View Full Version : SI Likes the Zags

Martin Centre Mad Man
10-31-2018, 04:55 PM
Five out of six SI writers pick the Zags to make the Final Four. Three pick the Zags to win it all.


Martin Centre Mad Man
10-31-2018, 05:02 PM
Jeremy Woo: Gonzaga. Of the elite teams, the Zags have the most appealing mixture of experience, talent and continuity. This team went to the championship game two years ago (when most of its key players were underclassmen), endured a difficult upset loss in last seasonís Sweet 16, and could be on the precipice of a breakthrough. Any or all of Killian Tillie, Rui Hachimura and Zach Norvell could take major steps forward [Editor's note: Killie was announced Tuesday night to be out eight weeks with a stress fracture]. Transfer Brandon Clarke is a person of interest and will help replace the departed Johnathan Williams. A handful of talented underclassmen will to fill out the rotation. The key will likely be senior Josh Perkins, who has shown the talent, if not the consistency, to lead Gonzaga deep into March. Most of the other serious preseason contenders will have to mesh new parts together, and few of them return tested decision-makers in the backcourt. Mark Fewís teams have been inching closer to glory, and this feels like it could be the year.

Jake Fischer: Gonzaga. The Bulldogs are simply loaded, experienced, talented and loooong. Head coach Mark Few will have more than an ample opportunity to avenge the Zags' 2017 title loss with this year's group. Star-studded freshmen classes aside, it will be tough for any program to counter a stud senior point guard in Josh Perkins, a ridiculously athletic frontcourt tandem in Rui Hachimura and Killian Tillie and complementary outside threat Zach Norvellóon both sides of the floor.

But wait...thereís more!

Molly Geary: Gonzaga. I was pretty high on the Zags going into last March, and while it didnít quite pan out I think they're even better this year. Rui Hachimura appears poised to explode on the national scene and Zach Norvell could break out as well after averaging 12.7 points and shooting 37.0% from three as a freshman. The Bulldogs are flat-out efficient, with almost all of their notable returning players (a group that also includes Killian Tillie, Josh Perkins and Corey Kispert) having posted an offensive rating of at least 119.0, per kenpom.com. They have a senior point guard in Perkins and added a pair of underrated transfers in big man Brandon Clarke and guard Geno Crandall, the latter of whom shot 41.7% from three last year. And despite playing in the weaker WCC, Gonzaga will be plenty battle tested thanks to a non-conference slate that includes North Carolina (in Chapel Hill), Washington and Tennessee.