It's a slow news day today so I thought I'd take a look at all the "experts" out there. We all know how we stack up going into next season. Might be interesting to see how others view the team. While I was at it, I pulled the rankings for the Dogs just to put things in perspective. There is nothing scientific about the predictions I selected. It appears to me these rankings are typical of the fare found on the internet.
Big XII Hoops, http://www.big12hoops.com/2010/6/2/1495796/2010-2011-college-basketball
Gonzaga #21; Washington #17
Michael Luchies, http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2904982/20102011_top_25_ncaa_basketball_preseason.html
Gonzaga #21; Washington -- no love at all -- not even a little.
2011 Early Top 50 Ranking by Shawn Siegel, http://www.collegehoopsnet.com/2011-early-top-50-ranking-168630
Gonzaga #33; Washington #36
The Big Lead, http://thebiglead.com/index.php/2010/04/06/2010-2011-college-basketball-top-20-the-very-very-early-edition/
Gonzaga #11-20 (now there's some analysis!); Washington #20-25
The Sports Bank.Net, http://www.thesportsbank.net/college-bball/2010-2011-college-basketball-pre-season-top-25/
Gonzaga #24; Washington #12 (assumed Terrance Ross would be a Huskey)
Gonzaga #29; Washington #22
Gonzaga #9; Washington #23 (also assuming Terrance Ross would play in Seattle)
Mitch's Minute, http://mitchsminute.wordpress.com/2010/04/08/early-top-25-for-2010-2011-college-basketball-season/
Gonzaga -- no love at all; Washington #20
I know most of these guys have never watch a game played on the west coast. They get most of their information watching ESPN highlights. It seems they feel compelled to include a PAC-10 school in their ranking scheme even though they don't know anything about the PAC-10. In so doing they overlook some really fine teams from the WAC, MWC and WCC.
The world of college basketball has changed. Gonzaga has probably played a very large part in bringing that change home to other schools. Over the past 10 years Gonzaga has proved, over and over again, a small school has the capability to put a quality team on the floor. The recognition and other intangibles that quality basketball team brings to a school far outweighs the costs associated with such a program.
Remember last year when the doubters questioned whether Matt Bouldin could lead the team and our inexperience would lead to a down year? Now the 'common wisdom' is that Matt Bouldin was the heart and soul of last year's team and even though he is the only starter not returning, we once again don't have what it takes to compete because we lack leadership!
Indeed there are more than a few folks out there that feel that Gonzaga has been supplanted at the top of the WCC by St. Marys!!! We shall see. I kinda like our chances.
Contrast these remarks with the treatment accorded to Washington! Remember them? Yeah, that team on the coast that used to schedule a pre-season game with us -- well until Romar decided the Dogs would only play cupcakes in the pre-season and Gonzaga definitely failed to qualify as a cupcake! (Portland fans, please do not take offense from this comment. We know how good you were/are. Romar just failed to do his homework.) Last year Washington was the team that could not win on the road. Before the PAC-10 tournament, most felt they wouldn't get in the tournament unless they won the PAC-10 -- which they did largely because Quincy Poindexter put the team on his back and carried it to the tournament. Now Poindexter is gone and . . .
Well most of you are used to this kind of treatment before the team steps on the floor. It seems like we go through this every year. Gonzaga plays on ESPN. Washington plays on Fox NW. Gonzaga plays a brutal pre-season schedule in venues all over the country. Washington hardly leaves it's home floor. Gonzaga sells out just about everywhere they play (home or away). Washington . . . (well I don't think they played a sold out game last year -- but maybe they sold out a tournament game -- I just don't know).
You know Gonzaga gets more exposure than Washington. You know more people watch Gonzaga play than watch Washington play. You know Gonzaga players have better hair than anyone in college basketball! You know Gonzaga is poised to be the best team in the West this year. The Huskies? Well they might be the best team in the PAC-10. Then again . . .
Prejudices and attitudes die a very long and agonizing death. The east coast bias will probably never go away. Folks have to get up in the morning to go to work. I understand that. Where teams on the west coast are concerned, it often seems reputation counts for more than anything else with folks that live in other time zones.
I guess I should be happy seeing Gonzaga appearing in so many top 25 lists. Six or seven years ago Gonzaga wouldn't even get mentioned. Now it seems we have risen to the level of the "oh yeah and I need to include a PAC 10 team" selection.
I think we deserve better than that! This program plays a tougher schedule, gets more exposure, and has more success than that "other Washington team".