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Can the Zags Keep the Momentum Going?

With USD somehow knocking off St. Mary's last night, this Gonzaga team has been given a truly stunning opportunity. If the Zags win out, a three-game losing streak would be thrown out the window and the program would lock up another WCC Regular-Season title. When you think about the fact that there are only 14 games in a WCC season, it's truly amazing to think that 11-3 would be enough to clinch a share of the championship. With that said, I am still hard-pressed to put a lot of faith in this group. Part of me wants to look at the fact that this team is just a couple of baskets away from having wins over USF, St. Mary's and Memphis in the past month. However, the other part of me clearly looks at the fact that a win is a win and a loss is a loss, so no matter how close this team may have been in some games, the bottom line is that they came out on the losing end. 

My big hope with the two games this week against Santa Clara and USF is that the coaching staff sticks with a smaller rotation and utilizes the rapidly developing frontline rotation of Rob Sacre, Elias Harris and Sam Dower. As both Zach and I have emphasized throughout the season, the best opportunity for this team to develop into a complete team is to utilize the size and athleticism in the paint. In my opinion, that means seeing a lot less of Kelly Olynyk and a lot more of Sam Dower. 

On the perimeter, seeing a backcourt of Marquise Carter, Demetri Goodson and Steven Gray makes a lot of sense. Over the past couple of weeks, Carter has grown really comfortable with the offense and has shown his versatility with his ability to score and pass on the perimeter. Having Marquise on the court also takes a lot of the pressure off Gray to do everything on the offensive end and opens him up to focus more on being an elite defender, which he is certainly capable of being. I'm nervous to put faith in this team again, but I keep thinking that this group might finally put everything together. For some reason I am going to continue to think that this team and coaching staff will evolve and Gonzaga will secure the 80-59 win.