Monday Morning Zags Around the Web

It's going to take a while to shake off the game I saw two days ago at Key Arena.  While it is nice to see all the praise coming in about this game being the best of the year, it feels like another choke job near the ranks of the UCLA debacle circa 2005.  It was one hell of a game but now the big concern is the emotional letdown heading into Portland State, who has the talent to shock the nation and down Gonzaga.  For now, let's just take a look around the web and see what people are saying...

-- We all know that Gonzaga is a damn talented basketball team but the major question is still whether or not they have the toughness to win in the clutch.  As of right now, I'd have to agree with the Seattle Sports Examiner in saying that this team has yet to show the ability to make the big play when it matters. 

Yet as good as it is, it's not good enough. The Bulldogs lost Saturday in the kind of fashion you might expect them to lose in the Sweet Sixteen. They just don't seem to be Ronny Turiaf- tough enough or Adam Morrison-clutch enough down the stretch.

-- Jeremy Pargo was schizophrenic in the game against Connecticut.   In the first half he was outstanding but in the second half he appeared remarkably human.  Many people did not see him pull up lame in the second half after a turnover and that set the stage for his struggles against UConn. Per Andy Katz...

The late turnovers by Jeremy Pargo against Connecticut were in part due to his cramping, according to the Gonzaga staff. That might explain why Pargo didn't feel he could get by UConn's guards the way he could earlier in Saturday's game.

-- Katz also makes a great point about the scheduling that Mark Few has done this season.  I felt at the start of the year that this slate of games was insanely demanding, especially for a team that came out of the blocks as a top-10 team.  As Katz points out...

Few admitted he may need to re-evaluate his program's scheduling. The Zags will get a tough test from Big Sky favorite Portland State Tuesday and then make two consecutive road trips to Utah (Dec. 31) and Tennessee (Jan. 7). The Zags will have played only two home games from Nov. 18 to Jan. 10. That just doesn't make sense for an elite program.

Two home games in basically two months is ridiculous.  I realize that the WCC is not a power conference and we have to play tough teams but the lengths which Gonzaga has gone to just to prove they belong has started to work against them.  Especially when you pair that with the fact that this is a tough time for any student-athlete with schoolwork and finals.  The insane weather conditions in Spokane could not have helped either.

-- One of my favorite blogs to read, Rush the Court, had a great piece on the Zags-Huskies match up.  Like many other national writers, they were infatuated with the Battle in Seattle.  They have dubbed it their game of the year so far and I would put money that the general public won't see a better game til March...

Each team brought NBA-level talent and NCAA Tournament intensity to this one, and it took an extra period to finish it off.  We really felt as if we were watching a March game in December.

-- As more of a personal note, I was happy to see this article when I was perusing the Internet.  Jim Calhoun is an excellent coach and we saw that the other day when he brought his team back from an 11 point deficit with 11:34 to play in an environment that maybe had 40 Connecticut fans and 16,000 Gonzaga fans.  Being in the student section, I was 20 feet away from Calhoun and...well...I'll just let this article express my viewpoints on him....

Almost every time a call went against his team, he berated the referees. Except he didn’t just yell. During one timeout he stood with his hands on his hips and just stared at a referee for about ten seconds. Another time he beckoned a ref with a dismissive hand motion that recalled a principal about to punish a wayward middle schooler. Consistently, though, when a referee explained the call or didn’t even respond to his antics, Calhoun would turn to the sycophantic suits on his bench, throw up his hands, and beg for affirmation. Am I right, guys? Aren’t these refs stupid?

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