December 31, 2009

Scouting Report: Oklahoma

W-L: 8-4
RPI: 100
SOS: 236
Best Wins:
(134) Arizona W 79-62
(203) Arkansas W 67-47
(131) Utah W 78-73 OT

Best Losses:
(38) UTEP L 89-74
(75) VCU L 82-69
(93) Houston L 100-93
(174) San Diego L 76-64

Current Rankings:
#100 RPI

Team Overview:
Coach Jeff Capel is good enough to make the transition from a frontcourt orientated team to a backcourt orientated team. And without Blake and Taylor Griffin he will not have much of a choice. The frontcourt returns very few experienced players and the Sooners will have to rely on a talented class of incoming freshmen.

The backcourt has a pretty solid starting three. Of course it all starts with Willie Warren. Warren had a great freshman campaign, tallying 14.6 points and 3.1 assists per game. His outside shooting may have been a little erratic at times and his turnovers could be a little high, but remember this was as a freshman. His positives sizably outweigh his negatives and Warren is ready to become the leader of this team. Having Tony Crocker back on the wing will help. Crocker is a capable outside shooter who can also use his 6-6 frame to finish around the basket. Cade Davis will likely go from the sixth man to a starter this year. He has good size for a shooting guard and could emerge as a surprisingly decent scorer if he attacks the basket more often.

Team Leaders:
Points: Willie Warren 18.7
Assists: Willie Warren 4.9
Rebounds: Tiny Gallon 8.9

Best Player:

Willie Warren G 6-4 199 SO
Warren is the resident Scorer and Creator of this offense, without him, things fall apart...

My Take:
This is not the Sooner team of last season. Blake Griffin is gone, Taylor Griffin is gone, the swagger is gone. Coach Jeff Caple leads a talented team that has struggled during the early season to find their niche. This is a team that lost to Gonzaga conference rivals San Diego earlier this season in the Great Alaskan Shootout. I expect Oklahoma to give us a game, but in the end we pull away and win handily.

Final Score: Gonzaga 82 Oklahoma 67

December 29, 2009

Game Recap: Eastern Washington @ Gonzaga

Final Score: Gonzaga 94 Eastern Washington 52

Box Score Snapshot
Scorer: Elias Harris 22 Points
Rebounder: 3 With 7 Boards
Passer: Manny Arop 6 Assists
Swatter: 3 With 1 Block
Thief: Matt Bouldin 4 Steals

Game MVP: Elias Harris
22 Points, 7 Boards, 3 Steals, a Block and an Assist, 9-11 from the floor

Team Comparison: Zags/Eagles
Points: 94/52
Assist to /Turnover Ratio: 1.19/0.22
Rebounds: 50/27
Shooting Percentage: 50%/29%
3pt Percentage: 46%/17%

What it means for the future (Analysis):
This was a nice turnaround game for the Zags. After being humiliated against the Blue Devils in MSG, this was the game that got their blood pumping again. I expect the Zags to use this as a stepping stone as they begin a 2 game block against Oklahoma and Illinois.

December 28, 2009

Scouting Report: Eastern Washington

W-L: 4-9
RPI: 316
SOS: 206
Best Wins:
(217) Seattle W 100-97 OT
(317) Texas Arlington W 72-68

Best Losses:
(10) BYU L 34-91
(75) Nevada L 70-73

Current Rankings:
#316 RPI

Team Overview:
Eastern Washington is 16 miles from Spokane, but the short trip isn't likely to help. The Eagles have lost four straight, averaging 51.3 points and shooting 31.2 percent over their last three. Eastern Washington lost 72-67 to previously winless Jackson State on Wednesday in the final round of the Las Vegas Classic. "Right now it feels like early to mid-November when you don't know exactly what your team is like yet," coach Kirk Earlywine said. "That's not a good feeling." Senior forward Mark Dunn is averaging a team-best 11.9 points for Eastern Washington but scored two on 1-for-5 shooting Wednesday. The Eagles are 0-6 when he fails to score in double figures.

Team Leaders:
Points: Mark Dunn 11.9
Assists: Glen Dean 3.8
Rebounds: Brandon Moore 7.7

Best Player:

Brandon Moore F/C 6-9 250 SR
Moore is their best all around player and the only hope the Eagles have of stopping Robert Sacre Down low...

My Take:
This game is going to be as easy as they come in college basketball. Eastern Washington will be outmatched in every aspect of the game. This will be a nice rebound game from the ugly loss at Madison Square Garden to Duke, and i expect us to tune up for Thursday nights New Years bash against Oklahoma.

Final Score: Gonzaga 105 Eastern Washington 67

December 19, 2009

Game Recap: Gonzaga vs. Duke

Final Score: Duke 76 Gonzaga 41

Box Score Snapshot
Scorer: Robert Sacre 9 Points
Rebounder: Manny Arop 6 Boards
Passer: 3 With 2 Assists
Swatter: Foster/Sacre 1 Blocks
Thief: Steven Gray 4 Steals

Game MVP: Manny Arop
6 Points and 6 Boards

Team Comparison: Zags/Blue Devils
Points: 41/76
Assist to /Turnover Ratio: 0.44/1.23
Rebounds: 29/41
Shooting Percentage: 28%/45%
3pt Percentage: 10%/33%

What it means for the future (Analysis):
Am I a little embarrassed? Yes. Is the the end of all hopes that Gonzaga could compete on a national stage this year? No. The Zags were playing in a Snowfilled New York City roughly 3,000 Miles from home against a team who had probably a 90% fan base in the arena. Matt Bouldin had just returned to practice late last week following a Concussion. Steven Gray is still not himself, his shot has been horrible this year. So what did the Blue Devils do? They realized there was no perimeter game and decided to double and triple team Elias Harris and Robert Sacre. This game got ugly quick and with no one playing to their ability there was little that the coaching staff could have done to jump start this team.

Contrary to popular opinion, Mark Few did not decide this game. He and his assistants did what they could to stop the bleeding but when someone has suffered internal organ failure on this scale, all you can really do is wait and hope that a donor surfaces with the correct blood type. I do not think that subbing in Bol Kong for any more than the 17 minutes he played would have fixed the problems that were largely compounded by the Swarming Dukie defense. It also does not help when you have a smart coach on the floor in Jon Scheyer who knows how to penetrate defenses and get to the line and then hit 92% of his shots...did i mention that his assist to turnover ratio is 6-1? That is one of the highest a/t ratios i have ever seen. Smart Basketball.

Gonzaga will turn around this ship and come into Spokane with more vigor and enthusiasm than we saw at MSG, in the future i think it would be best not to schedule Duke at MSG, maybe we need to start thinking about who we can get Home and Homes with. If Duke is not willing to provide a return game in say Seattle, then there is no reason to continue this every now and then series. Embarrassment like this hurts recruiting.

December 18, 2009

Scouting Report: Duke

W-L: 8-1
RPI: 4
SOS: 82
Best Wins:
(21) Arizona St. W, 64-53
(33) Connecticut W, 68-59
(65) St. John's W, 80-71
(77) Charlotte W, 101-59

Best Losses:
(15) Wisconsin L, 73-69

Current Rankings:
#4 RPI
#7 AP
#7 Coaches

Team Overview:
Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski comes into the 2009-10 NCAA basketball season having made the Sweet 16 three of the past five years. Last year, Duke finished second in regular season ACC play with a 11-5 conference record and 30-7 for the season and won the conference tournament. Unlike most years under Coach Krzyzewski, however, Duke only has three guards on the 2009-10 roster. Kyle Singer will be moving to play the SF position this year to help take the place of Gerald Henderson who left early for the NBA(drafted at 12 by the Charlotte Bobcats). A surprising loss from last year’s squad was Elliot Williams departing to play at Memphis due to a severe illness in the family. As a result, Andre Dawkins was able to finish his high school requirements a year early and join the Blue Devils basketball team for the upcoming season. Overall, Duke is expected to play to a much taller lineup this year than in past years with the greater depth in the front court.

Kyle Singer is going to pose significant matchup problems for opponents with shifting to the wing. His perimeter shooting and ballhandling ability will allow him to play in the post when needed as well as on the perimeter. He scored at a 16.5 ppg, 7.7 rbg, and 2.2 apg clip last year and is now at the position he will eventually play in the NBA. Duke returns 6′8″ senior Lance Thomas who averaged 18.6 minutes a game last year and 7′1″ Brian Zoubek who look to have a greater impact this season after solid junior years on the team. Newcomers Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly are also expected to have a significant role on the team this year. Coach K is just going to have to settle on the right team chemistry that is going to work before hitting ACC play in the new year.

Team Leaders:
Points: Jon Scheyer 18.0
Assists: Jon Scheyer 5.7
Rebounds: Brian Zoubek 7.8

Best Player:

Jon Scheyer G 6-5 190 SR
Scheyer is one of Dukes great Guards. He is a fiery competitor and 46% from the floor along with 42% from three and 92% from the line.

My Take:
This is shaping up to be Gonzaga's marquee game of the year, It is being played in a Neutral site, Madison Square Garden in New York City(I think we all know that the crowd is going to be largely filled with Duke fans though). We match up well with the Dukies and probably have a pretty size-able advantage in the paint with Robert Sacre and Elias Harris.

I expect this one to be quite close and i think its a 50/50 chance on who wins. Of course im gonna go with my Zags in a squeaker!

Final Score: Gonzaga 75 Duke 72

December 14, 2009

Game Recap: Davidson vs. Gonzaga

Final Score: Gonzaga 103 Davidson 91

Box Score Snapshot
Scorer: Elias Harris 27 Points
Rebounder: Grant Gibbs 8 Boards
Passer: Kelly Olynyk 4 Assists
Swatter: Elias Harris 2 Blocks
Thief: G.J. Vilarino 2 Steals

Game MVP: Elias Harris
27 Points, 5 Boards, 2 Blocks, a Steal and an Assist

Team Comparison: Zags/Wildcats
Points: 103/91
Assist to /Turnover Ratio: 0.79/1.79
Rebounds: 27/23
Shooting Percentage: 64%/51%
3pt Percentage: 50%/61%

What it means for the future (Analysis):
Matt Bouldin missed the game with a Concussion he suffered against Augustana on Wednesday. Even with that, the Zags rolled. Davidson put up a fight, but the dominant low post tandem of Robert Sacre and Elias Harris proved too much for the upstart Wildcats. The big men combined for a total of 50 Points on 13-15 shooting from the floor.

The bench continued to expand its roll on the team with great performances by Bol Kong and Grant Gibbs. This was a good tune up for the Duke Game.

December 11, 2009

Scouting Report: Davidson

W-L: 2-6
RPI: 153
SOS: 22
Best Wins:
(150) The Citadel W 74-63

Best Losses:
(37) South Florida L 58-65
(46) Butler L 62-73
(65) Rhode Island L 65-75
(133) College of Charleston L 55-67
(136) La Salle L 70-84
(140) Penn St. L 57-59

Current Rankings:
#153 RPI

Team Overview:
Bob McKillop’s Wildcats return just two starters from last season’s program, in which the nation’s leading scorer Stephen Curry left after his junior season for the NBA. McKillop will still employ three seniors in the starting lineup, but has a crop of sophomores and freshmen coming in for the future.

One of the leading seniors is power forward Steve Rossiter, who started all 35 contests last season. Another leader is swingman Will Archambault, who played in all 35 games, but managed to start seven of the last eight, and averaged 8.3 ppg in the process. Guard Bryant Barr will look to pick up the pieces that Curry had as the shooting guard, while Archambault will help out. Point guard and coach’s son Brendan McKillop will provide the signal calling duties for the Wildcats, and senior forward Dan Nelms will round out its starting core, with Ben Allison and Frank Ben-Eze coming off the bench in the post positions, while sophomores AJ Atkinson and Will Reigel will be used at times to play for Barr and Archambault.

Team Leaders:
Points: Jake Cohen 13.0
Assists: Brenden McKillop 3.5
Rebounds: Jake Cohen 5.4

Best Player:

Jake Cohen F 6-10 225 FR
Cohen is a very talented Freshman, who in a few years may be one of the most dominant big men in the Southern conference.

My Take:
I think we all can agree that this game was scheduled before the loss of Stephen Curry to the NBA. Davidson post curry is a mid-major, and a team that lacks any true talent. Davidson has played a tremendous schedule this year, and despite not having Curry around, they have played pretty well. That being said, this one will probably hurt our RPI in the long run. I expect the Zags to win this one handedly.

Final Score: Gonzaga 85 Davidson 62

December 10, 2009

Game Recap: Augustana vs. Gonzaga

Final Score:Gonzaga 79 Augustana 40

Box Score Snapshot
Scorer: Steven Gray 12 Points
Rebounder: Manny Arop/Steven Gray 7 Boards
Passer: Grant Gibbs 4 Assists
Swatter: Will Foster 2 Blocks
Thief: Steven Gray 3 Steals

Game MVP: Steven Gray
12 Points, 7 Boards, 3 Steals, and 2 Assists

Team Comparison: Zags/Vikings
Points: 79/40
Assist to /Turnover Ratio: 1.30/1.20
Rebounds: 38/34
Shooting Percentage: 51%/27%
3pt Percentage: 29%/5%

What it means for the future (Analysis):
This was a great opportunity for Mark Few to get his young bench players some additional experience. It also allowed for Steven Gray to get his shot back on track, he finished 5-8 from the floor and 2-4 from three.

Don't read too much into this, the Zags were playing a D3 opponent. I expect the Battle in Seattle on Saturday to be a much better tune up for the Duke game coming up.

December 6, 2009

Game Recap: Wake Forest Vs. Gonzaga

Final Score:Wake Forest 77 Gonzaga 75

Box Score Snapshot
Scorer: Matt Bouldin 22 Points
Rebounder: Manny Arop/Robert Sacre 9 Boards
Passer: Matt Bouldin 5 Assists
Swatter: Robert Sacre 2 Blocks
Thief: Demetri Goodson 2 Steals

Game MVP: Matt Bouldin
22 Points, 5 Assists, 4 Boards, and a Steal

Team Comparison: Zags/Demon Deacons
Points: 75/77
Assist to /Turnover Ratio: 1.30/1.20
Rebounds: 31/39
Shooting Percentage: 45%/38%
3pt Percentage: 44%/53%

What it means for the future (Analysis):
We Lost? Seriously? If you had asked me whether we would lose when we were up by 9 with 6 minutes left in the first half, i would have laughed in your face. We were rolling, Wake was reeling. So what happened? First of all, the Officiating stunk. They altered the game by ejecting one of our most high energy players in Elias Harris on a tough foul that in my opinion was nothing more than a young Zag player boxing out and a Wake Senior using his ability to act and flop. Not only did they remove Harris, they gave Wake 5 foul shots and totally killed any momentum and confidence the Zags had at that time. It was as if the Zags were a Cancer patient who were getting healthy only to find out half way through their battle that they were riddled with tumors again.

The Poison sets in, the Zags go down by 1 at the half, Mark Few goes in the locker room to try and get the team back on track. 8 minutes into the second half the Demon Deacons are up by 14. Looking to spark an anemic offense, Few does the unthinkable he subs in Bol Kong and tells him to let it fly. Kong does just that sinking 4 three points in about 5 minutes and suddenly its a ballgame again. This ignites the Zags and gives them some confidence again.

We are now 1 minute from the end, the Zags are down by 3, Steven Gray throws up a prayer from outside and hes FOULED! can you believe it, could it be that the Zags will come back and win after being down by double digits again? Gray goes to the line and hits the first foul shot. 74-76...Gray steps up and rattles out, every Zag fan across the nation feels that sinking feeling in their heart they have come to know all too well. The emotional heartbreak of another crushing defeat. Gray then misses the second. Its now less than a minute left, the Zags down by 2, and all we can do is foul. Wake goes down to ice it by going up 2 possessions, but no! they Miss!, 74-77. Matt Bouldin races up the court and is smartly fouled by the Deacons. He hits his first free throw and makes it a 2 point game again 75-77...On his second shot, knowing there are only 3 seconds left in regulation, he puts his cape back on and does what superheroes do, he Throws the ball against the backboard hoping to catch some rim and leaps into the lane trying all his might to pull in the rebound and hit a shot, HE MAKES IT! I feel happiness that i cannot describe! and then the Officials do it again, they take it all away, call a lane violation because the ball never hits the rim and like that its Wake ball up by 2 with 3 seconds left on the clock, GAME OVER...

This game taught me something, it taught me that despite all the youth on this roster and all the adversity of the Elias Harris incident this team has resiliency. This team has that special moxie that a screen writer couldnt pen for a blockbuster movie. This team has leadership in all the right places, an Inside/Outside game that is the best in the West. At the end of the day, this game teaches this team that it can be something special. We will make a run for our first Final Four this year, mark my words.

December 3, 2009

Scouting Report: Wake Forest

W-L: 4-2
RPI: 87
SOS: 286
Best Wins:
(205) Oral Roberts W 76-56
(210) East Carolina W 89-58

Best Losses:
(10) Purdue L 58-69
(68) William & Mary L 68-78

Current Rankings:
#87 RPI

Team Overview:
This is not a Wake Forest team that will be awarded high rankings during the regular season. It will take some time to overcome the loss of First Round Picks Jeff Teague and James Johnson, but the cupboard is certainly nowhere near bare. If Al-Farouq Aminu can continue to develop into an NBA talent and the newcomers can contribute, this team could find itself back in the NCAA Tournament.

Team Leaders:
Points: Al-Farouq Aminu 17.7
Assists: Ishmael Smith 5.0
Rebounds: Al-Farouq Aminu 11.0

Best Player:

Al-Farouq Aminu F 6-9 215 SO
Aminu is definitely one of the better players in the nation this year, most likely will be a top 15 Pick in this years draft.

My Take:
This game will not be easy, but this is not the Wake Forest of 2008-09. Gone are team leaders and first round picks Jeff Teague and James Johnson. Wake does return one of the most talented front court players in the nation in Al-Farouq Aminu, but the Prince alone cannot win this game for the Demon Deacons. I expect this to be close early, but Gonzaga to pull away in the end.

Final Score: Gonzaga 77 Wake Forest 65

Game Recap: Washingston St. Vs. Gonzaga

Final Score:Gonzaga 74 Washington St. 69

Box Score Snapshot
Scorer: Matt Bouldin 28 Points
Rebounder: Elias Harris 12 Boards
Passer: Matt Bouldin/Steven Gray 3 Assists
Swatter: Robert Sacre 2 Block
Thief: 5 with 2 Steals

Game MVP: Matt Bouldin
28 Points, 5 Boards, 3 Assists, 2 Steals and a Block...7 Big Threes!

Team Comparison: Zags/Cougars
Points: 74/69
Assist to /Turnover Ratio: 0.72/0.62
Rebounds: 33/34
Shooting Percentage: 49%/41%
3pt Percentage: 44%/36%

What it means for the future (Analysis):
Honestly the Bulldogs played like Garbage for 30 of the 40 minutes in this game. Even their comeback was ugly. But that doesnt matter, WE WON! We won after being down by 15, we won despite Steven Gray shooting Basketballs at a hoop the size of a Golf Ball Hole. Robert Sacre looked lost and frustrated at times as if he was being guarded by a young Shaq in his prime (I can assure you that DeAngelo Casto is no where near a Young Shaq in his prime). Even Elias Harris looked lost in the first half.

And then something happened. The Cougars began to finally miss their shots as well. The Bulldogs started picking apart their offense and forcing turnovers and before we knew what had happened the game was in single digits, the Zags as if on queue decided it was time to use the experience earned in Maui and send the upstart Cougars back to Pullman with a loss. At the end of the day, we won...The Cougars lost and all is well again in Eastern Washington.