Good evening Cougar Nation. Hope you all are gearing up for tonight's game against this guy and the rest of the Zags.
In praising our prospects for this season earlier in the year, I told you all that I tought we'd make the tourney based on our leadership at point guard and our solid retruning post players.
So imagine how much I like the Zags given that they have all the same components in place, plus more athleticism and depth. This really may be the best Zag team ever.
Therefore, as mentionned earlier in the week, I really hate our chances in tonight's game. I mean, it may be hard to believe, but in addition to Gonzaga's virtues, we are something like 1-72 all time against top 5 teams.
Well, make that 1-73 after tonight.
So, here's the quick breakdown:
1) When you're playing great offensive teams like the Zags, you keep them (and the score) down by making shots. Unfortunately, the Zags currently rank fifth nationally in opponent's field goal percentage and we have struggled to make big shots.
2) We must get GREAT performances tonight from Thompson, Rochestie, and Baynes. Add to that, Harmeling also needs to play great. Tall order all around methinks.
3) That said, we get 34 points combined out of the backcourt and I think we steal it, because that type of production will either get Baynes off or it indicates that Baynes has gotten off.
4) There's about a 1.2% chance of that happening.
All in all, I think we continue to struggle to make shots and their depth and experience turns a relatively close (7 point) game into a laugher.
Zags win this one handily 69-49.
I'll be back throughout the game on this post to give you my mindless thoughts...
Until the 15 minute mark of the 1st half...
1st Time Out: 7-3 Gonzaga. We're not scared, Harmeling's aggressive, they're pretty darn good. How fun is it to be relevant in a major sport?
8:54 WSU 17-15. We're the aggressors. Great Ehlo Quote: "Great patience and poise, you can't teach that." Really? I thought that's why we've built a program.
4:50 WSU 22-19. Put Mark Few in the Peter Gammons teeth category. They've been in the penalty for an hour and we've given Baynes the ball once. POUND THE BALL INSIDE!!
23.5 Zags 32-27. Pace has picked up too much for us. Zags are controlling tempo and showing tremendous range offensively. We abosluted wasted that penalty. Wasted it.
Half: 32-29. We're hanging tough, but the mo isn't in our favor. I love Harmeling's aggressiveness and I love Casto's energy. We need Thompson to step up, but scorers like him are used to a lot of touches. His development will depend on his ability to score timely baskets without putting the ball up 15-20 times a game.
The second half should be fun. The crowd is great.
Final Score. Zags 114-Cougars 14. Don't know how they scored that many points in the second half while we somehow lost 15.
Seriously, the Zags showed that they are a real National Contender. At the same time, we showed that we have ZERO identity offensively.
The remedy is to give Casto and Capers MUCH more time. CASTO, in particular, needs to start. And we need to ride Clay Thompson until he learns to deliver.
This team is actually really close to being good. But we can't be until Thompson becomes the man. Tonight, our failure to ride him AND get Baynes the ball at the end of the first half were the difference between an informative loss and a blow out.
Lets go get Montana State.