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When predictions go wrong: Zags travel to LMU

It's amazing to think how close we are to March Madness. I can vividly remember the seemingly endless summer we all sat through, just longing for the season to begin. There was all the discussion about how this team would miss Austin Daye, whether or not Bol Kong would ever play in a Gonzaga uniform, and wondering just how good this Elias Harris guy would be when he finally showed up on campus.

All of a sudden, we are now nearing the end of February, and this Gonzaga team is on its final road trip of the season. A sweep of the Southern California schools this weekend would give Gonzaga its 10th consecutive WCC championship, while I suspect there will be a little sense of revenge on the mind of the Zags when USF and Santa Clara travel to the MAC next weekend.

The key to this road trip against LMU and Pepperdine is to continue to see signs of improvement on a game-by-game basis, especially from Rob Sacre and Demetri Goodson. With those two developing, and the roles and minutes becoming so clearly defined, there is obviously the expectation that this team will be peaking at the right time of the season.

Despite my outlandish decision to pick LMU to finish second in the WCC (I need to go back and delete that post from the history of this site), I think it's important to remember the multiple scoring options that this team has. One of the clear areas that must be improved on during this road trip is the defensive ability to slow down the scoring combo guards that this team has struggled with throughout the season. I don't think I need to remind everybody about just how dominant Keion Bell and Vernon Teel were when Pepperdine and LMU visited Spokane. It will be interesting to see if the coaching staff elects to go with Steven Gray or Meech on Teel in the match up tonight., 

I will continue to state my belief that the offense must continue to focus on feeding Sacre the ball and building his confidence up as we get towards the end of the season. A confident and involved Sacre is when this team is at its best and most dangerous. Not only does it give this team another scoring option, but it also takes some of the pressure off Elias as the only option that can score in the paint. Rob has started to look more dangerous each game, and I really believe that we are starting to see the Sacre that was so impressive early in the season.

So what should we expect from the Zags tonight? Like many of you guys, I would love to see a chance to let guys like Matt Bouldin, Steven Gray, and Elias Harris lots of rest. I would prefer to see the guys jump out to an early lead and maybe get Kong some extra playing time so he can continue to boost his confidence, and perhaps get Grant Gibbs some more minutes just in case he needs to play a key role in March. I get the sense that LMU might keep it close through the first 10 minutes, but I expect Gonzaga to pull out the comfortable 74-55 victory.