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Thread: Is Gonzaga tough?

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    Default Is Gonzaga tough?

    Was reading a tweet where someone said Zags aren’t tough. Got me wondering, are the Zags tough? Will reserve my thoughts for now. What are your thoughts?
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    Too busy not compensating lack of skill with hapless aggression? I dunno, it's something to say to criticize when you dont have a real reason. Mental toughness is very important, and the way we play seems tougher than the dreams of most other teams.....so I guess I would ask what they mean by tough.
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    Quote Originally Posted by krozman View Post
    Too busy not compensating lack of skill with hapless aggression? I dunno, it's something to say to criticize when you dont have a real reason. Mental toughness is very important, and the way we play seems tougher than the dreams of most other teams.....so I guess I would ask what they mean by tough.
    Good question and very valid. Dude was a Duke fan but was referencing big 10 toughness which I am guessing to mean hard banging down low
    "And Morrison? He did what All-Americans do. He shot daggers in the daylight and stole a win." - Steve Kelley (Seattle Times)

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    No doubt the Zags are tough. But I think of them as more of a finesse team. A team that has lots of smarts and doesn't rely upon "banging", etc. Although guards like Ayayi do their share of banging the boards. Yes, they are tough and disciplined.

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    Quote Originally Posted by katman50 View Post
    No doubt the Zags are tough. But I think of them as more of a finesse team. A team that has lots of smarts and doesn't rely upon "banging", etc. Although guards like Ayayi do their share of banging the boards. Yes, they are tough and disciplined.
    Like the old days when they said not athletic enough. Now we’re not tough enough. My two cents... Zags are plenty tough. They run and gun especially of rebounds so often that they negate the banging slog down low
    "And Morrison? He did what All-Americans do. He shot daggers in the daylight and stole a win." - Steve Kelley (Seattle Times)

    "Gonzaga is a special place, with special people!" - Dan Dickau #21

    Foo me once shame on you, Foo me twice shame on me.

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    i gave my opinions on this in another post,
    To me tough means mostly mental. A tough team is time tested and equals winning 70-80% of the games where the score is basically tied in the last 3 minutes of the game. it is crucible of not making mistakes and turning the ball over, not choking on those crucial free throws, coming up with the big shot when the whole game is on the line, having that go to guy that performs in that situation.
    Last year's team was super Tough. So many games were within 4 points coming into the last 3 minutes and we won all of them. The last game where BYU outplayed us was not an example of toughness on the part of BYU or us because we weren't close in the final stretch.
    There is no better way to get tough than to win those close ones cuz when you get in them in the Dance you have experience grinding it out under extreme pressure.
    By that definition we are probably not very tough. If we go through the Dance winning by double digits every game including the National Championship we will never know.
    Can you imagine what a money maker it would be for the NCAA champs to play the cellar dwellar in the NBA every year. Maybe it would be a Bobby Riggs vs Billy Jean King type of situation but I think the TV gate would be HUGE. We might find out how tough we are by playing Minnesota or Detroit this year.
    But most likely we will have two or three close games in the Dance and we will be at a toughness disadvantage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by katman50 View Post
    No doubt the Zags are tough. But I think of them as more of a finesse team. A team that has lots of smarts and doesn't rely upon "banging", etc. Although guards like Ayayi do their share of banging the boards. Yes, they are tough and disciplined.
    I think if you polled Bill Self, Huggy Bear, Tony Bennett, and the Iowa coach (McCaffery?), they'd be unanimous in saying the Zags are a physically tough team, in addition to their athleticism.

    Drew Timme can hold his own, and excel, with any conference in the land. Then there's Jalen Suggs, Minnesota's Mr. Football.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LongIslandZagFan View Post
    Good question and very valid. Dude was a Duke fan but was referencing big 10 toughness which I am guessing to mean hard banging down low
    if this is how the person is defining "toughness" then i would say it would be accurate...this is the least tall and/or beefy frontline the zags have run out in a while...timme watson kispert are the primary 4/5 guys...that's pretty small in recent zag history. by this definition, the 2016-17 zags would be really "tough" in comparison.

    actually, upon further review, the rui and bc frontline was pretty small, but those two were two of the best athletes gonzaga has ever produced...

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    Tougher than a truck stop steak

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    Gonzaga played Seton Hall in the first round of the 2016 NCAA tournament.

    Seton Hall fans bragged on their boards that their players grew up on the tough inner city streets of New Jersey and the Zags players were soft. They predicted that the Zags would be intimidated and not be able to stand up to the tougher New Jersey players.

    They also said Big East basketball was much more physical and a WCC team could not stand up to that toughness.

    Within the first few minutes it was obvious this was all BS. Sabonis was in beast mode and physically dominated the Seton Hall players with 21 points and 16 rebounds. Final Score:Gonzage 68 Seton Hall 52.

    After the game Few said he kept hearing about east coast toughness before the game, but people watching the game learned about Lithuanian toughness.

    Now some Duke fan is saying the Zags aren't tough?

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    Quote Originally Posted by WallaWallaZag View Post
    if this is how the person is defining "toughness" then i would say it would be accurate...this is the least tall and/or beefy frontline the zags have run out in a while...timme watson kispert are the primary 4/5 guys...that's pretty small in recent zag history. by this definition, the 2016-17 zags would be really "tough" in comparison.

    actually, upon further review, the rui and bc frontline was pretty small, but those two were two of the best athletes gonzaga has ever produced...
    As someone else pointed out here recently (and I'm doing this from memory, so bear with me), that 1963 UCLA team led by Gail Goodrich must have been about the least tough National Champions ever. As I remember, they didn't have a player over 6' 6"
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    Not tough? Right. Like that Jalen Suggs fella. No grit there at all. Sheesh. The crap some people dream up.

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    Nah, we're not as tough as Duke. Just imagine how tough it is for a top recruit to go to a national power, lose 8 games, not be ranked, and have your coach want to cancel the season. Zag players haven't known tough for years.
    Duke? Now that's a tough team this year.

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    Are we tough enough?

    Yes.


    Are teams that think that they are going to out-muscle us in the paint going to be quick enough to stop us from doing whatever we want to do?

    No.
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    Nigel Williams Goss was extremely strong with the ball in his hands and you saw how far he took us. Then you saw Texas Tech get hand slappy with Perkins and Norvell and you saw where that got us.

    Ball handlers MUST be strong with the ball because the refs are going to swallow the whistle a little more often in post season.

    In a way, this is the most favorable GU squad for post season since Goss:

    1) There are more competent ball handlers on this team than any GU squad I can remember. This roster is very deep with the skill of pure ball handling. If any given player is stinking up the joint by allowing the opponent to speed him up, at least Few has other options to replace him with until the guy can get settled down on the sidelines.

    2) The converse should be asked. Are the opposing back courts tough enough to withstand the steals, rebounds, and 50/50 ball collection of Ayayi and Suggs? Really...for the first time ever, I think the opposite of the common narrative is true. It is the OTHER backcourts that will need to cope with GU's defense. It isn't rocket science why GU's 2 point FG percentage is historically high. Their defense is forcing turnovers and the high percentage points in the paint are coming in transition (Going to acknowledge how great Timme is at finishing around the rim, in transition or not, here)

    3) Having made the first two bullet points, I will acknowledge that I don't think there is any single player on this team that is as strong with the ball as Nigel Williams Goss (he had an "old school Big East" flavor about him), but this current Zag team is collectively stronger with the ball, as a group, than any team in GU history. They have a high assist/turnover ratio on offense and their defense is fantastic at forcing extra possessions in every way imaginable.

    4) I am mesmerized by Nembhard's game lately. I am starting to think that he could carry this team, in spurts. Maybe not all of the time, but I have very high confidence in this young man to carry water at crunch time and I'm talking about being smart with the ball and being situationally aware. I just think he is a mentally tough player. I definitely want him on the court when the chips are down.

    The "tough enough" question, finally, must be asked of the other teams.
    Last edited by MickMick; 02-22-2021 at 08:44 PM.
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    No....they are skilled.....that might be enough....or not....

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    Perhaps one way to define toughness is how a particular team handles a big run from an opponent in games. This team has shown consistent ability to respond to deficits and runs like none I can remember. Further every Gonzaga team faces an opponent every single game trying to upset the 900 lb gorilla called Gonzaga. They play their hardest, most physical and desperate against the Zags. I would say to deal with that onslaught like this team has shows toughness top to bottom. Yeah, this team is.. "Tough". Iowa, Virginia, W. Virginia, N. Western twice. Case closed.
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    LIZ superior question. After watching a lot of ball last weekend and tonight watching OK St and Texas Tech.....those guys are aggressive and physically tough. I don't think we've been in a game like those guys played. I still think Beard's group should have been arrested the way they played us but the refs let it go two years back. But it's the same style now as then. OK St has some bruisers who are relentless. I cannot tell if we fit at that level of toughness.
    Mentally we're better but we've not really played a team who was our equal, sprouted a lead and we had to come back to dominate the play or regain the lead. Almost we get a good lead early and we don't have to recover.

    It's a great question though. For me, not a good answer. Boards? We only have Drew and I don't think he'll be enough against bigger teams who are there to dominate. Guards have rebounded well though. Ballo hasn't panned out ( I thought he would be much better at this stage) and Zak hasn't played much so I'm just not certain how we'd be doing against the bruisers.
    I'm fine with our guards They'd beat anybody and they now play very tough defense.

    I hope we win the title. I think we can. As with always though, the match ups always matter. If we get a bruising group who play hard defense, Im nervous. If we roll through like we did the first several games, I think we'll be tough enough....tough enough to win.

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    " I still think Beard's group should have been arrested the way they played us but the refs let it go two years back." (Abe)

    Those refs should have lost their jobs for that joke of a game. We were mauled all night and the refs allowed it. Is that what "Tough" means?
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrizZAG View Post
    " I still think Beard's group should have been arrested the way they played us but the refs let it go two years back." (Abe)

    Those refs should have lost their jobs for that joke of a game. We were mauled all night and the refs allowed it. Is that what "Tough" means?

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    Default Lazy observation

    Absurd. First of all, in case the critics have not noticed it, GU is now higher than Baylor is in defensive efficiency at kenpom.com

    https://kenpom.com/index.php?s=RankAdjDE

    4th in the nation. Toughness if often associated with defense, and GU has gotten better and better at it throughout the season. Few knows the offense will always be there, so he's been hammering on these kids to defend.

    Suggs is about as tough of a player as there is in college basketball. He shakes off minor injuries just like the football player he once was.

    Is Joel soft? He has the best nose for the basketball in college basketball. That is toughness. Kispert? He has massively improved defensively in his 4 years at GU. There have been a few times when Timme got pushed around, but after a halftime discussion, he came back out breathing fire. Cook is an outstanding on ball defender and defines toughness. Nemby is hardly a player who you can push around.

    It's a lazy analysis, and one based on the perception of some of Gonzaga's previous teams. I keep saying the same things. Gonzaga lacks a legit rim protector, and as a result, sometimes Timme has too much responsibility. It's too bad that Ballo got hurt because in slowed down his development. The Zags aren't the greatest 3 point shooting team on earth, but they have the best shooter in college basketball, and are still #2 in the nation in offensive efficiency. The one team that is ahead of them, Iowa, doesn't know how to play defense.

    No team is perfect, but saying that Gonzaga lacks toughness is such a lazy analysis. Did the writer say why? It has to be based on their perception of previous Bulldog teams, or the fact that Gonzaga is blasting most teams they play. The WCC? Or maybe because they have played in very few close games. I think some of GU's previous teams with great records were focused primarily on offense. Maybe some of those teams could've been given that tag, but times have changed. Few has been to the national title game. He knows that just being a soft and skilled offensive team is not enough.

    The person who made this observation hasn't seen Gonzaga play that much this year. We have even seen quotes from Casey Calvary about this team's mental toughness, and he might be the toughest Zag the program has had. If you are in the top 5 in BOTH defensive and offensive efficiency, any competent basketball coach will tell you that such a team is tough. Or at least tough enough to win the title. Just because Gonzaga runs such beautiful offense this year, it doesn't make them a finesse team. Did this person watch the West Virginia and Virginia games? If you don't play tough against them, you'll lose.

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    Quote Originally Posted by B Wayne View Post
    Gonzaga played Seton Hall in the first round of the 2016 NCAA tournament.

    Seton Hall fans bragged on their boards that their players grew up on the tough inner city streets of New Jersey and the Zags players were soft. They predicted that the Zags would be intimidated and not be able to stand up to the tougher New Jersey players.

    They also said Big East basketball was much more physical and a WCC team could not stand up to that toughness.

    Within the first few minutes it was obvious this was all BS. Sabonis was in beast mode and physically dominated the Seton Hall players with 21 points and 16 rebounds. Final Score:Gonzage 68 Seton Hall 52.

    After the game Few said he kept hearing about east coast toughness before the game, but people watching the game learned about Lithuanian toughness.

    Now some Duke fan is saying the Zags aren't tough?

    The Seton Hall players were also using oxygen masks on the sidelines during timeouts and rest breaks. Even their best player was gassed out. They were not tough enough to deal with the high altitude of Denver. Gonzaga played like a team that was used to playing in the Mountain West conference, but at a higher level. They were an eleven seed that year. If they had played soft, they would've been sent home.

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    This team has shown remarkable physical and mental endurance all season long. Those deflections, steals, and 50/50 rebounds come from hustle and mental alertness. They don’t lose focus. They don’t back down from contact.

    This team will almost certainly face a Texas Tech type team in this year’s tournament. They will probably face more than one of those teams. I actually believe that this group is better equipped to fight through those opponents than some of our teams that were more reliant on our bigger front court players. This is the fastest Gonzaga team ever. This is the best collection of ball handlers and the best collection of passers that Gonzaga has ever assembled. They can beat those defenses with aggressive cuts and well-timed passes.

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    Of course they aren't tough! They don't play in a football confrence or play on the east coast.
    1. If Zag's win in the non confrence they only win because teams didn't have a chance to practice
    2. If Zag's win by ten in confrence they can't be that good.
    3. If Zag's beat you in (Maui) a tournament, it was a game that ment nothing.
    4. If Zag's beat you in March it should have never happened because Gonzaga was given a high seed that they didn't deserve.
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    I agree with CDC, 'toughness' is a convenient label to use because there is no real definition or metric, so it can mean whatever the writer wants it to mean.

    GU's current defensive style I would not categorize as 'tough' in the Wisconsin/BIG 10 style that everyone like to imagine. The objective of the GU's defense is to generate a high number of offensive possessions with an emphasis on creating high percentage shots. You see GU take defensive risks trying to intercept passes early in opponent's procession and outside the three point line. Successful defense there results in easy transition buckets.

    So I would call GU's defense opportunistic rather than tough. GU isn't going to try grinding out defensive possessions in the half-court. That is not the style of play Few is coaching. They can do that adequately due to speed and discipline, but banging and bruising doesn't generate good offensive possessions.

    GU's toughness really shows in the second half where opponent's focus and fitness start to wear down and GU's inexorable opportunism finally just catches up and breaks the game open. It is mental and conditioning toughness that wins games for GU.
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