If you've watched the Bulldogs play the last several games, you know this team is not where it needs to be if it wants to win the WCC Tournament, let alone get to the Sweet 16+ in the NCAAs. This team hasn't played a good game since the SMC/LMU home stand back in early February and has had a turnover epidemic pretty much all season.
Monday's opponent is the Longwood Lancers, an independent school out of Virginia. Longwood is a team that lacks size. Their leading rebounder and scorer is Antwan Carter, a 6'6" 225lb center; that's roughly the size of Guy Landry Edi. Even though the Lancers are undersized, one of the things I would like to see Few try is a lineup featuring Elias Harris, Sam Dower, and Robert Sacre. I think this lineup can offer so much on the offensive end, especially in terms of second chance opportunities. On the defensive end, a 2-3 zone with a back line of Harris, Dower, and Sacre would be very formidable. While I don't think this lineup is "the answer" to our problems, it is another look to throw at WCC opponents who will be seeing us for the third time in a matter of months.
Speaking of changing up looks, Few & Co. really need to mix things up on the defensive side of the ball. Playing a man to man defense all game is fine. But if you're going to do that, you need to mix up how you handle ball screens. Switching every single ball screen against USD left Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell over-matched trying to defend a 6'10" forward in the post. While Sacre and Harris can defend the perimeter fairly well, Pangos and GBJ picked up several fouls trying to get position against bigger opponents. I would also like to see us mix in some zone with our man to man. Even if it's only for a few possessions each game, it gives the offense something else to think about and forces to opponent to make an adjustment..
In general, two things that Gonzaga need to improve on for both of its upcoming tournaments are turnovers and hustle on the defensive glass. The Zags have had 32 turnovers and given up 27 offensive rebounds the last 2 games alone. I don't know if there's an overarching coaching concept that can be applied to limit both of these; it seems as if players need to smarter with the ball and play within themselves and have a willingness to box out their man, even if their man is the shooter or a guard.
What say you Zag fans? What would you like to see out of this team in its final tune-up game?
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