Luke Hare, Staff Writer
At the start of the year, the Gonzaga basketball team was dead set on a No. 1 seed for the NCAA Tournament this year. The Bulldogs had quality players and the schedule to make it all come together by Selection Sunday, snagging the second No. 1 seed in three years.
With the Zags only having lost two games this year, to top 10 ranked North Carolina and Tennessee, they still have a decent shot at achieving their goal of a No. 1 seed heading into March Madness. They will still have two difficult games against Saint Mary’s and San Francisco, and then of course the WAC Tournament, where anything is possible.
Even though they suffered these two losses, the amount of talent this team has could take them very far in March Madness. Gonzaga has a ridiculous amount of depth at all positions. They currently have five players averaging double digit scoring, and eight averaging seven or more points per game. As a team, Gonzaga is leading their opponents in almost every category. They are out-rebounding their opponents by seven boards, have nearly 80 less combined turnovers, 40 more three pointers, and are shooting a ridiculous 14-percent better from the floor. When you are better than your opponent in all these categories, it would take a very talented team to beat you.
This team is also really tall. Yes, height doesn’t necessarily mean you are better, but it sure does help your chances when you have five players who are 6’ 7” or taller on the team. As a team, there really aren’t many short players who see quality playing time. No guard who is seeing decent playing time is shorter than 6’ 3.” Every one of them can shoot, pass, and drive. Being able to see over your shorter defender is awesome, especially when your 6’10” post has an extra three inches on his defender. It also helps to have most of these players already with a year or more seasons under their belt in this program because they were here last year, and even the year before, when they made it to the final four. The leadership and experience that they have could be even more key than the amount of talent which they undoubtedly possess.
With all of these key elements put together, it is obvious why the Gonzaga Bulldogs are a force to be reckoned with. As we head into March, keep an eye out for the Zags as they look to build momentum heading into the tournament. This is the time when anything can happen, where history is made and Cinderella stories are born. It is the crazy month that lives up to its famous name: March Madness.