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Thread: ESPN Mid-majors 2020-21 predictions (lots of Gonzaga discussion)

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    Default ESPN Mid-majors 2020-21 predictions (lots of Gonzaga discussion)

    https://www.espn.com/mens-college-ba...bels-win-title

    Mid-majors 2020-21 superlatives
    Player of the Year

    Medcalf: Isaiah Miller, UNC Greensboro
    Borzello: Corey Kispert, Gonzaga
    Gasaway: Marreon Jackson, Toledo
    Lunardi: Jalen Crutcher, Dayton

    Newcomer of the Year

    Medcalf: Jalen Suggs, Gonzaga
    Borzello: Jalen Suggs, Gonzaga
    Gasaway: Jalen Suggs, Gonzaga
    Lunardi: Jalen Suggs, Gonzaga

    Here's the Gonzaga chatter:

    The national consensus seems to be that Gonzaga is one of three programs -- Baylor and Villanova are the others -- that is a bankable and safe Final Four pick from our vantage point here in the preseason. Give us one reason the Zags can cut down the nets in Indianapolis in April, and tell us the one thing that worries you the most about their national title candidacy.


    Borzello: Put simply, Gonzaga can win it all because it has the players to do so. Corey Kispert is a preseason All-America-caliber player, Joel Ayayi is a bona fide scorer and Drew Timme should take a big step forward. And Jalen Suggs might be the best guard entering college basketball not named Cade Cunningham. Suggs is an elite, one-and-done lottery pick-type of player and can take the Bulldogs to the next level. The concern might be that we're putting a lot of stock into players stepping up based solely on the fact that coach Mark Few always sees players step up. What if some of the younger role players from last season don't take the anticipated step forward?

    Gasaway: The Bulldogs can win the national title because Few has created the equivalent of a perpetual motion machine on offense. Every season without fail, Gonzaga is one of the best 2-point shooting teams in the nation. Timme, Kispert and Ayayi will see to it that this streak is extended in 2021. What worries me most about the Zags' title chances, however, is that the defense took a step back last season. The Bulldogs blocked fewer shots and forced fewer misses in the paint once Brandon Clarke was no longer around.

    Lunardi: Gonzaga has built the perfect template for national championship contention. The Bulldogs schedule their way to an excellent seed on an annual basis, then hope to peak in March with the most favorable matchups possible. The formula worked in 2017, as the Zags were the best team in the country before losing a heartbreaker to North Carolina in the NCAA final. With No. 1 seeds in two of the past three tournaments -- and another on the way -- it's only a matter of time before Gonzaga returns to and wins the last game of the season. Injuries, bad luck and hot opponents are always a risk, but the Bulldogs are doing everything right to maximize their chances.

    Medcalf: Gonzaga can reach the Final Four because it has one of the five best coaches in the country and another impressive fleet of elite players. That was apparent again last season, when it felt as though Few might get his first national title, and then the pandemic arrived. The concern for 2020-21? How quickly Suggs will figure it all out after a pandemic-affected offseason. I think we've underestimated the impact this wild chapter could have on incoming freshmen throughout the country. In most years, there is a significant learning curve, even for the five-stars. That could be compounded by the unknowns and canceled games. Suggs is a phenomenal player who might not get a fair chance to mature and grow with his new team due to circumstances that are out of his control, and that could affect the team's chances to make a run.

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    Really nice article.. thanks!

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    Thanks for posting this scrooner. They make some great comments. I like the “one reason Zags can cut down the nets” and “one thing that worries you” format. My take on the experts’ respective worry:

    Borzello: Most legit worry of the bunch imo. I share his concern as to what happens if some of the young returning player(s) Zags are counting on don’t make anticipated step forward? Applies to several players: Timme, Watson, Zakharov, Arlauskas, Ballo. I think Zags need at least 2 of these 5 players to be major contributors in order to be a great team this year.

    Gasaway: Fairly points out Zags D took a step back last year without Clark and notes lack of rim protection specifically. I’m optimistic these Zags are more athletic, seasoned and guys like Watson, Zakharov, Ballo can shore up rim protection. Team D switches and communication tbd. Suggs and Ayayi and Cook all athletic guards with great size bodes well...Harris too!

    Lunardi: Doesn’t make a “one thing that worries you” comment. Big Zag fan generally

    Medcalf: Legit concern pandemic related complications everyone is dealing w including lack of gradual build up in competition (not his exact words) may stunt new players’ development, particularly Suggs as presumptive PG. Transition to D1 a challenging even for 5* players like Suggs. Great point: Aaron Cook an outstanding possible answer to any such scenario.
    It is their time....their team...I just get to watch. - Bartruff1

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    Quote Originally Posted by scrooner View Post
    https://www.espn.com/mens-college-ba...bels-win-title

    Mid-majors 2020-21 superlatives
    Player of the Year

    Medcalf: Isaiah Miller, UNC Greensboro
    Borzello: Corey Kispert, Gonzaga
    Gasaway: Marreon Jackson, Toledo
    Lunardi: Jalen Crutcher, Dayton

    Newcomer of the Year

    Medcalf: Jalen Suggs, Gonzaga
    Borzello: Jalen Suggs, Gonzaga
    Gasaway: Jalen Suggs, Gonzaga
    Lunardi: Jalen Suggs, Gonzaga

    Here's the Gonzaga chatter:

    The national consensus seems to be that Gonzaga is one of three programs -- Baylor and Villanova are the others -- that is a bankable and safe Final Four pick from our vantage point here in the preseason. Give us one reason the Zags can cut down the nets in Indianapolis in April, and tell us the one thing that worries you the most about their national title candidacy.


    Borzello: Put simply, Gonzaga can win it all because it has the players to do so. Corey Kispert is a preseason All-America-caliber player, Joel Ayayi is a bona fide scorer and Drew Timme should take a big step forward. And Jalen Suggs might be the best guard entering college basketball not named Cade Cunningham. Suggs is an elite, one-and-done lottery pick-type of player and can take the Bulldogs to the next level. The concern might be that we're putting a lot of stock into players stepping up based solely on the fact that coach Mark Few always sees players step up. What if some of the younger role players from last season don't take the anticipated step forward?

    Gasaway: The Bulldogs can win the national title because Few has created the equivalent of a perpetual motion machine on offense. Every season without fail, Gonzaga is one of the best 2-point shooting teams in the nation. Timme, Kispert and Ayayi will see to it that this streak is extended in 2021. What worries me most about the Zags' title chances, however, is that the defense took a step back last season. The Bulldogs blocked fewer shots and forced fewer misses in the paint once Brandon Clarke was no longer around.

    Lunardi: Gonzaga has built the perfect template for national championship contention. The Bulldogs schedule their way to an excellent seed on an annual basis, then hope to peak in March with the most favorable matchups possible. The formula worked in 2017, as the Zags were the best team in the country before losing a heartbreaker to North Carolina in the NCAA final. With No. 1 seeds in two of the past three tournaments -- and another on the way -- it's only a matter of time before Gonzaga returns to and wins the last game of the season. Injuries, bad luck and hot opponents are always a risk, but the Bulldogs are doing everything right to maximize their chances.

    Medcalf: Gonzaga can reach the Final Four because it has one of the five best coaches in the country and another impressive fleet of elite players. That was apparent again last season, when it felt as though Few might get his first national title, and then the pandemic arrived. The concern for 2020-21? How quickly Suggs will figure it all out after a pandemic-affected offseason. I think we've underestimated the impact this wild chapter could have on incoming freshmen throughout the country. In most years, there is a significant learning curve, even for the five-stars. That could be compounded by the unknowns and canceled games. Suggs is a phenomenal player who might not get a fair chance to mature and grow with his new team due to circumstances that are out of his control, and that could affect the team's chances to make a run.
    No one is anticipating Ballo’s defense. The Zags might be even more of a shock despite all the flattering discussion. I know that many are still thinking about the loss of Petrusev and will sleep on the post play for at least a couple of games into the season. How long will it take before the Zags are legit scary?
    Parlez-vous français?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mantua View Post
    No one is anticipating Ballo’s defense. The Zags might be even more of a shock despite all the flattering discussion. I know that many are still thinking about the loss of Petrusev and will sleep on the post play for at least a couple of games into the season. How long will it take before the Zags are legit scary?
    losing petrusev doesn't hurt nearly as much as losing tillie...zags didn't look great without him last year and unless watson or timme has really really improved their shot, the zags will be without a big who can shoot for the first time in a while. neither rui or bc were threats from deep, but rui had the best mid-range game since morrison, maybe better, and both those guys were freak athletes who could take guys in iso one on one situations. i'm confident timme can replace petrusev, but can watson replace tillie? to me, watson will decide the ceiling of this team probably more than even suggs, unless suggs truly blossoms into a superstar.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WallaWallaZag View Post
    losing petrusev doesn't hurt nearly as much as losing tillie...zags didn't look great without him last year and unless watson or timme has really really improved their shot, the zags will be without a big who can shoot for the first time in a while. neither rui or bc were threats from deep, but rui had the best mid-range game since morrison, maybe better, and both those guys were freak athletes who could take guys in iso one on one situations. i'm confident timme can replace petrusev, but can watson replace tillie? to me, watson will decide the ceiling of this team probably more than even suggs, unless suggs truly blossoms into a superstar.
    With Timme and Suggs on the court, broken ankles and athletic supporters will be seen in large quantities this season.

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