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December 31 , 2008
No. 16 (AP)
No. 17 (USA Today)
NR (USA Today)
Probable Starting Lineups:
|Utah Running Utes||Ht.||Wt.||Pos.||Yr.||PPG||RPG||APG|
Keys to the game...
Play with a Killer Instinct: We saw the killer instinct in the Old Spice Classic and for about 30 minutes in the UConn game. Gonzaga was sleepwalking through the Portland State game and the Vikings knocked them on their butt. Three losses later, the Zags are at a huge point of their season. Win and it is possible that they could run the table for the rest of the year. The most losses I can see if the Zags win tonight is two which would mean a five loss season. Lose tonight, Gonzaga could lose as many as four or five games. The conference is bad, but Portland State wasn't that good either so you never know who could sneak up and bite Gonzaga if they continue to simply show up for games.
Outrebound the Utes: This should be the number one key to the game. Gonzaga has proven to be the smallest big team in the nation (still love that saying). They have been outrebounded by 19 in the past two games. They were absolutely embarassed against the Vikings of Portland State who's leading rebounder throughout the season is 6'7''!!!! This is completely unacceptable. Nevill is 7'2'' and will get his share of rebounds but aside from that, they don't have a whole lot. Utah has a better rebounding margain this season than Gonzaga but haven't really faced a team with the length of Gonzaga.
Score points in the lane: God bless the Zags but somone has to tell them that they aren't a very good three point shooting team. As I mentioned in the preview, only two Zags are shooting a higher percentage from outside and that is Matt Bouldin and Josh Heytvelt. Micah Downs is shooting the same percentage and everyone else is shooting worse. We've seen Matt Bouldin and Austin Daye's mid-range game. They can be excellent. Micah Downs has the build to be a slasher and Steven Gray showed in the UConn game that he can get the rim very effectively. Hopefully Mark Few is stressing the hell out of these things. The three point shot is something that Gonzaga has excelled at in years past, but this team has different abilities.
GO ZAGS! AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!