As this season has slowly progressed, it has become increasingly difficult for me to sit down and write these previews. Over the past two seasons, I think I have gone into pretty much every game with the ability to at least convince myself that there was some way that Gonzaga could leave the gym with a win. However, after watching stunningly inept performance over the past month, I have literally found myself thinking that there is no way Gonzaga survives this non-conference schedule. It has reached the point where I received a BBM from Zach telling me that somehow Joe Lunardi still had the Zags in the tournament. When I read this, my response was simply, "In the CBI or NIT?".
With each loss, my expectations/hopes for what I want to see in a particular performance have evolved as well. Instead of hoping to see this team come out with a win at Notre Dame, all I really want to see is an effort that doesn't leave me turning off the game to watch Cam Newton win a Heisman trophy that will be stripped away in three years. I never would have predicted this is what the season would come from, but after coming close to watching the Santa Clause 2 instead of the Washington St. game, I guess I shouldn't be surprised by anything.The frustrating part of this game is that there is no reason for Gonzaga to expect to lose. If you watched any of the Kentucky vs. Notre Dame game, then you know that if you play hard and push the tempo, this Notre Dame team can be beat. However, this would require the Zags to actually have an ounce of confidence on the fastbreak and a gameplan that they are comfortable executing.
Along with not being embarrassed for two hours, the other thing I hope to see is this coaching staff step outside of its comfort zone and change things up. For example, how about sitting down the two supposed leaders that accounted for 10+ turnovers against Washington State. Isn't it their job to step up and lead this team through the non-conference schedule and the emotions that come along with it?
In my opinion it is, and I think I would declare both Rob and Steven as failing at this task currently. So how about giving Sam Dower a start at the "5"? If it were up to me, we would see a starting lineup of Meech, Manny, the Hoff, Elias and Sam. This is a long and athletic lineup. and maybe it would make sense to utilize it in a 3/4 court press. However, as we have seen throughout the season, it would probably be a bit of surprise to actually see any sort of adjustment or major lineup change happen. As I have seen nothing that would make me believe that today will be any different, I'm going to go ahead and say that tonight will bring a 80-63 Notre Dame win.