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Thread: Is this team better than last year's?

  1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by scrooner View Post
    I wouldn't say they killed us. These are the best bigs we played against:

    Offensive rebounding and hot outside shooting was the story against Baylor, in my opinion.

  2. #27
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    Someday I may have the nerve to rewatch that game, but I seem to recall our guards also having a very hard time initiating the offense or getting much downhill movement at all against their guards' physical ball pressure.

    And yes, Baylor's offensive rebounding was exceptional against us, just like it was all year (they ranked 5th).

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    No Suggs......no Kispert......no Ayayi ......no Cook.....no Ballo.......no way..... statistics are useful.....but what they don't measure is the " Degree of Difficulty "...... I will be amazed if anyone on the current team can make the plays that Suggs and Ayayi did.....or that anyone can hit the big shots like Kispert did....

    I doubt very much that Few will expand his rotation beyond 7 or 8 .....

  4. #29
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    Probably better at team rebounding (Don't discount a year of seasoning for Watson or a new team "point of emphasis" following a review of the final two games).

    Probably much better at rim protection (Some folks say that Chet Holmgren is in the Anthony Davis tier of shot blocking and he is certainly the best rim protector since Brandon Clarke.)

    Perhaps not as collectively good at ball movement and distribution (That last Zag squad was historically great at ball movement and may not be matched in a lifetime....by anyone).

    Probably not as good at forced turnovers converted into transition points (Last year was the best group of "on ball" defenders at the wing in Zag history, only Demetri Goodson can compare at that level, and even Goodson didn't force turnovers as effectively).

    Probably as good of an overall team but with strengths and weaknesses in different areas. If they can come relatively close in terms of ball movement, then they can be every bit as good. Ball movement was the true marvel of the last team.

    How comfortable do I feel about Nembhard's return? It puts me at a confidence level similar to how I felt about previous returning senior point guards in Zag lore. I have a TON of confidence in Nembhard. Rock solid dependable and the most important player on the team considering the ball should touch his hands on almost every possession.
    Last edited by MickMick; 05-27-2021 at 10:11 PM.
    I miss Mike Hart

  5. #30
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    Last years team had Kispert and Ayayi coming back with Timme coming back off the bench.
    Next years team has Timme and Nembhard coming back with Watson coming back off the bench. I would say that Watson played more last year than Timme did the year before. I believe that Watson is going to be far better than people think.
    Ayayi was the only returning guard on last years team. Nembhard is the lone returning starting guard on next years team. IMO Nembhard is the one who made that brilliant offense go last year. He was an unbelievable passer, and an unbelievable ball handler. IMO he controlled that offense the way a QB does in football.

    Suggs was an unbelievable Freshman last year, and the highest recruited player out of high school that Gonzaga ever had. I think he was like the 4th or 5th best player in that high school class. Holmgren is the #1 high school player from this year's senior class. I can hardly wait to see him play. We got a great taste of what he will be like from Suggs, who was probably the best Freshman player Gonzaga ever had. Will Holmgren be better? He could be. Suggs was fantastic on D and Holmgren will also be in that same class as Suggs was.

    And I haven't even said a single word about Swather and Harris. These two guys showed me how talented they are, and imo, they are the two reasons why I think next years team would beat last years team. They both now know the Gonzaga system well, and both improved leaps and bounds last year. They didn't get a lot of playing time but the time they did get they showed me a lot of promise. The other reason that I go with next year's team is Timme. Next year's version of Timme will be better than last year's Kispert. Kispert was great last year, and played his way into probably a first round NBA draft pick. But Timme will be drafted higher than Kispert will be. Kispert was a really good leader, but IMO Timme will be a better leader. Timme plays with passion, which I love.

    And I haven't talked about the rest of the Freshman class coming in or the transfers....This is the BEST freshman class that Gonzaga has ever recruited. It's pretty hard to pick a Zag team that could be better than last year's team because last year's Zag team only lost one game all year, and that was in the National Championship. I guess the reason that I am picking next years team to be the best is because I do feel they will be the National Champs.

    Go Zags!
    Go Zags!!! The Best Is Yet To Come!!!

  6. #31
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    Timme will not be drafted higher than Corey. Could win the Wooden Award though.

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    We'll find out April 4th
    History has its eyes on you.

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    Will they come out of the gates as good as last year's team? No. Will they be as good as last year's team at the end of the year? Maybe. Lots of unknowns. I have full trust in Few to figure out the right way to lead this team, but it probably won't happen immediately.

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by scrooner View Post
    I wouldn't say they killed us. These are the best bigs we played against:

    Vital had 10,000 offensive rebounds in the championship game. Points aren't everything. He dominated us, no other way to describe it. If people can stomach it they should go back and look at the box score. Their bigs finished with 12 offensive rebounds, ours had 0. Ayayi was the only person on the team that managed a single offensive rebound all game. Look at the rest of the stats, nothing else really stands out, certainly nothing to suggest a blow out.

    They had a great strategy and they used their depth against us. They had so many bigs that they dared the refs to foul all of them out of the game, because they knew we couldn't meet their physicality due our lack of depth down low. Next year's team could be a lot different. You can't use that same strategy if we have the depth to match them. Literally only two real bigs on the rotation last year (Timme and Watson). Next year at a minimum we'll have Chet, Timme and Watson, in addition to whatever Perry/Gregg bring.

  10. #35
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    My response was to this comment:

    "...Baylor like interior players killed us all year without a defense playing big."

    If the only 'Baylor like interior players' that we played were in the game against Baylor, then sure, I guess they 'killed us all year', meaning in that one game. Vital & Thamba had 11 combined offense rebounds in that game, which was 6 over their average.

    The rest of the guys on my list were held, combined, below their combined season average for offensive rebounds.

  11. #36
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    Last year's team was MORE than capable of beating Baylor. Look at our #'s, talent, and common opponents. Pretty darn even.

    We keep gushing over Baylor, and deservedly so, a terrific team...just as we were.

    Its tough to hear this, yet Baylor simply wanted it MORE than we did. It was evident from the tip and throughout the game. Did you recognize that slow-footed, listless Gonzaga team in that game? Nope. Credit Baylor? Sure, yet most teams play with that type of hustle/physicality in the Tourney.

    Baylor was the #22 ranked defensive team per Kenpom, meaning teams like USC and Kansas were just as "tough" on that end of the court. Also, several teams we played were just as good on the glass, and we held our own.

    We just got beat (down). Defense and rebounding hurt us, because they hustled more, and played with anger/toughness that we simply did not. Many times, when all things are equal, its the physicality you decide to play with.

    Whether that UCLA game wiped us out -- emotionally, mentally, physically -- is debatable. But it definitely contributed to the ZERO energy we played with for 80% of that final game.

    Everyone, save Suggs, was kinda hoping they'd find the groove, and Baylor didn't let up, and knew what was at stake.

    We weren't as READY as them either. Coach Few was the first to admit this in post-game interviews. "we weren't expecting that...". Also, stated they gave the team a 'mental health day' following UCLA and didn't prepare them appropriately, and said the staff was just as shocked as the players. Numerous links paraphrasing this sentiment by Coach.

    It happens.

    Our coaches weren't as prepared as Baylor's staff, neither were our players, and we didn't want it as much as them...when it counted.

    Tough to hear, but we had a chance to beat them, could have, yet didn't rise to the occasion. We were not just beat by a better team. That's bail-out talk.

    I know our players are winners at heart, wanted to win, and so did our Coaches, yet sometimes timing and situation is everything. Baylor was ready for that game, that night, that moment. We were not. There was a type of expectation/assumption we played with, and seemed subconsciously content just beating UCLA and getting to that Championship game.

  12. #37
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    Isn’t it fun to lament a loss in a National Championship game?

    Great Expectations???

    That was a matchup of two excellent teams. The game could have gone exactly the opposite way. The Zags could have busted out of the gate with a couple of threes and caused a couple turnovers that led to fast break buckets just as easily. I’m confident that a seven game series would have ended 4-3 either way.

    For me, the Zags misfortune was a direct result of not being able to play Baylor in the scheduled OOC game. I firmly believe that the players and coaches would have learned enough from that encounter to change the outcome of the final.

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by MickMick View Post
    Probably better at team rebounding (Don't discount a year of seasoning for Watson or a new team "point of emphasis" following a review of the final two games).

    Probably much better at rim protection (Some folks say that Chet Holmgren is in the Anthony Davis tier of shot blocking and he is certainly the best rim protector since Brandon Clarke.)

    Perhaps not as collectively good at ball movement and distribution (That last Zag squad was historically great at ball movement and may not be matched in a lifetime....by anyone).

    Probably not as good at forced turnovers converted into transition points (Last year was the best group of "on ball" defenders at the wing in Zag history, only Demetri Goodson can compare at that level, and even Goodson didn't force turnovers as effectively).

    Probably as good of an overall team but with strengths and weaknesses in different areas. If they can come relatively close in terms of ball movement, then they can be every bit as good. Ball movement was the true marvel of the last team.

    How comfortable do I feel about Nembhard's return? It puts me at a confidence level similar to how I felt about previous returning senior point guards in Zag lore. I have a TON of confidence in Nembhard. Rock solid dependable and the most important player on the team considering the ball should touch his hands on almost every possession.
    This is my exact opinion except said better.

    Additionally, even though I pull hard for every win in every single game, I will be furious if this team is undefeated again going into the tournament. One or two losses are huge teachable moments IMO, and the pressure was just unbelievable.

    Last year title game the single biggest issue was we just flat couldn't rebound against what looked like an NBA team of grown men. We will see if this team has different skills and all the above.
    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
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    The disparity in 3 point shooting in the title game was as big an issue as any. Baylor shot 3s at less than 30% 4 times last year which resulted in: both of their losses (.231 vs Kansas and .214 vs Oklahoma State), a .211 in a 10 point win against an historically bad Iowa State team, and a season-worst .158 in an 11 point win over Villanova* in the 3rd Round of the tourney, thanks to Villanova playing along and shooting .176 from 3 also. The other 26 games they shot at least 30%, and 20 games were +40%. They were a really good 3 point shooting team and we needed to either keep pace or hope for them to be off; neither of which happened.

    *Their win over Villanova was where Baylor was so fortunate in their tourney run. For a team like them to live and die by the 3, they were incredibly lucky to pull that game out and advance due to Villanova's poor shooting (.586 from 2pt and .176 from 3pt.). By the 3rd round of the tournament you're not usually counting on being able to win by playing poorly and your opponent being even worse.

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    Baylor was up 19 at ten minutes into the game. We lost by 16. That means our Zags beat Baylor by 3 in 3/4 of that game. That first ten was remarkable for Baylor, they were getting every rebound nearly and put on a shooting clinic. To much to overcome. The Zags did the same a couple of times to opponents. It was Baylorís day to get hot early.
    One of the greatest stories in basketball history...Gonzaga!

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    Every time the Zags got close, all of a sudden there would be a no call, like when Kispert drove to the hoop and got slammed in the head, and when Watson was shooting a layup and the Baylor guy grabbed him by both arms. No call on either play. If the referees would have those calls the Zags would have been right back in the game. I still say that the ncaa does not want a school from a non so called power conference winning the title, and will continue to believe that until a team from a small conference wins the tournament.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheOtherGreatOne View Post
    Every time the Zags got close, all of a sudden there would be a no call, like when Kispert drove to the hoop and got slammed in the head, and when Watson was shooting a layup and the Baylor guy grabbed him by both arms. No call on either play. If the referees would have those calls the Zags would have been right back in the game. I still say that the ncaa does not want a school from a non so called power conference winning the title, and will continue to believe that until a team from a small conference wins the tournament.
    Yeah, and I saw Elvis and Tupac in a studio in Memphis working on a cross between country and rap to be released soon.

  18. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bogozags View Post
    IMO...

    Neither team would have beaten Baylor...they were a fine, oiled machine. In a ten game match, we might win between two and four games...

    The hypothetical question of: if 20-21 can beat 21-22...I think Suggs is the difference maker so that answer is no...
    I watched all but one Gonzaga game last year and Baylor maybe 9 times. I firmly believe Gonzaga wins 6 or so if they were to play 10 times. But obviously that's not how the Big Dance works and it's one of the main reasons the event is so exciting. Baylor completely outplayed the Zags (especially the first 12-13 minutes) and deserved to win it all but it's not like the Baylor roster completely outclassed the Zags or anything talent wise.

  19. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrizZAG View Post
    Baylor was up 19 at ten minutes into the game. We lost by 16. That means our Zags beat Baylor by 3 in 3/4 of that game. That first ten was remarkable for Baylor, they were getting every rebound nearly and put on a shooting clinic. To much to overcome. The Zags did the same a couple of times to opponents. It was Baylorís day to get hot early.
    The same thing could be said in the USC game. Zag's jumped out early and maintained a lead for the win.

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by Markburn1 View Post
    Yeah, and I saw Elvis and Tupac in a studio in Memphis working on a cross between country and rap to be released soon.
    were they jamming with Keith Kimble?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bballbeachbum View Post
    were they jamming with Keith Kimble?

    Wayman Tisdale.
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  22. #47
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    Markburn made a funny! Actually it was. All ast year Drew needed help down low. He didn't get help with Anton who reall wasn't a big as "bigs"' go. What we had was a 4 who played his rear end off.........often over powered and outnumbered. Still he did an excellent job. Surrounded by a superior group of "otherard stayed around but we will have a group of guards and forwards who , although talented as any we've had, will see some special kind of coaching job.s" You know their names and saw what I saw Key the success was the quality of talent we had in guards and Corey.
    Amazing job was done by Few and staff putting this group together and knowing strategy and tactics to defeat all till we ran into a strongly motivated opponent with a mission in mind and who played angry for that one all important game.

    With Kaden and Chet that certain weight on Drew will be removed. Importantly Andrew stayed and that will be key for this next year. Lotsa talent at the guard and forward spots. I do think Few, once again, has his work cut out for him figuring out who does what and putting an excellent team together. We do not have a Joel and a rto serve as veterans which I think was key last year. Experience matters. We're a bit short on that.
    It's a title team in talent but but so much in team type things. I think this is where we're going to miss a Tommy who usually is associated with recruiting skills. His coaching is great. Few is the master though and I do hope he's ready for this group.
    Duke, Texas, Alabama, likely UCLA and other games will test this group early. 5 months and we'll know more. Especially glad we have the talent but Bolton will likely help a lot.

  23. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Therunner View Post
    Last year's team was MORE than capable of beating Baylor. Look at our #'s, talent, and common opponents. Pretty darn even.

    We keep gushing over Baylor, and deservedly so, a terrific team...just as we were.

    Its tough to hear this, yet Baylor simply wanted it MORE than we did. It was evident from the tip and throughout the game. Did you recognize that slow-footed, listless Gonzaga team in that game? Nope. Credit Baylor? Sure, yet most teams play with that type of hustle/physicality in the Tourney.

    Baylor was the #22 ranked defensive team per Kenpom, meaning teams like USC and Kansas were just as "tough" on that end of the court. Also, several teams we played were just as good on the glass, and we held our own.

    We just got beat (down). Defense and rebounding hurt us, because they hustled more, and played with anger/toughness that we simply did not. Many times, when all things are equal, its the physicality you decide to play with.

    Whether that UCLA game wiped us out -- emotionally, mentally, physically -- is debatable. But it definitely contributed to the ZERO energy we played with for 80% of that final game.

    Everyone, save Suggs, was kinda hoping they'd find the groove, and Baylor didn't let up, and knew what was at stake.

    We weren't as READY as them either. Coach Few was the first to admit this in post-game interviews. "we weren't expecting that...". Also, stated they gave the team a 'mental health day' following UCLA and didn't prepare them appropriately, and said the staff was just as shocked as the players. Numerous links paraphrasing this sentiment by Coach.

    It happens.

    Our coaches weren't as prepared as Baylor's staff, neither were our players, and we didn't want it as much as them...when it counted.

    Tough to hear, but we had a chance to beat them, could have, yet didn't rise to the occasion. We were not just beat by a better team. That's bail-out talk.

    I know our players are winners at heart, wanted to win, and so did our Coaches, yet sometimes timing and situation is everything. Baylor was ready for that game, that night, that moment. We were not. There was a type of expectation/assumption we played with, and seemed subconsciously content just beating UCLA and getting to that Championship game.
    Sometimes in sport, you just need tip your cap. Just my opinion, but Baylor was just a nightmare match up for the Zags. Regardless of mini runs, officials decisions, the Bears were better. Butler, Mitchell, and Vidal were great players and were not going to be denied.

    I am turning the page, and am very excited about the 21-22 Zag team that looks so promising...

  24. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrizZAG View Post
    Baylor was up 19 at ten minutes into the game. We lost by 16. That means our Zags beat Baylor by 3 in 3/4 of that game. That first ten was remarkable for Baylor, they were getting every rebound nearly and put on a shooting clinic. To much to overcome. The Zags did the same a couple of times to opponents. It was Baylorís day to get hot early.
    yep. specifically, Nemby could not box out Vidal as Drew worked our pick and roll D to perfection (most clubs did as the season wore on) to not only get the shots and matchups he wanted on the ball, but also down low early on the O glass, and we never got back into it. Terrific offensive game plan executed to perfection. Interestingly, it all happened with AW on the bench, lol...now that is funny when you read some of these posts

  25. #50
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    It's foolish to predict that any team is going to be better than a team that went undefeated up to the championship game last year, but... I'm going to make the argument for it. They will lose regular season games but they have a real shot at a championship. This will be a team with a lower floor but a higher ceiling. The biggest weakness was depth down low, and the Zags seem to have fixed that with the #1 big in the nation. Gregg was game-ready enough to play in front of Ballo and Zhakarov, so I expect him to contribute this year. There is enough depth in the backcourt that Watson doesn't have to play the 3 at all if Few doesn't want to.

    The Zags lost Suggs but they keep Nembhard, who ran the offense well and whom Few has said is excellent in his decision-making off the pick and roll. Suggs was a unicorn, but he did make mistakes and was good for a few bad shots and careless turnovers a game; in other words, he played like a freshman at times. We haven't seen a ball stick on offense for a GU team in years, and I expect that trend to continue. Add the super-efficient Timme into the formula, and this offense shouldn't sputter for long. We lose Kispert's amazing shooting, but the skill guys should be able to learn what a good shot is and score with decent efficiency.

    We lose an excellent rebounder in Ayayi, but the improved front court should be gobbling up more than their fair share of these, and there is enough length and athleticism that I think this team can be a good rebounding team. Rasir Bolton seems to have been stat filler for his team. Kaden Perry is a wild card and I hope he is able to contribute, as he would be able to provide a lot of energy and dynamism off the bench early on as he grows into a more important role with the team in the coming years.

    The athleticism of this team should take a step forward. Suggs was all-world in this aspect, but Sallis, Hickman, and Dom should be able to match up against just about anybody on both ends. Adding transfer Rasir Bolton-- good scorer-- increases the depth of this team, as he is used to playing against good teams and scoring on good athletes; I also expect him to be even better offensively so many other good players around him. Strawther is athletic enough and has fantastic length. I think that Strawther, if his shot has a way of finding the basket like it did in highschool could be a go-to scorer when they need someone to get a shot off.

    Defensively, I expect there to be growing pains early on, which is why I think that this team probably loses a few that I think they shouldn't have. This is due to inexperience. I think that the team defense probably improved from a personnel perspective and should be clicking by March. The past team didn't really even hit its stride until the end, then faded the last couple of games, it seems. The added depth should help this. I think that teams exploited Drew Timme with the pick and roll a bit at the end, and that won't happen this year. Holmgren should be able to erase a lot of mistakes. I missed the presence of Clarke last year, and we are returning to that type of presence down low for the coming year. The other guys should be able to keep their guy in front of them more than ever, and Dom looks like the guy who has the willingness and ability to get into the jersey of the other team's best player.

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