An Injured Cougar {BYU} Comes Calling: Can GU pull one more Rabbit out of it's Hat?

For Gonzaga, Thursday's game at the Kennel against BYU will pretty much settle things for the WCC Title, and the seeding for the WCC Conference Championship in Vegas.

Two things need to happen in order for the Zags to share the WCC regular season title with St. Mary's and get an auto bid into the semi-finals in Vegas. 1. Win our remaining two games vs BYU and San Diego. 2. We also need St. Mary's to lose another game.

I believe we can do this. We play extremely well at home {see: recent thumpdowns of SMC & LMU}. BYU does not play as well on the road as they do in the Merriot Center. Also, unfortunately, BYU also comes in having suffered a significant player injury.

The injury news on the BYU front: They are going to come into the Kennel with their top scoring player, Noah Hartsock, either unable to play, or in most likelihood not able to contribute anywhere near 100%. He went down this Saturday with what initially appeared to be a severe knee injury. Turns out it is not as bad as first thought, but he is unable to practice fully as of today.

And on the SMC front: St. Mary's will be without their star guard, Stephen Holt, who is done for the season with a knee injury. SMC has lost 3 of it's last 4 and look to be taking quite the nose-dive since his injury.

Not very long ago it looked like the historic streak of consecutive WCC Titles was lost. We receievd a reprieve when we performed spectacularly in a two win weekend over SMC and LMU, coupled with a loss by SMC to LMU, we suddenly were not only alive but controlled our own destiny. But then, before losing the high of this fortuitous turn of events...we choked at USF on Saturday and that pretty much dashed our hopes for once and all. Or did it? With this sudden rash of injuries we have extra hope. But, should there be an asterisk after such a streak if aided along by them?

I do not want to win the WCC title because our opponents suffered injuries. I hate to even think about it but, the unthinkable has happened. I remember a few years ago that SMC had a very good team, argueably better than this years version. We played them in a defining game at the Kennel where they led us at halftime. Unfortunately, their star guard Patty Mills, broke his wrist just before the half and we went on to win the game and keep our streak alive. I bring this up becaue there are those who suggest if Mills had played the whole game we would not be taking about a steak right now.

If we play very well, win out, and even win the WCC Tourney, there will be questions. Of course, I do like it that we are still alive and in a position to reach our season goals. I do not like it that we may be able to get there partially, because of our opponents terrible luck.

Yes, I know injuries are a part of the game. We have had players with injuries this season too and who's to say we would not have won the first meeting at SMC if Robert Sacre's thumb was not injured or how much the loss of Ryan Spangler has cost us? I guess we will never know...But if we win out and SMC falls flat...there will be questions.

What do you think about our chances now, and about the recent injuries to our two best competitors players?

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

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