FanPost

Jay Bilas wraps up Maui 2009

The great ESPN color commentator has more praise for Gonzaga after his time in Maui:

http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?name=bilas_jay

A team wrap:

Gonzaga is tough and talented. While the Zags are not deep, the first five are really good. Big men Robert Sacre and Elias Harris could start on any team in the nation, and Mark Few has two complete guards in Matt Bouldin and Steven Gray. I was most impressed with Gonzaga's defense. The Zags guarded the ball well, limited penetration, and outrebounded Cincinnati in the final. If the Zags stay healthy, this team has a good chance to play past the first weekend of the NCAA tournament. And watch Harris and his emerging post game. He is one of the few post players that can catch the ball well off of the lane and make a credible move. He is still raw, but he pursues the ball as well as any player I have seen all season. Harris has the chance to be special.

Some awards:

Tournament MVP: Steven Gray, Gonzaga. He was assertive and multi-dimensional -- and you had better watch him on inbounds plays. He scores on a lot of them. Runner-up: Robert Sacre, Gonzaga

Keeps Playing Award: Matt Bouldin, Gonzaga. Cincinnati decided that it would trust its big men to defend one-on-one in the post and double-teamed Bouldin and Gray off of ballscreens. Bouldin was taken out of the game offensively, but still managed to grab 11 rebounds. He is a strong guard and can post up most any guard that draws his assignment. Runner-Up: Jordan Taylor, Wisconsin

Best Post Scorer: Robert Sacre, Gonzaga. Runner-Up: Derrick Williams, Arizona

Best Passer: Matt Bouldin, Gonzaga. Runner-Up: Brad Tinsley, Vanderbilt

Fastest Player: Demetri Goodson, Gonzaga. Runner-Up: Nic Wise, Arizona

Best Motor: Elias Harris, Gonzaga. Runner-Up: Mike Bruesewitz, Wisconsin

And my personal favorite:

Gonzaga Comparison: With Butler's success, asking whether the Bulldogs have reached the same level as Gonzaga is inevitable. Instead of simply stating that Butler is an outstanding team and a great program and why, we seem intent upon comparing the Bulldogs and the Zags and asking whether the two occupy the same sphere (as if that really means anything substantive). That is certainly a deserved compliment to Butler, but I don't believe the comparison is quite fair to Gonzaga.

Even though Butler has been to eight NCAA tournaments since 1997 and has twice been to the Sweet 16, Gonzaga has been to 11 straight NCAA tournaments and has won its league crown for nine straight years. No other team in the nation can boast such incredible consistency at such a high level within its own league. You have to go all the way back to John Wooden's UCLA teams and Adoph Rupp's Kentucky teams to find others that have. For any program to win its league nine straight times is beyond remarkable, especially when there is complete player turnover every four years. Butler has done an extraordinary job and is one of the nation's best programs, but what Gonzaga has done is simply off-the-charts and incomparable.

Great stuff from Jay as he was obviously impressed with the Zags in Maui.  I've always been bothered by the Butler comparison and never totally understood why they got so much hype so it's nice to see Bilas put it so eloquently.

This post does not reflect the views of the blog authors or SB Nation.

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