Dick Vitale was quoted yesterday to say Gonzaga would lose their next game against Wichita State, given their poor performance against Southern.
Do I agree with Dicky V.?
The short answer is a resounding “NO!” The long answer is a bit more complicated than that…
Here’s a quick history lesson. In 1989, #1 seed Georgetown beat Princeton by 1, 50-49. They went on to win their next game by 13. In the same year, #1 seed Oklahoma beat East Tennessee St. by 1, 72-71. They won their next game by 43, 124-81.
Yes, Gonzaga’s win against Southern was the smallest margin of victory for a #1 seed since 1996. And the game was tied with less than four minutes to play. That’s why they play 40 minutes, not 36.
In 1982, #1 seed North Carolina beat #9 seed James Madison 52-50 in the second round. NC went on to beat Alabama, Villanova, Houston, and Georgetown to win the tournament.
In 1983, NC State won 5 of their 6 games by a total margin of 13 points (two games by one, two games by two, and one game by seven…they beat Utah by 19 in the Sweet Sixteen) and went on to win the tournament.
In 1993, eventual runners-up, #1 seed Michigan, beat UCLA by only two in the second round.
I could keep listing situations where teams who eventually won (or went to the Championship Game) had a close-call with a team they should beat. It happens almost every year, and that’s what we all love about the NCAA Tournament. Every game is a new game, especially in the NCAA Tournament.
The Zags could absolutely lose their game against Wichita State on Saturday. But it won’t be because of their performance against Southern. It won’t be because Elias Harris went 2-10 a day ago. It won’t be because Southern had eight blocks while Gonzaga had zero. It will be because Wichita State outplays them (more specifically, out-rebounds them).
Gonzaga also has a blessing disguised as a curse. They can compete with anyone. In turn, that also means anyone can compete with Gonzaga. And though they won 31 games this season, there were a few close calls with teams who had no business competing with a #1 seed in the Tournament (i.e. San Diego).
Hold on to your butts, Zags fans. Your team is bound to put a few more gray hairs on your noggin before the end of this tournament.
*As I write this, I realize the #3, #4, and #5 seed in the West Region have been knocked out in the Round of 64 (first time EVER that has happened in the same region)…clearing the way for Gonzaga, perhaps?*
If you missed all the college basketball going on this week thus far, you really missed out.
Three of the top four teams lost, including #1 ranked Indiana (Lost to Minnesota) and #3 ranked Duke (lost to Virginia). It also includes #4 ranked Michigan, who lost to Penn State. For the record, that is Penn State’s ONLY Big Ten Conference win thus far.
Something you might notice is #2 ranked Gonzaga is not in the group I listed above. On Thursday night, they were able to go into Provo, UT on Senior night, in front of nearly 20,000 fans and pull off a 70-65 victory over an inspired BYU team (isn’t every team inspired to beat Gonzaga though?).
Thanks to 19 points from the (you heard it here first) All-American, Kelly Olynyk, and 15 from Gary Bell Jr., the Zags held off a late-game surge by the Cougars to preserve their unblemished Conference record.
With these losses by Indiana, Duke, and Michigan, and assuming the Zags can beat Portland (11-19, 4-11 WCC) there is very little chance that any team will jump Gonzaga for the top ranking in the land. And as much as I dislike being the contrarian to my esteemed “colleague,” it is Gonzaga’s time.
One might be able to make a case that Gonzaga’s strength of schedule (SOS) is not that of Indiana or Michigan, and it shows in Joe Lunardi’s “Braketology.” Gonzaga’s SOS is 75, while Indiana’s is 24 and Michigan’s is 55. However, that’s why the Hoosiers and Wolverines, alike, can have twice as many losses and still be ranked above the Zags (before this week, at least).
The Zags have lost two games this year – an early season matchup against Illinois, and a buzzer-beater to Butler in Indianapolis. Both of those teams are in the top 50 RPI. They’ve won EVERYTHING ELSE. They crushed the likes of Oklahoma and Kansas State, they went to Stillwater and beat Oklahoma State, and they handled Saint Mary’s in both conference matchups (including a 17-point win in Moraga). This year, Gonzaga has beaten their conference foes by an average of 19 points. 19 POINTS!
As the regular season comes to an end, it is no longer about SOS or RPI or BPI or even ranking. It’s about who can win in the spotlight. And quite frankly, Gonzaga can play with any team out there.
They have a big man in Olynyk who has outside touch. Elias Harris is a guy who plays bigger than his 6’8” frame with a solid jump shot. They have exceptional guards in Kevin Pangos, Bell Jr., and David Stockton. They also have a number of guys in the bench who can contribute.
Sam Dower is a big man with inside finesse and the ability to knock down 20-footers. They also have Drew Barham – a guy who shoots .468 from behind the arc.
Gonzaga also has Hart. Sure they have “heart” as well, but the source of that heart is Mike Hart. Hart is from Portland, OR and walked on in 2008. He was not recruited by anyone. Now, he starts for one of the top teams in the land. A guy doesn’t get to where Hart is without unrelenting hustle and determination. I invite anyone to watch a Gonzaga game and follow Mike Hart around the court. I guarantee you’ll be tired just watching him.
It is now March, sports fans. It is time for bets, brackets, and buzzer-beaters. Who will be your pick to win it all? My pick will most likely be a team who hails from Spokane, Washington.
By now, I am sure most of you have heard the Minnesota Golden Gophers beat the #1 Indiana Hoosiers, last night at Williams Arena in Minneapolis. This has fans in Spokane getting really excited at the chance at having that “#1″ next to Gonzaga in Monday’s rankings. I am here to tell you Gonzaga not only doesn’t deserve to have the top ranking, but they won’t be sitting on top come Monday.
Let’s first start with the last time Indiana lost as the top ranked team in the land. They lost at Illinois, 74-72 and won at Ohio State, 81-68, before the next poll came out. At the time they held 58 of the 65 first place Associated Press votes. After the loss, there was a four-way split for the first place votes between Indiana (26), Duke (20), Miami (17) and Gonzaga (2). This will most likely be the case again. With Indiana holding all but one (Gonzaga) of the AP first place votes in the current poll. The votes will again be split between multiple teams come Monday, which will likely include: Indiana, Read the rest of this entry »
Denard Robinson, quarterback at the University of Michigan is a pretty fast guy.
As a quarterback in the NCAA, he is arguably faster than any other quarterback at his level in the entire country. It could be said that he might be faster than any defensive back he may face, and faster than most players in the NCAA.
Denard also thinks he could outrun Usain Bolt, and by the measure of the 100m dash, the fastest human to have ever lived. A 2-time Olympic champion in the 100 meter and 200 meter, he also owns the world record in the distance.
Granted, Denard isn’t talking the 100. He is talking in his terms, the measure of football speed which is the 40 yard dash.
A few reports already have broken down what hypothetically Bolt would run, taking his splits from previous races. It is about 3.73 seconds to run 40 yards for Mr. Bolt.
Bolt does have a slight reputation for being a slow starter (for an Olympian) and cruises to victories with brute speed at the end.
Denard, I hate to break it to you, but while you work on all aspects of your game (running, passing, play-calling, leading your team to victory), Bolt only works on one thing. That is winning foot races. Bolt is a better starter off the blocks than you. Bolt runs his races very strategically. You don’t think if given a 40 yard end goal he would change his strategy?
I would go as far as saying the entire field in the 100m final would destroy you in the 40 yard dash.
Still though, come out and say that. You are lucky that Bolt has better things to do than worry about beating you.
If you were so fast, you should have tried out for the Olympic team. The chances of you making real professional money in track and field is probably better than you spending time behind Cody Pickett in the CFL.
Your team is preseason pick number six this year. That’s not bad! Worry about that, and your first opponent – oh! That’s Alabama. Why not worry about getting caught by their defensive ends and secondary instead of trying to compare yourself to the world’s best.