Last night, the BYU Cougars rolled into the Kennel on Senior Night and upset the Gonzaga Bulldogs, giving some bad memories of 2015 bubbling to the surface.
In a weird way, Gonzaga’s 79-71 loss to BYU on Saturday meant everything in the world, and yet, it also meant absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things.
The perfect season would have been so nice, don’t get me wrong, but we were living in a world where we talked about a perfect season with a team that has never made a Final Four! The madness of it all (don’t get me wrong, the legitimate madness of it all)!
Yes, the Zags were working towards a perfect season. But here is the thing, they were trying to clean up the easiest part of the entire process. The perfect season truly doesn’t begin until the NCAA Tournament begins, and at that point, you still have to win six games against increasingly better and better competition, eventually culminating with a final game against the best competition.
Last night, against BYU, the Zags lost in February. They didn’t lose in March, and that means the reality of last night’s loss is mostly inconsequential. There is a chance the Zags fall from the No. 1 seed with the loss, but there is just a good of a chance that Oregon, Arizona, or UCLA boff the Pac 12 tournament and the Zags stay there. And if they don’t? Who cares! Again, No. 1 seed or No. 2 seed—it doesn’t matter, you still have to win six games.
The Gonzaga Bulldogs still finished the regular season 29-1. They are still the best Gonzaga Bulldog team Mark Few has ever assembled. They still have just as legitimate of a chance at the national title as they did on Saturday morning. The Zags are still ranked No. 1 by Ken Pomeroy by quite some distance.
But back to that perfect season, because BYU ruined that perfect narrative. Yeah, that would have been fun, to become one of the few teams in the history of the world to run through their entire season without losing a single game. To see Gonzaga’s name in the record books would mean I’d never have to watch a single college basketball game for the rest of my life. The apex would literally have been hit.
That is hard to do, and a lot of extra added weight for a team and a coaching staff to deal with as they wade deeper and deeper into the NCAA Tournament. If you ask me, I’d much rather have the Zags lose now than in March. That math is rather simple.
Yesterday’s game meant plenty, but in reality, it actually meant nothing. BYU heard about our cool Senior Night party and crashed the festivities despite multiple attempts to kick them out. Then the sun rose the next morning, and the Zags are still one of the best teams in the country.
March is only a couple of days away, but it can’t arrive soon enough.