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Thread: The Final Four: Pre-Game Media Thread

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    Post The Final Four: Pre-Game Media Thread

    From the NCAA web site, Mike Lopresti does a nice job of touching all the bases from a human interest angle. Good, quick read:

    Videos also included at the link : http://www.ncaa.com/news/basketball-...nce-redemption

    It is a Final Four of successful coaches who have been finally made it up the ladder. Gonzaga’s Mark Few, South Carolina’s Frank Martin, Oregon’s Dana Altman all there for the first time, with legacies now more brightly lit than ever.

    Except Few said going to the Final Four is not what he envisions as a proper legacy, but pointed toward his father, the Presbyterian minister for 54 years.

    “He’s saved thousands of souls. He’s helped hundreds and thousands of people though all their tough times, and that’s the kind of legacy that I’m looking at. I’ve got a long ways to go to get to first base living up to that guy’s standard.”


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    Default John Blanchette: 5 Steps That Made GU a Final Four Program

    Link: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/201...ga-basketball/

    The castle

    Spitzer has his own story – how on a trip with Few to Salt Lake City to approach brothers Phil and Tom McCarthey for money to build up GU’s athletic endowment, the coach pressed him to float a new basketball arena instead. And that when the school had come up $2.3 million short of the 80 percent that had to be raised to start the $26 million project, Spitzer had to go back to the McCartheys – which he did, after the Zags’ 2003 NCAA Tournament loss to Arizona.

    Not that it was a surprise to the McCartheys.

    “They had intel from somebody,” Spitzer said back in 2009. “All they wanted to do was make me make the ask, but I’m sure they knew every penny I needed.”

    The 6,000-seat McCarthey Athletic Center opened for the 2004-05 season, and only once – against Montana that year – has attendance not been announced as a sellout.

    “It changed our program,” said Roth, “not just visually on TV or in the stands, but more importantly in the eyes of recruits. They no longer came into a gym and saw a gym.”

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    Final Four Attire Flying Off the Shelves : http://www.spokesman.com/stories/201...-out-at-campu/

    On Sunday, the Zag Shop at Gonzaga welcomed a shipment of more than 1,000 new shirts that celebrated the Zags going to the Final Four.

    On Monday, the new shirts were completely sold out.

    “It’s quiet now, but it’s been crazy,” one employee said Monday afternoon.

    Zag shop employees said during the first two hours of opening their doors Monday morning, the store was flooded with Zag fans wanting the shirt that commemorated Gonzaga’s historical achievement in the NCAA Tournament.

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    Dan Dickau interview.

    http://www.midmajormadness.com/2017/...final-four-nba

    CS: One more question before you go. What’s your prediction for this weekend? Are they cutting down the nets?
    DD: Yes they are! I don’t have plans to come back to Spokane until Tuesday when they’re National Champs. I’m going to be getting down there on Friday and I’m pretty excited about it.

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    Default Bud Withers was just on XM College Sports

    With Rick Neuheisel and Chris Childers. I had never heard Withers before, but he was amazing, they gave him 20 minutes of airtime and it was basically a North American infomercial for Gonzaga and Few, it was awesome. The publicity that the FF has garnered us is invaluable. Great interview!

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    Started a separate thread on some FF news before seeing this one ..... Here are a couple of links from it:

    "Gonzaga is a huge favorite to win the Final Four"
    http://www.businessinsider.com/gonza...al-four-2017-3

    And one from Philly ....
    Makes sense
    "Why you can put the NCAA Championship in the book now"
    http://nypost.com/2017/03/28/why-you...-the-book-now/

    I'm leery of reading about much that references anything past Saturday. My mind is on how the Zags will handle South Carolina. Sure hope the Zags are having fun week! Can't wait to see more TV news on the whole FF affair
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    From the Slipper Still Fits: http://www.slipperstillfits.com/2017...ut-the-hell-up

    Gonzaga may have played the No. 11 seed in the Elite Eight, but Xavier had to earn its way there by beating “better” teams. By picking such a generic argument and lobbying all your hatred behind it really detracts from the teams that Gonzaga has, and maybe will, beat.

    If Gonzaga lands in the NCAA Tournament title game by beating South Carolina, be my guest and lob your complaints. You can go ahead and tell Frank Martin and the rest of the Gamecocks they aren’t a good team. You can tell Chris Mack and the rest of the Musketeers they shouldn’t have been in the Elite 8. Hell, while you are at it, tell Huggy Bear and the Mountaineers they are a pile of garbage for merely being a No. 4 seed. Then report back to me with all your bruises.


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    Withers is our retired Seattle Media Mole who has been fantastic for the program from the beginning. If you haven't heard of him you absolutely owe it to yourself to read his new book, Glory Hounds. His blog is linked on here as well every time he makes a new post.

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    It is very hard for me to wrap my mind around why we'd be heavy favorites to win it all when UNC is out there.

    I suspect that part of it is others' (not us) disrespect for South Carolina, they feel like we have a fairly easy game to the Final, whereas they expect UNC and Oregon to be more of a 50-50 game. Therefore, if the "belief" is that the Zags WILL BE in the final and others "might be" - it makes us favorites. That's my best explanation.

    That and we're pretty damn good.
    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
    Mark Twain.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DixieZag View Post
    It is very hard for me to wrap my mind around why we'd be heavy favorites to win it all when UNC is out there.

    I suspect that part of it is others' (not us) disrespect for South Carolina, they feel like we have a fairly easy game to the Final, whereas they expect UNC and Oregon to be more of a 50-50 game. Therefore, if the "belief" is that the Zags WILL BE in the final and others "might be" - it makes us favorites. That's my best explanation.

    That and we're pretty damn good.
    Its because we are very very good, very balanced, have one of the best offense and the best defense in nation
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    Final Four Preview ....
    http://www.sbnation.com/a/2017-ncaa-...south-carolina

    What I 'like' about a lot of the stuff I'm reading on the Zags is what I don't read. In many of the pieces they mention this Zag and that Zag but they often do not mention Zags who have, and will be making a difference on Saturday. It may all lead up to many, especially those E of the Mississippi River, who are pretty darn surprised at how well GU can play and who they see on the floor. Even South Carolina could be caught off guard by Zag depth and defense - as well as offense. Guess it all depends on how the Zags play in Phoenix ..... April Madness? ..... I personally feel the Zags are on a roll and now also have a bit of a burden lifted by reaching the FF. Saturday can't come soon enough for me
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zagger View Post
    Final Four Preview ....
    http://www.sbnation.com/a/2017-ncaa-...south-carolina

    What I 'like' about a lot of the stuff I'm reading on the Zags is what I don't read. In many of the pieces they mention this Zag and that Zag but they often do not mention Zags who have, and will be making a difference on Saturday. It may all lead up to many, especially those E of the Mississippi River, who are pretty darn surprised at how well GU can play and who they see on the floor. Even South Carolina could be caught off guard by Zag depth and defense - as well as offense. Guess it all depends on how the Zags play in Phoenix ..... April Madness? ..... I personally feel the Zags are on a roll and now also have a bit of a burden lifted by reaching the FF. Saturday can't come soon enough for me
    I'm getting a case of the jaws over the plaudits given to SC for their #2 ranked defense in the country. No mention of the Zags defense, and how Xavier was shut DOWN in the second half, specifically being limited to SIX points in the final ten minutes of the game.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thespywhozaggedme View Post
    With Rick Neuheisel and Chris Childers. I had never heard Withers before, but he was amazing, they gave him 20 minutes of airtime and it was basically a North American infomercial for Gonzaga and Few, it was awesome. The publicity that the FF has garnered us is invaluable. Great interview!
    Bud is a good dude. He had a son run cross country @ GU, so he's a bit invested.
    Hey, did you happen to catch Judge Judy the other night?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zags_Fanatic View Post
    Withers is our retired Seattle Media Mole who has been fantastic for the program from the beginning. If you haven't heard of him you absolutely owe it to yourself to read his new book, Glory Hounds. His blog is linked on here as well every time he makes a new post.
    His first Zags book: BraveHearts is a must read also.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Zags_Fanatic View Post
    Withers is our retired Seattle Media Mole who has been fantastic for the program from the beginning. If you haven't heard of him you absolutely owe it to yourself to read his new book, Glory Hounds. His blog is linked on here as well every time he makes a new post.
    Bud Withers also wrote the original Zags history, "Bravehearts". Equally essential for all Zags fans. Withers is a treasure and I miss his writing for the Seattle Times all the more when I see his replacement Matt Calkins offer up junk basketball coverage like he did today.

    "Why Huskies fans should root for a Gonzaga-Oregon NCAA tournament final"
    http://www.seattletimes.com/sports/g...rnament-final/

    Go Zags!

    ZZ

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    Default The Most Important Match-Ups in Each Final Four Game

    From The Ringer: https://theringer.com/the-three-most...me-e88c881dc7a (Videos Embedded in Story )

    1. How will Gonzaga guard South Carolina’s perimeter stars?
    Frank Martin’s team is led by two perimeter players with imposing physical maturity in senior Sindarius Thornwell (6-foot-5, 211 pounds) and sophomore PJ Dozier (6-foot-6, 205 pounds). South Carolina is a defensive-minded team that counts on the one-on-one abilities of its best players to carry it on offense. Thornwell’s and Dozier’s length means they can create shots when the offense breaks down, and they have the passing ability to find the open man if a double-team comes.

    Gonzaga’s lack of length on the perimeter is its biggest weakness on defense. None of their four main guards — Nigel Williams-Goss, Jordan Mathews, Josh Perkins, and Silas Melson — is taller than 6-foot-4. The Bulldogs got around that problem against Xavier by putting Johnathan Williams, their hyper-athletic 6-foot-9 power forward, on the 6-foot-6 Trevon Bluiett, but the Musketeers started four perimeter players, which meant Gonzaga could cross-switch Williams on Bluiett without giving up size anywhere else. If Williams guards Thornwell, that leaves Perkins or Mathews at a disadvantage guarding one of South Carolina’s big men, not to mention Dozier still towering over whoever guards him.

    What Gonzaga coach Mark Few could do to minimize those matchups is pack the paint and dare the Gamecocks to shoot, since neither of their big men (sophomore Chris Silva and freshman Maik Kotsar) has made a 3-pointer this season, and Dozier is a 29.7 percent shooter from deep. In order to get more shooting on the floor, Martin often slides Thornwell (who boasts a 6-foot-9 wingspan) to power forward and brings in another guard (either senior Justin McKie or freshman Rakym Felder). Expect South Carolina to go small on Saturday to open up the floor against Gonzaga.



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    Default Nice feature article on Dustin Triano ( Gonzaga News Service )

    http://news.gonzaga.edu/2017/canadas...tball-team-win

    For Triano, the international experience at GU has revolved largely around teammates. This season, he is playing alongside athletes from Poland, France, Denmark, Japan and, of course, the United States.

    “Gonzaga has been doing this for so long that they really have it down,” he said. “They help you with all of the paperwork. Once you’re here, you feel welcome. Everyone’s included right away – you’re part of the team, part of the community.”

    Along with basketball, Gonzaga’s international players also get coaching on adjusting to the rigors of college-level course work and life in a small American city, as well as language help when needed.

    “They’re all unique individuals coming from different backgrounds with different goals, but when they first get here they’re also all wide-eyed 18-year-olds who have never been away from home,” said Steffany Galbraith, director of academic support services for GU athletics.

    “For someone … from western Canada, it’s much less of an adjustment to come to Spokane for college than it was for Przemek or Rui (Hachimura, a freshman on this year’s team who is from Japan),” Galbraith said. “Along with all of the other demands of coming here to play basketball, Przemek and Rui faced the challenges of a new culture and language.”


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    Quote Originally Posted by tinfoilzag View Post
    To be fair, the shoes add a half inch to the big guys.
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    Default ESPN Insider: Top 25 Players of the Final Four

    http://www.espn.com/mens-college-bas...ent-final-four

    Hoops writer John Gasaway ranked 'em in reverse order; the Zags rank & comments are excerpted below:

    #25 Silas Melson: Melson gives Mark Few an additional 3-point threat on the floor. The junior is also the Bulldogs' second-best shooter at the line behind Nigel Williams-Goss.

    #21 Josh Perkins: Perkins achieved fame in the Xavier game when his steal for what was sure to be a breakaway score was interrupted -- at least visually -- by a young woman who seconds before had been mopping that end of the floor. She beat a hasty retreat, and Perkins was able to complete his lay-in, though the hesitation caused by his momentary confusion did cost the sophomore what would have been his first official dunk.

    #17 Jordan Mathews: The hero of the Bulldogs' Sweet 16 game against West Virginia, Mathews hit a 3 with less than a minute remaining to provide what was ultimately the winning margin against the Mountaineers. Nor was that shot a blip, as the Cal transfer led the Zags in made 3-pointers this season. Also, I don't know if this is in the South Carolina scouting report, but Mathews was once on "Teletubbies."

    #15 Zach Collins: Understandably lost in the furor over Collins' inside-the-rim shot block against Northwestern was the fact that he had a great game: 14 points, including 6-of-8 shooting at the line. The freshman has been less consequential in his past two outings, and against Xavier he fouled out in just 13 minutes. That said, Collins will almost certainly be needed in the game or games that await the Bulldogs. He's an outstanding shot-blocker who this season has shot 68 percent on a relatively high volume of 2s.

    #10 Przemek Karnowski: As always, Karnowski is connecting about 60 percent of the time on his shots (all 2s) in the tournament. He and Mark Few might want to up the volume, however. The senior has scored 37 points across four games, and a Gonzaga offense that (uncharacteristically) has recorded just 1.03 points per possession in that span could use larger contributions from the big guy.

    #8 Nigel Williams-Goss: This has not been the best stretch of four games we've seen this season from Williams-Goss. The junior's missed 42 shots from the field in the tournament, and the West Virginia game in particular, were rough sledding for the WCC Player of the Year. Then again, Williams-Goss hit four 3s and scored 23 points in the Bulldogs' win over Xavier. On paper, this offense has a good deal of performance blue sky above it once its star point guard plays to the level he showed in the regular season.

    #4 Johnathan Williams: In the Bulldogs' breakthrough win against Xavier in the Elite Eight, Williams scored 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the floor. The junior could have easily hung up an even more impressive number if he had done better than 2-of-8 from the line. The 6-foot-9 Williams is shooting 63 percent on his 2s this season, he's a dependable presence for Mark Few on the defensive glass, and his work on the offensive boards has been even more impressive than "dependable" in the tournament. He was named the West region MOP.
    FWIW: Thornwell rates at the top of Gasaway's list. 5 Gamecocks, 5 Ducks, and 8 Tar Heels make up the rest of the 25


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    Final Four 2017: Ranking each team's projected starters, from No. 20 to No. 1
    http://www.cbssports.com/college-bas...no-20-to-no-1/
    by Matt Norlander

    They probably have these rankings close .... But, if you tossed in Collins, Melson and Tillie they'd be bumping some of these guys out of the top 20 (from other teams).
    Go Zags!

    Norlander has Perkins #18, Mathews #13, Williams #8, Mt. K #7 and NWG #4. Overall, ya gotta factor in the synergy + the bench + the coaches. I think that kicks up each guy 2-3 notches - at least.
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    Zagger, it looks like the writers are all drinking from the same well of inspiration, doesn't it ? Not much in the way of new angles to cull from the coverage so far. . .I'm looking forward to listening to the ESPN Podcast with the coaches when I get home from work.

    http://www.espn.com/espnradio/play?id=19022002
    Last edited by RenoZag; 03-28-2017 at 09:30 PM.


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    Quote Originally Posted by RenoZag View Post
    Zagger, it looks like the writers are all drinking from the same well of inspiration, doesn't it ? Not much in the way of new angles to cull from the coverage so far. . .I'm looking forward to listening to the ESPN Podcast linked above with the coaches when I get home from work.
    I'm home now too and will listen. Found another top 20 ranking by Yahoo Sports where ....
    Nigel #3, Karnowski #9, Williams #10, Mathews #13 & Perks #17.
    http://sports.yahoo.com/news/ranking...135112459.html
    Wonder how much thought is put into the D side on these rankings?
    Of the 4 F4 teams I've only watched the Zags and Oregon play this year. I did see a bit of the SC/Dook game. I wasn't overly impressed with SC's offense but their D was solid. The only thing I like about waiting until Saturday to see how things shake out is that the players sure get to have some quality time soaking up F4 fame. It's torture on the fans ;-)
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    Quote Originally Posted by RenoZag View Post
    From The Ringer: https://theringer.com/the-three-most...me-e88c881dc7a (Videos Embedded in Story )

    Gonzaga’s lack of length on the perimeter is its biggest weakness on defense. None of their four main guards — Nigel Williams-Goss, Jordan Mathews, Josh Perkins, and Silas Melson — is taller than 6-foot-4.
    So we're back to having small-guard issues again? That didn't last long.

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