Sunday, March 02, 2008

Saint Marys at Gonzaga

The battle for WCC supremacy was entertaining and fun! Up and down, up and down, despite Craig Ehlo ;-) The Zags only lost one WCC game so far, at Saint Mary's and this win gives them the regular season crown, on their own if they win on Monday, and a split if they win and the Gaels lose.

St. Mary's tries and fought hard against the crowd and home-cooking but Gonezaga was just too much to handle. Since the last time I watched the Zags played, they look like a much improved team. They may even win a game in the NCAA tourney again - as the underdog darling they used to be, before they became everyone's favorite Cinderella.

Why did the Zags look good? Depth and versatility! Pargo no longer has to carry the weight of the Zags world on his shoulders. He's got Tuff Cookie Bouldin and Gray to help with ball handling. Meanwhile upfront the team is loaded with different types of players, two athletic and rangy forwards in Daye and the Kansas transfer; a high-energy Lorenzo Mata-Real type in the Saint Joe's transfer (Kuso), two seven footers in Sucre and Foster, and a prodigal son in Heytvelt. But more effective of all is Pendo - the quintessential (not sure what it means, I was told to use it to make this post sound more educated) college basketball player.

But Saint Mary's is no chopped wood! They can play and they have their own depth. They also have played that force mismatches, from Diamon Simpson, to Patrick Mills to the space-eater Samhan, to the video game character coming off the bench ;-)

Both teams looked like at least NCAA bubble teams last year, although the battle for bubble spots will be ferocious this season. The way the WCC conference tourney is setup, these two teams are heading into a clash in the WCC conference tourney final on ESPN. All they have to do is win the semifinal. That's right, the top two teams start the conference tournament in the semifinals! CRAZY!

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