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Zag-Coug
12-13-2011, 08:26 PM
Have read several threads on here lately where I have seen several people severely discontented with the team after these two recent losses. These things ultimately end up having a yin yang flow to the conversation:

"this team has talent and is underachieving" is met with
"this team is not the most talented we've had, Coach Few said so!"

"Coach Few's great but he's reached his ceiling, we've progressed as far as we are going to as a program" vs
"No one better than Coach Few is going to come to a place like Gonzaga. People have grown spoiled and don't appreciate 13 straight NCAAs & 11 conference titles etc."

"Hart sucks"
"We need 5 Harts!"

"Play the young guys more!"
"We need to stick with the vets"

"I want the Final Four"
"Me too, but it's not realistic"

And so it goes. I myself have been confused for a long time with what is wrong with our defensive scheme and have made several posts about our weak perimeter defense.

To get to the point, I'm curious as to what people feel is the next step for this program. It does feel as though it's been very static for the last couple of years; struggling to hold onto what's been built rather than continuing to build towards bigger and better things. I'll throw out a few questions to get the conversation rolling, and I'll give my take later on.

In the grand scheme, what does winning the WCC really mean?

Would you trade our consistently good "on the cusp of something great" teams for a more volatile model (ie Deeper tourney runs but also not winning the conference every year or even making the tourney every year)?

What does this program have to do to take the next step forward? (or are there no more rungs to climb realistically) And is the program capable of accomplishing that task (or do resources, location, facilities, etc. limit achievement)

Ekrub
12-13-2011, 08:58 PM
Being nationally relevant year after year is fine with me. Things were fun when the cougs kicked but in football but until this hiring of leach, it was a chore to watch them. Every zag game I watch I'm jacked for. NCs don't grow on trees, and coaches are lucky to ever win one. GUs time will come.

04ZagFan
12-13-2011, 11:01 PM
Would I trade a few WCC trophies for what Butler has done the last two seasons? Yes, absolutely.

You have the "we are a tiny WCC mid major in Spokane, WA, just be happy that we're relevant" group, which actually are extremely correct.... But my rebuttal has always been, "yes, but the talent on our teams have really underachieved several times over the last several years." Regular season stretches were we just lay an egg, which come back to haunt us on Selection Sunday. HAVE to cut out the bad losses if we ever want a chance at a Final Four. Seeding and matchups are everything.

Subway Sub of the Game
12-14-2011, 12:24 AM
It seems strange to me that people aren't at least satisfied with how the last 13 seasons have ended. The program has done the near impossible of repeat success in the regular season. You might say that they've caught lightning in a bottle so far.

I can understand being upset about NCAA tournament performance. When a team like Butler or VCU and wonder why this team can't have the same success. I think that this is a year, if GU comes out of the conference with what we as fans take for granted, a WCC title/championship, they will have faced pretty much anything that anyone could throw at them and be ready for most match-ups.

bartruff1
12-14-2011, 04:18 AM
This is it....he has been rebuilding and winning for 3 years...if we can keep getting to the tourney, we might get hot....I am 100% satisfied...and grateful and more important enjoying the opportunity to see every minute of every game.... and if I wasn't , I would do something else...

bigblahla
12-14-2011, 05:54 AM
Would I trade a few WCC trophies for what Butler has done the last two seasons? Yes, absolutely.

You have the "we are a tiny WCC mid major in Spokane, WA, just be happy that we're relevant" group, which actually are extremely correct.... But my rebuttal has always been, "yes, but the talent on our teams have really underachieved several times over the last several years." Regular season stretches were we just lay an egg, which come back to haunt us on Selection Sunday. HAVE to cut out the bad losses if we ever want a chance at a Final Four. Seeding and matchups are everything.

Is it possible that you may have misjudged the talent? Sometimes I wonder if my Zaggy brethren understand that every opponent we face wants to win the game just as bad as we do.

Your quote "seeding and match-ups are everything" says it all in the Dance for our Zags. Our talent will never match that of the truly elite college teams.

Because I hold the WCC conference regular season title as the grail doesn't mean I don't want more for the Zags it means I understand how high the mountain is and how slippery the slope.

It would not be out of the question to say that over the last decade we have had not less than 3 final four potential squads derailed by seeding and match-ups. The committee has never really done GU any favors when it comes to seeding and match-ups. The bottom line is still you have to play and win to move on.

Not wanting to offend anyone but I find it laughable when I read about March at this point of the season and how to some that's all that seems to matter.

There are 8 teams in the WCC that want to end the streak it is a big deal to them.

As far as the next step well for Coach, staff and team that's the next game only fans have the luxury of looking ahead to the future.

For me the next step is beating ORU.

Just my opinion.

Go!! Zags!!!

Hoopaholic
12-14-2011, 06:23 AM
yesterday is gone and cannot be changed

tommorrow may not come so dont get your panties all tied up in a knot over the future

TODAY you control and can have an impact.....

That is how I watch, love and enjoy my zags.......how are they doing today and this season

Play well, win the games we are capable of winning, develop as an individual and team, work on continued improvement both internally and as a team, focus in on WCC and birth into the NCAA then let the chips fall where they may come March

Zagcity
12-14-2011, 06:50 AM
yesterday is gone and cannot be changed

tommorrow may not come so dont get your panties all tied up in a knot over the future

TODAY you control and can have an impact.....

That is how I watch, love and enjoy my zags.......how are they doing today and this season

Play well, win the games we are capable of winning, develop as an individual and team, work on continued improvement both internally and as a team, focus in on WCC and birth into the NCAA then let the chips fall where they may come March

Ditto :)

cjm720
12-14-2011, 07:14 AM
Is it possible that you may have misjudged the talent? Sometimes I wonder if my Zaggy brethren understand that every opponent we face wants to win the game just as bad as we do.

I think this is at the heart of the board's discontent. We all devoutly follow are Zags and wish and hope for the best and over the course of the LONG offseason many of us build the team up to something they're not. Sure there's a ton of talent, but we lost two instrumental players (yes, Meech was instrumental) and currently play two frosh and two RS walkon players.

What I do know is Few has a record that speaks for itself. You don't win championships in December either.

hooter73
12-14-2011, 07:14 AM
The WCC has always been weak, harsh but true, and we usually win it easily thus the record trips to the Tourney and the national recognition. The WCC is not as weak as it used to be but our teams have been stale or plateaued for a few years now. If we do not motivate the players to play up to their talent level then winning in the rising WCC may not be a given anymore and the recruiting falls off (which i think has already happened) and it all begins to crumble. I want to see the player development of old. That development and growth will continue our runs and give us the chance to see where the chips lay in March.

Zag Man
12-14-2011, 07:20 AM
Would I trade a few WCC trophies for what Butler has done the last two seasons? Yes, absolutely.



Watching Butler play the last two years makes me realize that the Zags could be at that same level if we had the defensive and offensive tenacity that those teams have shown. Butler played like a small school wanting to prove itself against the “big boys” and they did it was grit and determination. Gonzaga had a lot of that in the early years with less talented individual players than we have now. I kind of miss that fire and desire in our players! We are not Kentucky and North Carolina that recruits high-profile players and sends them off to the pros after a year or two. Gonzaga is built on the maturity of the players having been in the system for 4 or 4+ years who win because they want to win and know how to win. I keep hoping we’ll see that in this year’s team and with our players. Unfortunately, I see a bunch of guys running around being careless with the ball and afraid to take the shot and being responsible for what happens – win or lose. Sorry if I’m being critical……I really don’t like to do that.

zag67
12-14-2011, 07:43 AM
First like some have said earlier, I love watching every game. How many schools are on TV almost every game they play? That means that the PROGRAM has done a great job of getting to the highest level and has been there consistantly.

Second, would you rather have a team ranked in the top 10 and do what Xavier did last week? I appreciate what we have, and yes I would like to see them in a final 4, but that is only one set of games. I think that some people on this board would give a final four to be like Xavier or to get there once and then take 10 years to get to the tournament. I will take getting to the tournament with GREAT kids who are super in the community. If you watch some of the trips they make to hospitals and the like, you have to be exicted to know what we have.

Yes, Butler did make a run the last 2 years, but we have made a run to the tournament and we get the excitement of watching great games almost every year. I enjoy what we have and compared to what we had back in the 60s, this is fantastic. Enjoy the journey each year. THIS IS NOT OUR JOBS.

I do not always agree with coach Few, but I do believe that he is doing a great job with the teams we have. We have not always retained or got the players that the coaching staff has wanted. Also not all of the recruits turned out how we wanted. When you are a Duke or one of those they bring in 5 or more players at the levels that we have and in many cases they also make mistakes. THe difference is that they only need to hit 2 out of 5 and they still are on top. I love to get upset, but it is like someone said earlier, I do not do any messages the day after a tough loss. I wait to calm down. This team will be better than many think. Will they make the promised land? Hopefully. But I am going to enjoy every game like it is the last that they are going to put on TV. How many UW games do they get a year compared to us? How about other major programs? We, as fans not in Spokane, get to see so many more games than fans of other teams. GU is a national program. Maybe not in the top 5 or 10, but the top 10 to 20.

GoZags
12-14-2011, 08:21 AM
Would I trade a few WCC trophies for what Butler has done the last two seasons? Yes, absolutely.

You have the "we are a tiny WCC mid major in Spokane, WA, just be happy that we're relevant" group, which actually are extremely correct.... But my rebuttal has always been, "yes, but the talent on our teams have really underachieved several times over the last several years." Regular season stretches were we just lay an egg, which come back to haunt us on Selection Sunday. HAVE to cut out the bad losses if we ever want a chance at a Final Four. Seeding and matchups are everything.

This is interesting. I saw another "interesting" post from OZN the other day saying something to the effect that this year's team has 2 future NBA players on it so they should make it to the Final Four (or something to that effect).

What?

Again -- the total number of Top 25 Recruiting Classes that Gonzaga has had per Scout.com is zero. The total number of Top 25 Recruiting Classes that Gonzaga has had per Rivals.com is 1 (one).

Yet only Duke, Michigan State, Kansas, Michigan State, UConn, UCLA and Arizona have reached the Sweet 16 (or beyond) more often than Gonzaga has since GU's tourney run began in '99.

GU is competing for the Final Four with schools that have 2, 3, 4, 5 (or more) future NBA players. GU is competing for the Final Four with schools that have Hall of Fame coaches. GU is also competing with other smaller schools that can have the right combination of talent, coaching, breaks and tourney draw come together. That's part of the game.

The ceiling for Gonzaga Basketball remains incredibly high and I'm hopeful that this group of guys can take Gonzaga to unprecedented heights.

But saying the Zags have underachieved based on "talent" is absolutely ludicrous in my opinion.

04ZagFan
12-14-2011, 09:26 AM
This is interesting. I saw another "interesting" post from OZN the other day saying something to the effect that this year's team has 2 future NBA players on it so they should make it to the Final Four (or something to that effect).

What?

Again -- the total number of Top 25 Recruiting Classes that Gonzaga has had per Scout.com is zero. The total number of Top 25 Recruiting Classes that Gonzaga has had per Rivals.com is 1 (one).

Yet only Duke, Michigan State, Kansas, Michigan State, UConn, UCLA and Arizona have reached the Sweet 16 (or beyond) more often than Gonzaga has since GU's tourney run began in '99.

GU is competing for the Final Four with schools that have 2, 3, 4, 5 (or more) future NBA players. GU is competing for the Final Four with schools that have Hall of Fame coaches. GU is also competing with other smaller schools that can have the right combination of talent, coaching, breaks and tourney draw come together. That's part of the game.

The ceiling for Gonzaga Basketball remains incredibly high and I'm hopeful that this group of guys can take Gonzaga to unprecedented heights.

But saying the Zags have underachieved based on "talent" is absolutely ludicrous in my opinion.

I'm not necessarily saying that some of our teams have underachieved only because they didn't make a final four....

Look at some of the terrible losses the 08 team had, that ruined our chance at a good seed, thus running into UNC (and getting embarrassed by them) in the sweet 16... Underachieved.

The 1st and 2nd round losses... The blowouts... We are better than that. You watch a team for around 30 games, and you know their potential by the end... I don't see anything wrong with expecting that the potential is maximized. We can sit here and make excuses, and talk about "we aren't Duke or UNC" all we want, I for one and not satisfied with underachieving.

cjm720
12-14-2011, 09:35 AM
04ZagFan,

I think you're missing the point: WE ARE OVERACHIEVING

ESPN rankings (often times overranked for TV scheduling, IMO) and (most of) our big heads inflate our expectations for the team.

CaliforniaZaggin'
12-14-2011, 09:41 AM
Get hot again at the right time in March. Use that success to get more juice on the recruiting trail and schedule more home-and-home games with marquee programs, like we did with Michigan State.

04ZagFan
12-14-2011, 09:45 AM
04ZagFan,

I think you're missing the point: WE ARE OVERACHIEVING

ESPN rankings (often times overranked for TV scheduling, IMO) and (most of) our big heads inflate our expectations for the team.

Disagree

The PROGRAM as a whole has overachieved.... But our teams have not. I agree with you that we are often overrated and expectations are inflated... That's fine when explaining why we haven't made a final four.. But I'm not talking about underachieving just because we don't have a final four, or another elite eight.. I'm talking about watching every game from the past several years, including allll of the NCAA tournament games, and noticing that there is a lack of consistency, that has lead to underachieving in MY personal opinion. We've shown signs of being damn good just about every year, but we can't seem to maximize potential.

Baldwinzag
12-14-2011, 09:49 AM
I kinda feel everyone is missing the point, save Hoopaholic.

We ARE in the midst of the 'next step' -- its the present. Not in the past, nor the future, this is it.

ZagNative
12-14-2011, 12:01 PM
yesterday is gone and cannot be changed

tommorrow may not come so dont get your panties all tied up in a knot over the future

TODAY you control and can have an impact.....

That is how I watch, love and enjoy my zags.......how are they doing today and this season

Play well, win the games we are capable of winning, develop as an individual and team, work on continued improvement both internally and as a team, focus in on WCC and birth into the NCAA then let the chips fall where they may come MarchMy philosophy in a nutshell!

maynard g krebs
12-14-2011, 01:00 PM
that has lead to underachieving in MY personal opinion.

GU is 16-14 in the NCAA tournament. The 16 wins ranks 51st all time. They have been achieved in the past 13 tournaments. The NCAA has held the tournament since 1939.

A few other schools' records, most of which have been achieved over a much longer time span:

Brigham Young 14-29
Xavier 19-22
Cal19-16 (nat champs 1959)
Wisconsin 23-16 (nat champs 1941)
UW 18-17
Creighton 9-17
Missouri 22-24

It is hard to win games in the NCAA tournament. Everybody is good, and everybody is trying to win.

When forming subjective opinions, facts and context are helpful.

04ZagFan
12-14-2011, 01:06 PM
GU is 16-14 in the NCAA tournament. The 16 wins ranks 51st all time. They have been achieved in the past 13 tournaments. The NCAA has held the tournament since 1939.

A few other schools' records, most of which have been achieved over a much longer time span:

Brigham Young 14-29
Xavier 19-22
Cal19-16 (nat champs 1959)
Wisconsin 23-16 (nat champs 1941)
UW 18-17
Creighton 9-17
Missouri 22-24

It is hard to win games in the NCAA tournament. Everybody is good, and everybody is trying to win.

When forming subjective opinions, facts and context are helpful.


People, People, People...

How many damn times do I have to say that the PROGRAM AS A WHOLE HAS OVERACHIEVED?!?!?!?!?

That doesn't take into account the talented teams, and really GOOD teams we've had that didn't live up to expectations. I believe we've had several teams that underachieved in both the regular and post seasons...

Of course when you take out any of the specifics, you have little Gonzaga University in the WCC from Spokane going to the NCAA tournament 13 years in a row, and winning some games there...

So you think the 2001-2002 team overachieved? NO. This is what I'm saying. Remove the name on the chest for a second. Forget that we are a mid major from Spokane in the WCC for a second.. That ROSTER with those PLAYERS underachieved... This is just one example. This is my point. You can't say "oh well, at least we made the tournament! This program is lucky to even make the tournament!" No, that's BS. Coach Few has worked his ass off building this program up into National Relevance.. Sorry, once you are there, once you have that respect, and once you get the talent, you no longer can play the "Well look at who we are" card. That's a weak excuse for losing.

bartruff1
12-14-2011, 01:09 PM
You are absolutely right...you don't have to say it anymore..

cjm720
12-14-2011, 01:21 PM
04, it's almost like you're preaching to a University of Kansas board. :)

Our national relevance is relative. Again, we're no Duke. I belive it was GoZags who provided that All-Americans that went to Duke and GU since our run began: Duke 29, Zags 0.

We're relevant because we're the little school that could and continues to do so AND ESPN has graciously carried many of our games. We're the darling school that everyone likes to root for, one that has continuously improved its basketball venue, recruiting, our transportation, all of which has pushed up the academic reputation of the university.

Yet even with all of that, we're lucky to get a top 100 kid to visit on campus. Why? It's the WCC. So, our conference has not only helped to allow us the fortune of success and tournament showings but also has also held us back. But that's not slowing Few and Co. down. We're on the right path to a Final Four, but like life it's all about timing...ours is coming.

04ZagFan
12-14-2011, 01:44 PM
You are absolutely right...you don't have to say it anymore..

I wouldn't have to if people would stop replying to my post with the SAME. FLAWED. ARGUMENT. Time after time.

I'm done explaining myself. We should all be happy just to MAKE the NCAA tournament. Forget the fact that we've lost several games we should have won, including one of the biggest choke jobs in NCAA history... All irrelevant because we are, as a program, overachieving. Way to strive for the best, people. Way to demand the best from players and coaches.

maynard g krebs
12-14-2011, 02:08 PM
People, People, People...

How many damn times do I have to say that the PROGRAM AS A WHOLE HAS OVERACHIEVED?!?!?!?!?

So you think the 2001-2002 team overachieved? NO. This is what I'm saying. Remove the name on the chest for a second. Forget that we are a mid major from Spokane in the WCC for a second.. That ROSTER with those PLAYERS underachieved...

You might want to reconsider who has the flawed argument. That team went 29 and 3 before the NCAA's, with one senior (Dickau), one jr (Gourde) and a bunch of sophs and fr. The roster included such greats as walkon Kyle Bankhead, Winston Brooks, Germayne Forbes, Alex Hernandez, Anthony Reason, and Jay Sherrell.

One possible 4 star recruit (Stepp) in the bunch. Dickau was close out of hs, but most considered him too small and unathletic to be a force at the high major level. Gourde and Violette had no high major offers that I know of, and Turiaf was really raw as a fr.

That roster had no business going 29-3. One of the greatest examples of OVERACHIEVING (I can shout too) that I've seen in close to 5 decades of watching cbb.

They were brutally underseeded in Albuquerque, and had to play an underseeded Wyoming team, which had the altitude advantage. And all the locals were rooting for the MWC team, plus other out of town fans rooting for the underdog. I spent a few days in Alb. before the game and played pickup at the local Y. I was in pretty good shape, but was gassed after 10 min. That Zagteam had little depth, and I knew before the game they'd need a big lead going into the last few minutes because of oxygen depletion.

Saying a team underachieved because of one game, with all the above factors, after a brilliant 32 game season, really proves my point. Thanks for helping out.

maynard g krebs
12-14-2011, 02:15 PM
I wouldn't have to if people would stop replying to my post with the SAME. FLAWED. ARGUMENT. Time after time.

I'm done explaining myself. We should all be happy just to MAKE the NCAA tournament. Forget the fact that we've lost several games we should have won, including one of the biggest choke jobs in NCAA history...

And you obviously forget that the Zags have won more that they should have lost. It's the tournament. Everybody is good. Upsets happen.

I agree about Texas Tech being a choke. But that's it. I call UCLA a screwjob by the refs. One in 14 tourneys. You cherrypick your data, as opposed to evaluating the big picture.

That's it. I'm done.

zag944
12-14-2011, 03:21 PM
Its a 65 team single elimination tournament. All of the teams that go to it year after year underachieve sometimes, based on what the season has led us to believe.

This isnt a Gonzaga thing, its an everyone thing.

zag67
12-14-2011, 03:30 PM
Maynard well stated. All the teams (especially after the first round) are good and depending on your starting position, winning is lucky. WE have lost some that I thought we should have one. We have won some really close games and then against some of the top seeds we have not done so well. But then look at all of the data we have to mull over until the next year.:)

Zag-Coug
12-14-2011, 08:34 PM
Thanks for the responses so far.

To answer my own questions:

No I don't really feel like winning the WCC means much in the grand scheme. Any more than winning the MVC or the MEAC or the Big West, etc. I think our goals need to be loftier if we intend to turn the corner as a program and take the next step.

No I wouldn't trade our results for a more volatile model. I think we've seen plenty of teams have a really great year capped with an electric run in the tourney. Butler, VCU, George Mason, Davidson, the list goes one. However, the overwhelming majority of these schools return to mediocrity once their time in the bright lights is over. I think some people have come to overlook how difficult it is to field a competitive team every single year. I mean for all of their nationally ranked recruiting classes, even North Carolina has missed the tourney recently. How Mark Few has managed to field a winner every year is an accomplishment to marvel at.

I'm not exactly sure what this program has to do to take the next step. I truly appreciate how far we've come as a program, and how difficult it is to be good year in and year out. But it also feels like something has been missing in recent years. It feels like the program has lost its momentum and instead is just fighting hard to maintain its place in the pecking order. I have had a sour taste in my mouth following our tourney exit for probably 7 of the last 8 years. Usually after I step back and take a deep breath, I find I'm not upset that we lost, or who we lost to, it's the manner in which we lost that drives me crazy.

Zag-Coug
12-14-2011, 08:51 PM
Also, a few observations on points others have made.

I don't think that we are necessarily in the midst of the "next step" as it were. At least if you're referring to the next step forward as I intentioned the question. Our run could be very well coming to a close. Unlikely to be sure, but it's a certainty when the day will come that we're not conference champs at the end of the year. I don't know, but it just feels like something's missing, that's keeping us from taking the next step forward. I can't tell you what that is or if it's something big (conference change? new facilities needed? new coach?) or something small (tweak the scheduling? hire a new assistant? just 1 recruit away?). But I don't think that I'm the only person that gets this feeling from time to time.

Seeding and matchups play their part in the tourney, but I don't think they're as big a deal as some make them out to be. Fact of the matter is you have to beat good teams to go far. Nobody matches up well with the top seeds. You can make all the excuses in the world, but the fact of the matter is, we just weren't up to the task or beating Wyoming that day. If a team like that is going to give you trouble, then chances are you weren't ever going to make noise in the first place.

Now, hopefully me bringing any of this up, I will have anti-jinxed the team into playing great for the rest of the year :p. Love the team and program and always will, Go Zags!