December 31, 2012

Despite Turnovers, Gonzaga earns 5th win against Big 12 Foes

The game was ugly at times, no doubt about it.  Gonzaga committed 15 turnovers, to just 8 for Oklahoma State.  There were questionable calls and noticeable no calls, but Gonzaga still pulled out a 69-68 win over Oklahoma State, our 5th opponent from the Big 12.

With this win, we ended 2012 on a high note.  We finished non-conference play with 13 wins and just 1 loss.  We were 2-1 vs. ranked opponents, pulling out wins over Oklahoma State (ranked 22) and Kansas State (unranked at time of play, but now #25), and losing to Illinois (ranked 13 when we played them, now ranked 11).  We finished 5-0 versus the Big 12 with wins over OK State, K State, West Virginia, Baylor, and Oklahoma. 

Game Preview: Oklahoma State Cowboys

Location: Stillwater, OK (Gallagher-Iba Arena)

Today at 3pm PST/6pm EST on ESPN2

 It’s New Years Eve, are you ready for Zag Basketball? Gonzaga travels to Stillwater, Oklahoma today to play the Oklahoma State Cowboys. In what has become an every other New Years tradition of sorts, the Zags will face an Oklahoma State team that has gone 180-4 in the non conference home games over the last 25 years. Granted, OK State usually does not play ranked teams at home, but this should not lessen the importance of the Zags being able to travel and replicate the success we have enjoyed in Spokane thus far.
The Zags look to continue their perfect run through the Big 12 conference already with a 4-0 record against the likes of West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kansas St., and Baylor. This might just be the biggest test yet, as Travis Ford has his Cowboys in prime position to challenge their rival Big 12 Juggernauts, the Kansas Jayhawks, for conference Supremacy. 

 Oklahoma St. is 10-1 on the season with a big win over then #6 NC St. by 20 points. Their lone loss of the year came at the hands of a wildly inconsistent Virginia Tech team that has since lost to Georgia Southern and WCC member BYU. The Virginia Tech loss is about the only thing currently standing between OK St. and the top 10. 

December 28, 2012

Angel Nunez commits to Gonzaga

Per multiple sources including GU guard, Rem Bakamus, Gonzaga has received a verbal commitment from former University of Louisville forward Angel Nunez. News of the commitment came a couple hours after Gonzaga's win over Baylor.

We will have a full write up and scouting report on our newest Zag soon. As always, GO ZAGS!

December 27, 2012

Game Preview: Zags take on Baylor

Game Preview: Baylor University Bears

Opponent: Baylor
Location: Gonzaga (McCarthey Athletic Center)
Date: December 28 @ 5pm PST/8pm EST

Our journey through the Big 12 conference continues this weekend with two more teams on the horizon: Baylor on Friday night and Oklahoma State for our annual New Year’s Eve showdown. 

Gonzaga has already amassed three wins over Big 12 opponents: demolishing West Virginia, Oklahoma and Kansas State.  The closest contest was vs. Kansas State, and the Zags won that game by 16.  Gonzaga’s average winning margin over Big 12 opponents this season is 25 points. Now it is time to take on Baylor for the last home game of 2012.

Historically, the Zags have come on top in each of the three matchups vs. Baylor.  We last played this team in 2010, winning 65-60.  Baylor is riding a 3 game winning streak coming in to tomorrow’s game, though their strength of schedule is poor (Lamar, USC Upstate, and WCC foe BYU). 

Baylor is 8-3 this season and has been remarkably inconsistent.  They showed flashes of brilliance by beating then #8 ranked Kentucky at Rupp Arena (Baylor’s lone away game thus far) and ending UK’s 55 game home win streak.  Yet, they were beaten in close contests by College of Charlestown (63-59), Colorado (60-58), and Northwestern (74-70). 

So which team will come to play?  Let’s take a deeper look into the 2012-2013 Baylor Team:

December 26, 2012

Recruit Profile: Angel Nunez

According to Adam Zagoria over at, former Louisville Cardinal Sophomore forward Angel Nunez will visit Gonzaga starting Thursday 12/27 through Saturday 12/29. This means he will be in attendance for the Gonzaga-Baylor game and have a chance to see the campus in a quieter, less hectic setting with most of the students on winter break.

I live in Louisville and have had the chance to see Angel play in person at a few scrimmages and games. He is tall and slender with a good outside shot but seems to disappear at times. He had a tendency to not play focused defense, often frustrating Pitino who preaches to the defensive side of the ball. He most certainly could provide some outside shooting off the bench and has loads of potential, but he doesn't appear to be the type that would be more than a 7th or 8th man off the bench. Angel has had an unlucky string of injuries and illnesses that have conspired to keep him off the court, ultimately culminating in what Coach Rick Pitino called the worst concussion hes ever seen earlier this season. His health is going to obviously be a concern for the GU staff. He still has red-shirt eligibility and will likely be eligible as a sophomore after he sits a year, this could bode well for him if he can get in the weight room and practice with our guys, perhaps he can find a role in Spokane. We will keep you posted as we learn more.

Video after the jump:

December 25, 2012

Weekly Rankings

Sorry for the late post, its Christmas so ive been a bit preoccupied. We are also missing a couple voters this week. Cant wait for friday night, BEAT BAYLOR! GO ZAGS!

1. Duke 64 (4)
2. Michigan 59
3. Louisville 54
3. Arizona 54
5. Indiana 46
6. Kansas 44
7. Cincinnati 36
8. Missouri 34
9. Gonzaga 28
10. Syracuse 21
11. Illinois 20
12. Ohio St. 19
13. Georgetown 12
14. Butler 10
14. Minnesota 10
16. San Diego St. 9

AP: 13
Coaches: 13
ESPN: 12
CBS: 14
KenPom: 14

December 20, 2012

Gonzaga sweeps by Campbell 74 to 52

Yesterday’s game was designed to be a walk in the park; a tune-up game inserted into the schedule to keep the team focused heading into Christmas break and to further iron out any issues that had popped up during the past few weeks (notably: defensive pressure and free throws).

Campbell was 3-7 coming into yesterday’s game.  Their best win was against Appalachian State on November 16, and to top it off they were without their leading scorer, Darren White who averages 21.9 ppg and has missed four straight games due to a hand injury.  Everyone knew that Campbell couldn’t compete with Gonzaga’s talent, depth, or size, but with that knowledge always comes uneasiness – will the Zags look past this team and put forth a sub-par effort?  That was not the case last night as Gonzaga won 74 to 52.

The second the game started, it became clear that Gonzaga was committed to putting in a strong defensive effort.  The very first possession of the game resulted in a shot clock violation for Campbell.  Gonzaga pressed on numerous positions, double- teamed often, and the effort paid off as they held Campbell to 32.7% field goals and forced 14 turnovers.

"We were pitiful in defensive transition early and their press, I was not expecting to be pressed," Campbell coach Robbie Laing said. "Their press was way more effective than I thought it would be. (That) allowed them to separate early and coast the rest of the way."

WCC on the rise, Jabari Parker, and Robert Sacre?

So as Gonzaga was whooping Campbell last night, a few thoughts crossed my mind...

First off.  The WCC is a good conference. Of the 32 NCAA Division 1 conferences, only 4 currently have all teams sitting with .500 or above records. These four conferences are the ACC, the Big East, the Big 12, and the WCC. I will note that the Big 10, PAC 12, and the Mountain West each only have one team preventing them from making this list.  (I don't even want to talk about the SEC, BLUH!)

What does this mean? This may be the WCC's best top-to-bottom conference ever. Every year critics rave about how this is the best the WCC has been, but I think they are right. The WCC has been trending up ever since Gonzaga made that first NCAA Tourney run. Would Gonzaga leave the conference they helped build into a quality presence in Division 1 Basketball for the all Catholic League? I'm not sure, but I do know it will be a very tough decision.  

December 19, 2012

Game Thread: Campbell vs. Gonzaga

We all know this is simply a bridge game, one of those games that just fills a hole in the schedule. Campbell is not a good team. They play in the perennial one bid league, the Big South. They are paced by senior guard Darren White who averages 21.9 points and 7 Boards a game (although he hasnt played the last few games. Expect a blowout to the tune of GU 92 Campbell 55.


December 17, 2012

Mark Few on Catholic League

Weekly Rankings

1. Duke 80 (5)
2. Michigan 75
3. Louisville 63
4. Syracuse 61
5. Indiana 55
5. Arizona 55
7. Ohio St.49
8. Florida 47
9. Illinois 41
10. Kansas 39
11. Gonzaga 30
12. Cincinnati 29
13. Creighton 16
14. Missouri 13
15. Minnesota 10
16. New Mexico 7

Others Receiving Votes: Georgetown 3, Notre Dame 2, Butler 2, UNLV 1, Wichita St. 1

AP: 14
Coaches: 14
ESPN: 13
CBS: 16
KenPom: 11

December 14, 2012

Battle in Seattle: Gonzaga vs Kansas State

Kansas State Wilcads vs Gonzaga Bulldogs
Saturday, Dec. 15th @ 6:00PM, Key Arena- Seattle

Gonzaga Men’s Basketball is coming off a frustrating defeat against Illinois last Saturday, but has an opportunity this weekend to erase that memory in the 10th annual Battle in Seattle.  Gonzaga is looking to regain their momentum by knocking off a 7-1 Kansas State team at 6:00pm this Saturday night in the Key Arena, downtown Seattle. 

Kansas State will be visiting the Emerald City under first year head coach Bruce Weber, however, Bruce is no stranger to the Battle in Seattle.  In fact, he headed a 73-61 Victory over the Zags in the same venue two years ago with the same Fighting Illini team that beat Gonzaga in Spokane last week.  In a way, beating a Bruce Weber coached team can serve as revenge from two years ago, and a way to feel better about last week’s struggle at home.

Similar to the Illinois team we faced last week, Kansas State’s top three scorers coming into the game are guards.  Senior Rodney McGruder leads the team with 12.9 ppg while the only other double-digit scorer for the Wildcats is Sophomore Angel Rodriguez with 10.5 ppg.  Angel also leads the team in assists with 4.5 apg, and sophomore forward Thomas Gibson leads the team with 6.9 rebounds per contest.

December 13, 2012

The Catholic Basketball Conference

The Big East is no more. Ok...well maybe the Big East will survive, but in a much different state than it is currently in. It has appeared inevitable for months as we watched the Big East continue to be the victim of the bigger football conferences. Schools like Syracuse, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, TCU, Notre Dame, Rutgers, and Louisville have all moved on. Instead of retooling with quality, the conference focused on quantity with the addition of schools like Tulane, East Carolina, SMU, and UCF. So, in what has been one of the worst kept secrets, the “Catholic Seven” (Georgetown, Villanova, Marquette, Providence, Saint John’s, Seton Hall, and DePaul) have decided to exit the Big East and form a new Basketball-only conference. You may be asking what does this have to do with Gonzaga? Well for one, according to sources, Gonzaga has already reached out to the Catholic Seven and has put feelers out there to see if they are interested in making this a national conference. Also, Gonzaga is a catholic institution (Jesuit to be specific), they are a school without a Football program, and they happen to be one of most consistent successful basketball schools in the nation. This makes the Zags very attractive to the emerging basketball-only league. From Gonzaga’s perspective, the Basketball program is at a point where it can plateau and stagnate in the West Coast Conference or it can move on find a more lucrative arrangement and continue to grow. Growth could mean more money for the endowment of the university and increased television revenue. Not to mention what a boon this would be for the recruiting potential of Mark Few and Women’s coach Kelly Graves.

December 10, 2012


Its that time of the week for the Zagaholic Rankings:

1.Duke 95 (5)
2. Indiana 89 (1)
3. Michigan 86
4. Florida 73
4. Syracuse 73
6. Louisville 70
7. Ohio St. 55
8. Arizona 49
9. Kansas 47
10. Illinois 44
11. Cincinnati 29
12. Missouri 28
13. Gonzaga 27
14. Minnesota 15
15. Georgetown 10
16. Notre Dame 8

Others Receiving Votes: New Mexico 7, Creighton 7, San Diego St. 3, UNLV 1

AP: 14
Coaches: 14
ESPN: 13
CBS: 16
CBS RPI:  20
Kenpom: 12

December 8, 2012

Illinois Game Recap

Welp, it had to happen eventually. Games like this are familiar and uncomfortable for so many reasons. For the first time all year, we couldn’t shoot ourselves out of a tough matchup. Once again, we failed to exploit our size advantage down low (we did OK the first ten minutes). For the first time all year, Harris seemed to disappear. Once again, a hot three point shooting team lit us up. For the first time all year, our turnovers really caught up to us, and we couldn’t counter that with our offensive rebounding advantage. Once again, a tweener type, 6’5” – 6’8,” who can shoot and attack off the dribble absolutely crushed us and we had no answers. Rough night, but enough of our team’s issues came to a head that it was, in some ways, inevitable.  

I’d be lying to you if I said that I saw this coming. I didn’t. While I was aware of Brandon Paul’s skillset, the deep stable of hot shooting guards, and the general talent at Illinois, I thought all of that would be negated by our size in the paint and our backcourt's ability to stay in front of shooters. For the first 15 minutes of the game, I felt vindicated. Olynyk and Harris were scoring at will. Karnowski played well. Illinois had no answer for our big men and Paul started creeping away from his man beyond the three point line to block shots from behind (an athletic play, but the kind of thing that can get you in trouble against a smart team). This game got away from us because we turned the ball over in the first half, went to a 3-2 zone occasionally (giving them their first easy buckets of the game and getting their offense in gear), and our backcourt missed a TON of open threes. That’s not exactly a formula for success.

Twelve turnovers in the first half! Illinois had 5 (I believe, I don’t feel like looking at the box score right now), but managed to score 20 points off of our turnovers. If you had told me pregame that we would have 12 turnovers and we went into halftime tied at 41… well, I would have said something like: “shit, that sounds crazy.” Illinois did a good job playing aggressive defense on our guards, but many of the turnovers were from lazy passing or bad hands by Karnowski, Olynyk, and Harris. They have to get better at catching the ball in traffic and kicking the ball out if the shot isn’t there.


Olynyk kept us in the game for a stretch, shooting very well and generally being a productive player despite his turnover problems. He shot 7-9 from the field and was aggressive, which is nice. Gary Bell started out aggressive and went after his shot, which I absolutely loved. We need more of that from him. He fought his way into the lane and hit a couple tough floaters. That aggressiveness waned later on, but he was the only guard I was comfortable with shooting the ball all game. Harris was great early but he disappeared over the course of the game as the Zag backcourt failed to get him the ball consistently. When he had the ball, he did some good things, but the team didn’t scheme properly to get him involved. He’s a Wooden candidate people, this stuff isn’t that hard.


Allllll sorts of stuff here, but I’ll keep it brief. Pangos was awful. Probably should have been benched… just absolutely no flow to his game, not great on defense, and generally just off. Having Stockton on your bench allows you to bench your star guard if he isn’t playing well but Few thought otherwise, probably because Stockton’s late rotations led to 2-3 three pointers. Hmm… what else? Karnowski looked lost on D, but was very effective on offense. I think against a team like Illinois Few decided that Karnowski couldn’t chase a faster forward around, which is probably accurate. Brandon Paul had 35 (!) points against a variety of defenders, but definitely had his fair share of wide open shots. At some point, the coaching staff has to figure out how to shut someone down when they're going crazy like that. I don't know, double teams? Hard hedging after a ball screen to get the ball out of his hands? Something.

I put most of this loss on Coach Few, which seems like an easy cop out, but I think it’s pretty clear. Switching from man defense to a 3-2 zone gave Illinois 6 quick points (on an open 3 and a layup/foul shot) that absolutely put a dent in our early aggressive demeanor. For whatever reason, our scouting reports failed to pick up on the fact that the 3 point shot is the focal point of the Illini offense. Against a team like this, you should never go underneath a screen on the three point line, but every one of our guards did this at multiple points in the game. How does Few not make this a point of emphasis before the game? An open three point shot is the ideal result of an offensive possession for their team, meaning that guards should fight over or through screens, rather than give up the long distance shot. Inexcusable.

Rough night, but an opportunity for growth nonetheless. Hopefully, Coach Few uses this loss to hammer home more defensive principles and show that despite our high octane (usually) offense, we can’t shoot our way out of everything. There are plenty of teams that can shoot with us, but few who can hang with us in the post, and I’m sure all of those entry pass turnovers will be shown on repeat for the next few days. Tough loss! But early season losses can galvanize a team to fix weaknesses and evolve together. Let’s see if that happens. 

December 7, 2012

Illinois Team Preview

The Fighting Illini fired Coach Bruce Weber last year after a disastrous Big Ten campaign that shelled their chances at snagging an at-large NCAA tournament bid. They had talent too, and bring back several key players this year, making last year’s failure all the more galling. Their new coach, John Groce, has a reputation as a stellar recruiter and led Ohio University to the Sweet Sixteen last year. He knows the Midwest, and I think he’s a great fit in Champaign.

For this preview, I thought I would pick the brain of Tom Fornelli, editor of “The Champaign Room,” an Illini blog over at SBnation (link here). It’s a great blog, so give it a look if you have the time. I asked him a few questions about this year’s Illini team which he graciously answered, and I’ll post his responses after the jump.

December 6, 2012

Gonzaga steals a close one in Pullman

Get it? We "stole" one? Haaaa. AP photo - Dean Hare

I went to a game watch at a bar here in Salt Lake City (put on by my overly talented friend Emily Stokes), and while I wasn’t drinking during the game I definitely could have used a shot after Pangos bailed us out with one of those running bankers that are becoming a trend. I had Meech flashbacks, which hasn’t happened in a while. It turns out, one does not simply walk into Pullman and get an easy victory. There is evil there that does not sleep. Before I get started, I owe some people apologies. 

December 5, 2012

Gonzaga @ WSU


8:00PM on ESPN U

Many Zags fans are going into Wednesday night’s game against WSU thinking one thing: Will this be the first Gonzaga Basketball team to start the season 9-0? Upperclassmen Elias Harris, Sam Dower, Kelly Olynyk, David Stockton and Mike Hart are all thinking something else: REVENGE. These players were on the squad two years ago that played a very good WSU team in Pullman and were pretty much blown out after halftime. I remember having to watch that game at a bar in Seattle as it was aired on ESPN U (as it is again this year).  It was one of the most frustrating games of that season, let alone in recent memory.  It felt like Gonzaga couldn’t do anything right. Rest assured, the players who were on the squad that year do not want to allow the youngsters on the team to know how that feels.  I’m looking for the veterans to be fired up in this one.

December 4, 2012

Eating Crow

I have been outspoken about the fact that I have never been a fan of David Stockton. In fact I even wrote an article on why Draino would steal all of his minutes.  I have said such things as: His last name is the reason he is on the team; his 3-point shot has more arch than a middle school girl’s; he just cannot succeed at a D1 level;he tries to force the ball too much and causes stupid turnovers; and his lack of size and athleticism make him a liability against top-tier teams.

I’ve also been hard on Mike Hart, saying that he is what he is, but that isn’t a Gonzaga basketball player. He doesn’t have the skill set to play for an elite D1 team. He hustles and throws his body around, but in doing so he fouls too much and causes the rest of his team to get out of position. He is so concerned with drawing charges that he forgets to play defense, and his lack of a shooting touch allows other teams to play off him and clog our lanes.
I thought neither of them deserved time on a top-10 team.

David and Mike, I want to offer my sincere apologies. I was wrong.

December 3, 2012

Zagaholic Top 16

Here are our Week 3 Rankings, again these are tabulated in the same way that the AP Poll is tabulated. Teams are awarded points based on where they sit in the rankings from 16 points for 1st place, to 1 point for 16th place. Total Points awarded appear next to the team with 1st place votes appearing in parenthesis.

1. Duke 77 (2)
2. Michigan 74 (2)
2. Indiana 74 (1)
4. Florida 60
5. Louisville 55
6. Ohio St. 54
7. Syracuse 53
8. Gonzaga 50
9. Kansas 36
10. Arizona 33
11. Illinois 18
12. Missouri 17
13. Cincinnati 12
14. Minnesota 11
15. Georgetown 10
16. New Mexico 9
16. Notre Dame 9

Others Receiving Votes: Oklahoma St. 6, North Carolina St. 4, San Diego St. 4, Kentucky 4, Creighton 3, Baylor 3, VCU 2, Boise St. 1, North Carolina 1

Other Publication Rankings
AP: 10
Coaches: 10
CBS Sports: 8
KenPom: 5

December 2, 2012

Gonzaga 85 – Pacific 67 AND 'Some Interesting Stats'

Travis Fulton came off the bench to provide 15 points and sparked the Pacific Tigers to an early lead last night with his 3/4 shooting beyond the arc. The Tigers jumped to an 18-10 lead 7½ minutes into the game to give Gonzaga fans their first real scare early on in the season. This scare was short lived, as the Zags were able to clamp down on defense and go on some impressive scoring runs that found them with a double-digit lead by halftime.

   Sam Dower going up for a shot

Sam Dower continued his efficient shooting with 18 points off the bench. He also showed some grit by pulling down 9 rebounds to lead the Zags to their first 8-0 start since the 94-95 season. Three other Zags scored in double figures with Elias Harris scoring 17, Kelly Olynyk with 15, and Pangos putting up 12 points. Bell had 9 points and a team high 4 assists to help the Bulldogs beat an athletic team that looks to produce fun to watch games when they join the WCC next year.