Zags Around the Web

As Gonzaga continues to climb up the national rankings, it seems that there is no shortage of GU related stories across the Internet. Here are some of our favorites stories that we have seen over the past week.

If this story doesn't get Gonzaga fans pumped for the rest of the season, I'm not sure anything can (click here to read). While we all have extremely high expectations for the team this year, it seems that the guys on the team are starting to believe in an undefeated season.

"We have a possibility of going undefeated," guard Matt Bouldin said this week. "That's something all of us are thinking about."

"It's always good to have zero losses," added Josh Heytvelt, whose rejuvenated play has been a major factor this season.

In their past five games, the Zags have beaten Oklahoma State, Maryland, No. 8 Tennessee, Indiana and Washington State -- all on the road.

While some might take this as a sign of cockiness from the Zags, I look at it as motivation for the season. With this attitude, the team will enter every game with a giant chip on their shoulder, and a strong desire to put together a historical undefeated season. I'm not sure there is any better motivation then striving for perfection.

Over at SLAM magazine, there was a terrific article about the relationship between Gonzaga and Spokane (click here to read). This was a fascinating story, as the author does an excellent job of describing the unique role that Gonzaga plays in the Spokane community. Be sure to check out the story about Matt Bouldin.

It was the importance of this team to the town, however, that grabbed my attention, maybe the strongest. Like Salt Lake and San Antonio, Spokane is kind of a one-trick pony. Yes, there are no professional teams there, but the Zags more than fill that void in both size and veracity, as they are treated like royalty both on and off campus. With the team’s prolonged success and the lack of any football team in sight (Washington St. is the de facto college team with Pullman just an hour down the road) the program is respected and beloved year-round in the city of around 200,000 people.

Rarely have I seen an author who was able to capture the reality of the Gonzaga program this well. Many people who are not familiar with Spokane don't understand how Gonzaga is able to recruit so many top prospects to the area. In Spokane, Gonzaga is the main attraction and the top sporting event in the city. What 18-22 year old does not want to be treated like a rock-star and play in front of sold out crowds every game?

ESPN recently came out with their Power Rankings for this week(click to see rankings). Much to the chagrin of Gonzaga fans, the Zags were ranked #3, in a tie with Pitt.

If the Zags proved one thing this past week it was that they sure know how to beat Kelvin Sampson's former teams. They rolled to victories over Indiana and Wazzu. Time to schedule OU?

Two things that I took from the ESPN rankings. First, why does ESPN continue to allow Dick Vitale to vote? The reason that Gonzaga was not ranked #3 on its own was because good old Dickie V ranked the Zags 5th. This was the lowest ranking that GU received from any of the 10 voters. Even more surprising is Vitale's rankings of Memphis and Xavier. In his most recent poll, Vitale has the 5-1 Tigers ranked #10, and the 8-0 Musketeers #12. I wonder if Vitale realizes that the one team to beat the Memphis Tigers this year was none other than......the Xavier Musketeers. Unbelievable voting by Dickie V!!

I also am curious how any voter can justify having Pitt ranked ahead of the Zags. As of today, the Zags have defeated quality opponents like Maryland, Tennessee, and Washington St. On the other hand, Pitt has defeated top programs like Duquesne, Belmont, Vermont, and Washington State. Let's take a look at how both these teams did against their one common opponent. Pitt defeated WSU 57-43 in a "neutral" court game in New Jersey. Gonzaga defeated WSU 74-52 in Pullman. So despite Gonzaga having a much more convincing victory over a common opponent, as well as quality victories over opponents from the Big 12, SEC, and Pac 10, Pitt continues to be ranked ahead of the Zags. Consider me a little confused by this trend.

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