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10 Observations from the Gonzaga-Quinnipiac Game

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NCAA Basketball: AdvoCare Invitational-Gonzaga vs Quinnipiac Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

They won’t all be pretty, and this one certainly wasn’t. Earlier in the day, Iowa State barely squeaked by Indiana State, and for a while there Quinnipiac looked like they wanted to claim the Advocare upset that didn’t happen in the early game. Most of us were not expecting much of a game out of Quinnipiac, but like Mark Few said in a postgame interview, this is Division I Basketball.

  1. Mark Few came out with the lineup most of us predicted before the season started, with Josh Perkins slotting into Silas Melson’s starting spot. But with the substitution patterns, there’s really no difference in playing time between starters. Silas came in for Jordan Mathews after only two minutes. Expect the quick subs to continue unless the starting 5 starts a game scorching hot.
  2. On defense, the bigs did a decent job of trapping whenever the ball went to the corner. That’s good recognition of a possible turnover situation.
  3. Przemek is so good at passing out of double teams. Quinnipiac made a concerted effort to double him nearly every time he touched the ball. His size and passing ability, coupled with his ability to read the floor and know where the open man will be based on where the help is coming from make doubling him an exercise in futility. Przemek made some excellent skip passes to the opposite wing to beat the double team and Quinnipiac’s zone.
  4. Zach Collins lost his mouthpiece while getting fouled on a post-up. After a few seconds, he found it on the floor and popped it right back in...GRITTY.
  5. Jordan Mathews had an ugly first half: a couple of turnovers, 3 fouls, and he was having a hard time dialing in his shot. Give him credit for staying confident and continuing to shoot as the Zags need the threat he presents in order to space the floor. He started to get going in the second half, hopefully that carries over to the Florida game.
  6. The first half was sloppy and the Zags missed a lot of shots you would expect them to make, plus they had a lot of bad turnovers. However, they had the right plan to attack Quinnipiac’s 1-3-1 zone, despite not seeing it often. The soft spot in that defense is at the low block underneath the zone, and the guards did a nice job getting penetrating passes there to set up the big man for an easy layup or a skip pass to hit the open shooter on the opposite wing.
  7. 1-10 shooting from the 3-point line by the Zags in the first is what kept Quinnipiac in the game for so long (and the turnovers, of course). Gonzaga’s first 3 didn’t come until the 4-minute mark in the first.
  8. A heads-up steal and a coast-to-coast dunk by Killian Tillie late in the first sparked a 3-minute run by Gonzaga which pushed a meager 1-point lead to 12 and helped them feel a little bit better about the game going into halftime.
  9. You don’t see Przemek get blocked at the rim too often, but he gave Quinnipiac a shot at the ball by bringing the ball down to gather himself. He learned from it though, and on the very next possession he called for the ball high, kept it there and had an easy layup.
  10. Kudos to the Bobcats for hanging around for as long as they did and finding ways to get points. They played a lot better than an 0-3 team. For Gonzaga’s part, they’re still a work in progress, but this was a better learning game for them than I thought it would be.