It's never fun to have to read all the press clippings the day after a tough loss but there were a couple interesting ones which caught my attention. As we all know the Zags fell to the Wildcats 69-64 yesterday in Phoenix.
--Basketball Prospectus seems to attribute the loss to fatigue as well as some odd stat lines from Gonzaga's key players.
Meanwhile the Zags’ Josh Heytvelt, Jeremy Pargo, and Micah Downs were a combined 5-of-22. Austin Daye had a weird looking line: 22 points and five blocks but only three boards in 36 minutes unblighted by foul trouble. The weirdness was rooted in Daye’s defensive assignment. Few had the foul-prone sophomore guarding the utterly benign Jamelle Horne–and Horne stayed busy setting screens out top, far from the glass
--We're cursed! This article by AOL's Fanhouse notes an interesting trend in team's this season ranked #4...
This is the third time the No. 4 ranked team has been upset by a former powerhouse turned unranked team this season. Michigan beat then-No. 4 UCLA in the 2k Sports tournament. A few weeks later, Michigan would upset then-No. 4 Duke.
--A good excuse that may hold some water is the fact that this is a very fatigued team. They haven't played a home game in a month and have been to Orlando for a very emotional tournament, to Indiana, over to Pullman and then down to Phoenix since playing the University of Idaho on November 18th in Spokane. In this Seattle PI article, the author breaks down just how tired this team is.
In fact, Heytvelt's only basket was a 5-foot jumper with 8:26 remaining in the opening half. Aside from that, Few said, there was no spark, no energy and the kind of disappearance that can be deadly for a team with national-title aspirations.
"Yeah, we have Connecticut coming up, and they will test our toughness," Few said. "That's why I schedule these games, and play them in big arenas. We have done that with games in Seattle, and it's part of preparation."
I'm sure people will continue to speculate and criticize the Zags for their performance yesterday but the fact remains that Gonzaga is 7-1 and that is a very good record to have at this point. For now, we are in a wait and see mode with the polls to see how much this loss will affect the Bulldogs. We'll keep you updated when the polls get released!
Next up is the Texas Southern Tigers who happen to be 0-8 on the season. It appears that scheduling this game is going to turn out to be a stroke of genius. Not only is Gonzaga a very tired team but the game against Texas Southern should be a way for them to work on the small things and get their confidence up before taking the floor against Connecticut this coming weekend.