don't think any other WCC teams can beat them besides us, though maybe UP has some chance. OTOH, I think there's a pretty good chance we'll cough it up 20 times or so one night and Rob'll get into foul trouble and we'll lose to some team we really have no business losing to like @ SCU or something. It happens most years at least once.

SMCs biggest issues, it seems like, are defense (sure, they scored a ton on LMU, but they gave up a fair amount of points too and had pretty average D - it would probably be worse vs a team with a major inside presence), rebounding (they don't have great rebounders inside), and their short rotation (their starters are going to be a little worn out towards the end of the season).

One thing's for sure - it'll be an interesting race to the finish this season, anyway.

EuroZag2010
01-06-2011, 10:37 PM
It would really make my year if the zags go undefeated, can they do yet most likely, will they ? Probably not, if they do it will send a message that we r still the top dog and let BYU know what's up! Let's go zags !!! I have faith !!

mgadfly
01-06-2011, 10:47 PM
The size difference will be interesting. Our effective height is #2 nationally while they are 138th (or something).

Of course they are one of the best three point shooting teams in the country, and we are one of the worst at defending the three, so that will probably more than cancel out our height.

ronh_pm
01-07-2011, 12:04 AM
I dunno. Of teams I have ever even heard of before, St. Marys has beat St. Johns (who have a nice win over Georgetown) and lost to BYU and got killed by SDSU.

If anyone else has even a passing idea of the status of the other programs they have played before LMU tonight they are a bigger fan than me by a longshot.

In games that Vegas even put a line on SMC has been favored by over 8 points (and as much as 20) in the last seven games. In games where they were a dog or less than 2 point spread they lost.

I'm sorry, they are just not playing anyone. Twice as likely? Not at the beginning of the season and especially not now.

WallaWallaZag
01-07-2011, 03:06 AM
SDSU just physically dominated the Gaels in a sell out at home and only really pulled away in the last 5-6minutes(Gaels pulled it back to a 4pt game), and they lost to BYU by 1 after Jimmer hits a 3pt with less then 10 seconds to go.

Compared to some of the Zags loses thats not to bad(no way near as bad as the the performance against WSU)

For now its a neck and neck race to me and I have a feeling the conference champion won't be decided till the very last Sat game before Vegas in Moraga

the sdsu game was a major revenge game for the aztecs as they got blown out by over 20 at moraga last season...i've got to believe that game was more important to them than even the game against us.

MickMick
01-07-2011, 03:55 AM
the sdsu game was a major revenge game for the aztecs as they got blown out by over 20 at moraga last season...i've got to believe that game was more important to them than even the game against us.

Didn't you read all of the San Diego press links about their early season "statement game"?

I do not believe, for one second, that SDSU exerted any less energy or emotion against GU than they did against SMC.

Did you even watch the game?

Just asking, because you apparently didn't see what I saw. SDSU was absolutely fired up for GU.

titopoet
01-07-2011, 05:41 AM
Honestly, I think St. Mary's will probably win the WCC this year. They just do a much better job at getting points within their offense, and they've got deadly 3 point shooters. They are a much different team than last year, but they have looked really good up to this point.

Zags still have a fighting chance, but they really need somebody to make a big in season jump in production. There's candidates on the team, but most of them are still struggling to be consistent role players.

I can understand what you are saying. The question I have if SMC has only face one good frontcourt all year (SDSU) and got mashed up front. (Interestingly enough they hit 50% 3s, the length and power of SDSU really got them) then how will they beat GU two out three times to win the league.

They will have trouble with GU length and depth on the frontcourt. If SMC is going to beat GU, they are going to have Tim Williams, Kenton Walker II and Mitch Young come up big and just neutralize GU's frontcourt. I don't see it. The truth is your asking those guys to stop bigger stronger and more athletic guys in the paint. More likely, those guys get into foul trouble trying to slow down Sacre, Harris, KO, and Dower.

My contention is if GU continues to build on the power game they starting playing in the last seven games, they should have no trouble winning the WCC, SMC will rack up victories as, again, no other team in the WCC has a Frontcourt like GUs, but push comes to shove, SMC can only beat GU from the outside, as they will be pushed and shoved out of the lane too much.

bigblahla
01-07-2011, 06:58 AM
I can understand what you are saying. The question I have if SMC has only face one good frontcourt all year (SDSU) and got mashed up front. (Interestingly enough they hit 50% 3s, the length and power of SDSU really got them) then how will they beat GU two out three times to win the league.

They will have trouble with GU length and depth on the frontcourt. If SMC is going to beat GU, they are going to have Tim Williams, Kenton Walker II and Mitch Young come up big and just neutralize GU's frontcourt. I don't see it. The truth is your asking those guys to stop bigger stronger and more athletic guys in the paint. More likely, those guys get into foul trouble trying to slow down Sacre, Harris, KO, and Dower.

My contention is if GU continues to build on the power game they starting playing in the last seven games, they should have no trouble winning the WCC, SMC will rack up victories as, again, no other team in the WCC has a Frontcourt like GUs, but push comes to shove, SMC can only beat GU from the outside, as they will be pushed and shoved out of the lane too much.

Spot on, +1.

Go!! Zags!!!

john montana
01-07-2011, 07:02 AM
I am with Nev...I think the odds favor SMC to win the league, primarily because they don't beat themselves. Historically, GU drops a stinker in league somewhere and it could cost us this. It should be close.

ronh_pm
01-07-2011, 07:26 AM
SDSU just physically dominated the Gaels in a sell out at home and only really pulled away in the last 5-6minutes(Gaels pulled it back to a 4pt game), and they lost to BYU by 1 after Jimmer hits a 3pt with less then 10 seconds to go.


The last time this was a 4 point game was with 5:47 to go in the first. SDSU led by a minimum of 9 points, and for all but 30 seconds, double digits for the entire 2nd half.

Obviously they deserve credit for the BYU win but if you were to show someone the line from that game without showing them the score and then asked them who win, I bet 9-10 people pick BYU. Unless they look at the free throws where the Gaels went 19-25 while BYU was 13-19.

SMC will certainly not be walkovers and in the categories the Zags have troubles with, they excelled shooting 11-20 threes while only turning the ball over 9 times against LMU.

I suspect they will be neck and neck with Gonazaga but an almost 2-1 favorite sounds to me like they have to sweep Gonzaga and I just cant see that happening. I cant even see them sweeping Portland.

NovaZag
01-07-2011, 07:33 AM
My question is- for a team that is so reliant upon three point shooting- what happens when the shots aren't falling? Can they grind out some wins with gritty D? Can they throw it in to a reliable post player?

I'm not saying they can't beat GU on any given night, but will they be able to consistently shoot the ball good enough to win the league.

kyle dixon
01-07-2011, 08:11 AM
Watched the SMC-LMU game last night and was very impressed with the court spacing on the offensive end of the Gaels. It seems like SMC plays with three point guards at all times (Holt, Delladova and McConnell). They shoot the ball well, so the Zags will need to get out on them.

It is amazing how well Patty Mills was, but McConnell plays more in the system and sets his guys up better and takes better shots, etc. Rob Jones is a load on both ends of the floor and the bigs for them are crafty.

Zags need to protect the home court this weekend and beat the Pilots first. Hoping to see an energized crowd tomorrow night at K2...

U Zig, I Zag
01-07-2011, 08:11 AM
about the SMC/LMU game last night:

LMU is terrible.

It was one on one and bad shots all night for LMU. They looked like an AAU team thrown together 2 hours before the game.

SMC looked good and looked effecient but they fell into the trap of playing the LMU way and just had better players and go through it with ease. There were a couple plays where LMU completely broke down. Jones went baseline for a jam and it wasn't a setup, it was just a full on failure on LMU's part.

Gonzaga will avoid total failures like that.

Despite the throttling SMC gave LMU I was encouraged (to GU's benefit) by what I saw. The GU team of the last few games could beat SMC and by the time we actually meet up we should be playing even better.

77Zag
01-07-2011, 08:23 AM
Gayles are very good side for sure and will be formidable in WCC...
However, if we had switched OOC schedule with the Moraga boys, how would all this have played out?

Can't see that SMC would be holding the same record as the Zags, can you?

EuroZag2010
01-07-2011, 08:43 AM
gayles...hahah...:cheers:

77Zag
01-07-2011, 08:47 AM
Back at ya Euro...

:cheers:

FlyZag
01-07-2011, 09:20 AM
Yes, we have an advantage in the frontcourt... BUT the Gael guards are SO good, you have to extend the defense past the 3pt line. That opens up the dribble drive, which likely will create fouls on our big men. Which in turn neutralizes our advantage.

I hate to say it... but from what I've seen from the Gaels I think they are a superior team. I know they have played an inferior schedule so their numbers are skewed a bit... however, look at our numbers against lesser teams. We still turn it over a TON against crap teams. So their numbers against crap teams > our numbers against crap teams. just saying.

Also, they have FAR superior guard play. MM and the caveman Delavadova are incredible talents. Consistent, consistent play. And the Freshman Holt isn't bad either. They all can shoot and they all can give the assist + they don't turn it over. That is an equation for success. We constantly hear how important good guard play is in college basketball and how it relates to success. Can't argue that. I would say that Gray is somewhat comparable to their guards... but Gray is too hot and cold... to inconsistent. He is a better athlete and likely plays better defense but that's it. He doesn't shoot better and doesn't pass better than the St. Mary's guards. We all have our opinions of Meech so I'll leave that alone.

The bottom line (IN MY OPINION) is that Gonzaga, if anybody, has shown how good guard play can lead to success (Stocton, Santangelo, Dickau, Stepp, Raivio... etc.). I see in St. Mary's a team in the mold of the early Zag teams. Smart players that don't beat themselves. Good fundamental basketball. I think they will give the Zags fits this year. It will be a neck and neck race likely splitting on each others home floor. Winner decided in Vegas.

hondo
01-07-2011, 09:31 AM
The old adage is that college basketball is a guards game. Over the years I have become a believer.

CDC84
01-07-2011, 09:41 AM
If you have good defensive guards, you can extend to the 3 point line and still not get exploited off the bounce. It's not as though McConnell and Dellavedova have a first step like Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker. Goodson and Gray just have to step it up in a major way defensively. Easier said than done, but still possible.

The Gaels are going to past the eye test in a huge way against inferior opponents because they are such an efficient offensive team and shoot the three pointer so well. If you don't have it together as a team, they are going to make you look really, really bad. The 2010/11 Zags are not as pretty of a team. Doesn't mean they are inferior.

77Zag
01-07-2011, 10:06 AM
Samhan carried the scoring last year for the Gayles vs Zags

MM laid a goose egg at the Kennel
Giecoman was held to 11 at the Kennel

Matt was great, but didn't do all the defending.

DixieZag
01-07-2011, 10:17 AM
Fascinating thread! Great insight in lots of places. In a hat tip to Coach Greene, "The Gaels are who we thought they are!" - they are very very reminiscent of the great Zag teams in the early 00's, led by savy - but undersized/speed - guards who can shoot and pass. There may not be a better skilled team in the country. Again, a lot like the great Zag teams of the past.

Those great Zag teams were vulnerable to the "BCS" type schools that were bigger and more athletic, they would push us out of our normal spacing, contest every shot, rebound hard and get the Zags in foul trouble.

It seems to me that this years Zags are playing the role of the big, physical, fast team against SMC. The question in everyone's mind is are we good enough to beat a team like SMC that will not beat themselves. It is an open question going into tomorrow night, where the Zags will play a very similar type of team (one that has a higher RPI) in Portland. There is no question in my mind that if we had played SMC on December 10, they would have given us fits and beat us. We have gotten a lot better since then, better than most people realize, I think.

Our BEST player coming into the year was Elias Harris, he was not even relevant in most of our early games. I think a lot depends upon whether he continues to improve, if he does, I think the edge tilts toward us. SMC has no answer for Rob, none. But for Rob to be his most effective, he needs a powerful sidekick to dish to.

It is a given that if we do not commit to guarding the three (either against PDX or SMC) we cannot win, but lately we have shown improvement and we have the players to do it. Lastly, I think our guys have to want it more than either SMC/UP.

Tough to want it more after winning 10 straight, but I think our bad start has put a little moxy into the guys, clearly they were embarrassed and I think they are starting to show some real fire. Conversely, listening to SMC fans on their board, there is a huge sense of entitlement and an assumption that they are the best team in the conference. Tough to argue with that right now, but it would be bad if their team had that attitude. We will know a lot more after tomorrow.

MickMick
01-07-2011, 10:34 AM
Which Harris will show up?

The good one will abuse them. Sacre has been getting into the habit of showing up every game.

In the "Bold Predictions" thread started before the first game of the season:

One of my predictions was that Keita would give McConnell defensive fits at least once this year. At the time, many thought Keita wouldn't see the court much if at all.

DixieZag
01-07-2011, 10:46 AM
If Keita can do as you say Mick Mick, he will have earned his scholarship and you are a very savy BB eye. Who will he match up against tomorrow against UP? I really think that Portland is right there with SMC, in style of play at least, we cannot overlook them. If we beat Portland convincingly, SMC and others will have to start examining themselves in how to offset our size, strength, length and speed.

titopoet
01-07-2011, 11:57 AM
Yes, we have an advantage in the frontcourt... BUT the Gael guards are SO good, you have to extend the defense past the 3pt line. That opens up the dribble drive, which likely will create fouls on our big men. Which in turn neutralizes our advantage.


I love Mickey, but driving past Meech consistently is not his game. (Bennett knows that and I doubt he will be calling McConell to drive past Meech.) Also, Gray on Delly is advantage Gray. Same if you put a rapidly healing Harris on Jones. Then the question is how will Young match up with Sacre. Not well. SMC, ironically, will have to try to push the pace. I can see Gu winning in a fast pace game, I cannot see SMC winning in a grinder game. SMC has a better chance by running their shooters off screens to get them open, rather than a drive dish style of play. GU has gotten better at handling screens as of late.

maynard g krebs
01-07-2011, 05:34 PM
Also, they have FAR superior guard play.

The bottom line (IN MY OPINION) is that Gonzaga, if anybody, has shown how good guard play can lead to success (Stocton, Santangelo, Dickau, Stepp, Raivio... etc.). I see in St. Mary's a team in the mold of the early Zag teams. Smart players that don't beat themselves. Good fundamental basketball. I think they will give the Zags fits this year. It will be a neck and neck race likely splitting on each others home floor. Winner decided in Vegas.

Agree. The two teams look really close overall, but when in doubt, guard play is the most important overall factor in CBB.

I don't know how Kenpom arrives at the odds numbers, but looking at the relative #'s from other conferences, he has SMC and GU closer than the 1 and 2 from any other conference -probably odds are equal between a regular season tie and SMC winning the league by a game.

willandi
01-07-2011, 07:08 PM
Not quite to the point, but I would like to see Sports Gurus, whether ESPN or independant, have their feet held to the fire.
If the Zags win 2 of 3 or all 3 from SMC, KenPom should have serious challenges to his credentials. IMHO if you make a claim like SMC is 2x more likely to win the WCC than the Zags, and it doesn't happen, the person making the claim has serious credibility issues, and should not be given the platform he has. To those that say that the WCC forecast is just an aside, if he is not to be held accountable, he shouldn't waste his breath.
If he is proven right, good for him.

WallaWallaZag
01-07-2011, 08:25 PM
Didn't you read all of the San Diego press links about their early season "statement game"?

I do not believe, for one second, that SDSU exerted any less energy or emotion against GU than they did against SMC.

Did you even watch the game?

Just asking, because you apparently didn't see what I saw. SDSU was absolutely fired up for GU.

mick...of course sdsu was fired up to play the zags and of course i watched the game...however i also watched their game against smc...did you? and i wasn't suggesting that sdsu played any harder against smc, but that anyone who thought the zag game was more important to them was discounting sdsu's budding rivalry with smc. if you watched interviews with sdsu's players the smc game definitely seemed more personal. the zags game was big because we are a national name and it was their chance to put their name on the map, but the smc game was personal. they talked about the beatdown and smacktalk that samhan put on them and that it was time for payback.

i kind of think of it this way...what if saint mary's had a choice to play and beat duke or beat the zags...beating duke would get a lot more national play but i'm guessing the gaels would probably get more personal satisfaction beating the zags. not sure this is the best hypothetical but i think you get my point...the smc game was every bit as big for sdsu and they were playing in front of a sold-out home crowd...sdsu is also more athletic than we are.

LynetteG
01-07-2011, 08:30 PM
So you're saying there's a chance.

Thanks for the laugh Sonuva!

mgadfly
01-07-2011, 10:07 PM
Not quite to the point, but I would like to see Sports Gurus, whether ESPN or independant, have their feet held to the fire.
If the Zags win 2 of 3 or all 3 from SMC, KenPom should have serious challenges to his credentials. IMHO if you make a claim like SMC is 2x more likely to win the WCC than the Zags, and it doesn't happen, the person making the claim has serious credibility issues, and should not be given the platform he has. To those that say that the WCC forecast is just an aside, if he is not to be held accountable, he shouldn't waste his breath.
If he is proven right, good for him.

It is just an algorithm. Based on results so far he has SMC winning the league after running 10,000 simulations. First off it isn't like he has the Zags with no chance. Second, repeatedly over the years he has said that Mark Few's style breaks his algorithm. Third, I imagine if you plugged in the last 7 games instead of some of those stinkers from early in the season, the math would suggest a closer call. Fourth, he is still giving GU a 37% chance of winning the league while giving Portland a 2% chance as the third place team. Fifth, he wrote this about it, "I’m not going to say I believe SMC should be the favorite to win the league, but pre-season hype aside, the Gaels have looked very good." So, like you appear to be, he is a little suspicious of his own algorithm.