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Sporting News: "Soft" Zags Check In At #21

A decently fun read from The Sporting News that has the Bulldogs at #21 in the country. I'd expect most national polls to have Gonzaga here to start the season but, to be completely honest, college basketball is so wide open this season that the preseason rankings will be extremely worthless (even more so than normal!)

Nitpicking national previews is tricky because a) We're biased and b) A majority of national pieces are a mere regurgitation of one another. With that said, Sporting News does do an admirable job and provides quite a bit of detail on the Zags' roster.

Of course, every national writer loves saying the Zags aren't 'tough' enough, whatever that means. I'd point to this squad having a very solid tournament last season (dominating West VA, playing OSU to the wire) and doing that with two freshmen guards starting but, hey, I am pretty much resigned to the fact that national folks will always love saying Mark Few teams aren't tough enough. Even the author of this piece seems to say "The Zags aren't tough but...well, shoot, I need to fill up the page so I'll go with it". (Note: I do agree that Sacre leaving is cause for some concern but I have huge faith in Mr. Karnowki.

Toughness. It seemingly is an annual critique of the Bulldogs, the missing element that has led to many early NCAA Tournament exits. Pangos and Bell, with a year of experience now, should quell some of those fears. The way Harris played down the stretch, it seems as if his days of coasting are behind him. But Dower still doesn't always play big. And it's hard to know what to expect from Karnowski.