Having to cheer for someone else to hand you something is never easy. I mean, we've done it before and Santa Clara and Saint Mary's have delivered, gifting us a shared title or letting us back into the race after we had played ourselves out of it. Last night, cheering for USF didn't even feel that wrong. As a friend of mine pointed out on facebook recently: "whoever is playing Saint Mary's is my second favorite team after the Zags." In the end USF couldn't pull off another upset and fell to a better team. We haven't played very well this year, and an objective fan will remember the struggles we had on the road with 2 freshman (3 counting guy landry edi) in the starting five.
So we're #2. Not what I wanted... I would have loved to be able to say we had the longest run of regular season titles ever, and I would have loved to have this one over UCLA too, but it didn't happen. Having 2-4 quality teams (LMU and USF taking turns being good) finally caught up to us, and Mark Few's juggling of lineups didn't help either. But this isn't an angry post... this is a post about how incredible this accomplishment really is. 11 straight regular season titles. A decade of dominance (product placement!) and consistent success in a game that rarely sees it outside of the elite programs. Teams like Kansas and North Carolina can reload their teams with 5 star recruits and incredible athletes that they can let loose on opposing teams. The talent gap they have is too much for others to overcome sometimes, but as a mid-major we don't always have that luxury. Through a lot of hard work and some impressive continuity on the coaching staff we've built ourselves into program that can sustain the loss of key players and make it to the tournament. I'm proud to have gone to school during this streak and to have been a part of this amazing run. Congrats to St. Mary's for... nope, not there yet mentally. Hell of a run Zags. Hell of a run.